Friday, 18 December 2020

Fools And Their Money

From Slate comes this article concerning the US Presidential Election: How Offshore Oddsmakers Made a Killing off Gullible Trump Supporters

The article focuses on the off-shore sportsbooks like Bovada and BetOnline but Betfair bettors will recognize much of the thrust of the article. And the nonsense continues. If you search Twitter for the words "Betfair" and "Trump", it's an experience in equal parts amusing and sad. 

“We’ve got people living in two different realities politically, and we’ve got people betting in two different realities,” Sherwin says.

One would think that after their theories and expectations are shot down one after the other...

...that at some point they would realise that they are swallowing arrant nonsense, but there seems to be an inexhaustible supply of excuses and new justifications for why Trump will prevail and their putting their money where their loud mouths are:

“Trump supporters are loud,” Morrow says. “They love Trump in a way that most candidates are not beloved, but they also represent the demographic of a lot of sports bettors. These are people that are 18 to 45, generally white male.”

Also, consider that Trump maintained that he could not lose this election, at least not legally. If he lost, he signaled, he would lean on Republican underlings and judges to flip the result. (He then did the leaning, if not the flipping.) Only a quarter of Republicans, even by December, believed Biden’s win was legitimate. On Tuesday, a day after the Electoral College voted for Biden, people were still backing Trump on PredictIt, a predictions market, meaning anyone who wanted to could make free money betting on Biden.

What is very clear is that the "Wisdom of the Crowd" theory doesn't apply with this crowd. In conclusion, the article has this to say:

Trump supporters were doing it to themselves. It’s not the sportsbooks’ fault if someone doesn’t realize that businesspeople aspire to separate customers from their money.

The sportsbooks won untold millions off a political movement’s refusal to accept reality. It wasn’t the oddsmakers’ plan to win by such large margins, and doing so despite making Trump a relative favorite was largely good fortune.

The 2020 election had many losers: Trump, his supporters, and American democracy chief among them. But almost by accident, the race created huge winners beyond Joe Biden. The biggest, arguably, were based not in Washington but in places like Panama City, and entirely unregulated by the government Biden was elected to lead.

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