The 2020 presidential election cycle is drawing to a close, and the United States is a mere few days away from finally deciding on a president. And you might be noticing various indications of the odds for each of the two main candidates, President Donald Trump and challenger Joe Biden. That might lead you to ask the question of whether or not it is legal to bet on the presidential election in the United States in the first place.
This year’s election has perhaps garnered more interest from the American public than any in decades. People on both sides are extremely passionate about their candidate, to the point where it feels like there isn’t much middle ground. And since people are so vocal about their chosen candidate, it stands to reason that they might want to put their money where their mouths are by making wagers on the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
There might be some question about whether or not it is legal to bet on the presidential election. On one hand, you have to worry about whether you, as a bettor, can even place a wager. Then, you also have to ensure that the online gambling websites where you place your bets will actually pay you back.
We’re here to help you out by providing some clarity by telling you whether or not you can legally wager on the US presidential election. In addition, we’ll tell you which sites to visit if you do want to make legal wagers. Finally, we’ll also talk to you about the types of bets you can make if you do decide to go forward with betting on the 2020 presidential election.
Can You Legally Bet on the US Presidential Election?
Well, the simplest answer is yes and no. You can make your wagers on the 2020 presidential election as long as you do so with a site that can legally take them. But even if you find yourself betting on the election through an illegal venue of some sort, you usually are not the one facing the legal burden.
Back in the early 1960s, the United States put a law into effect called the Federal Wire Act. It was directed at organized crime and their habit of making lots of money from taking sports wagers from common citizens. But this law essentially means that no betting can take place across state lines without an okay from the jurisdiction in question.
In other words, the bookies that unofficially ran the action back in those days were the ones that were targeted. But it’s important to realize that the bettors themselves weren’t the ones who were in any legal jeopardy. The only ones who had to worry were the ones taking the bets.
Although the Federal Wire Act was meant to cover sporting events, it stands to reason that it could easily be applied to those who wanted to take odds on US elections. The bottom line is, if you’re in the United States and betting with an unsanctioned bookmaker or organization, those taking the bets may have to deal with the law.
Gambling on the Presidential Election Online
When the creators of the Federal Wire Act wrote the law, they were essentially using wire communications as their method of stopping illegal gambling. In other words, any kind of telephone communication about gambling was grounds for legal action. But those lawmakers never envisioned the internet as a form of wire communications in the future.
Of course, this would all apply to any attempts to bet online on the 2020 presidential election. You will have no problem finding sites located overseas giving you the opportunity to wager on it. What you won’t find is any US sites, such as those sites attached to land-based casinos in states where sports and casino gambling are legal, giving odds on the election.
The reason is that it would likely be frowned upon by the United States Justice Department. If the sites indicated that one candidate was way ahead, it could discourage people from actually going out and voting. That’s why you won’t see odds on Trump and Biden alongside the odds for the Cowboys-Eagles game this Sunday, at least not at US betting sites.
Betting on the Presidential Election Overseas
We’ve established that it isn’t likely that you’ll be able to legally wager on the 2020 presidential election at United States-based casinos, sportsbooks, or gambling websites. But what about the betting websites that are located outside the US?
If you’ve ever traveled overseas and visited a bookmaker operation of casino, you might have been surprised at the vast number of events—even ones that aren’t sports-related—that can be wagered at these locations. There is no doubt that gambling laws are a little more relaxed in certain countries outside the United States. And that applies to the gambling websites that are sourced from these countries.
Can you bet on the 2020 presidential election with these sites? Again, the answer isn’t just a simple yes or no.
But the key is whether or not you will be able to do that. The main issue is transferring your money. Some financial institutions, such as banks or credit card companies, may frown on your use of their funds for overseas gambling.
If that’s the case, you might find that you can’t make deposits into your account. That means you won’t be able to wager on the presidential election, because you won’t be able to put anything at stake. But if you choose your gambling websites wisely, you won’t have this problem. In the next few sections, we’ll explain how to do that.
Safely Betting on the 2020 Presidential Election
You have to realize that the world of online gambling is quite a competitive one. There are hundreds of online betting operations available to you, most of which are located outside the United States. And many of those will likely offer you the chance to bet on the presidential election.
The problem is that many of these sites aren’t quite as trustworthy and reliable as you might like them to be. Whenever you bet on anything online, you’ll need to provide both personal and financial information. And if you give that info to a site that isn’t trustworthy, it can be disastrous for you.
For that reason, you should only choose reputable websites to wager on the presidential election. First of all, these legit sites are safe for you in terms of setting up an account and providing the necessary information. Second, these sites can also be trusted to return any winnings to you that you might have achieved betting on the presidential election for real money.
But how do you know which of these trusted presidential election betting sites are okay to use? Well, you have to do the research and read the reviews offered online.
One other important characteristic of these gambling websites is that they all can boast of a wide variety of funding options. If one or more of your preferred banking methods is in some way blocked or unavailable, you should still be able to find another one that works for you. And that ensures you’ll have no problem getting your wagers in for the 2020 presidential election.
How to Bet on the 2020 Presidential Election Online
For those of you who have never wagered on anything online before, you might think that the process is confusing. But it’s actually quite simple, even for those who might be a little technologically-challenged. Here is a simple step-by-step guide:
- Choose your site: You can look up sites that allow you to wager on the 2020 presidential election. However, we suggest that you begin with the top gambling sites. Search through those sites to see which one seems most comfortable to you.
- Sign up: This will require you to provide personal information so that the site can know who you are and how to contact you. You’ll also have to create a username and password. Once you have that in place, you’ll enter it every time you log into the site.
- Fund your account: This is what we talked about above, where you provide the financial information that allows you to deposit and withdraw from your gambling account. This might mean typing in credit card numbers, bank account routing numbers, or even cryptocurrency account numbers.
- Find the page for betting on the 2020 presidential election: The best gambling websites will be easy to navigate, so this shouldn’t be a problem. You’ll decide what types of bets to make (more on that below) and how much you want to put at stake.
- Win the bet: If your bet is successful, the money that you’ve earned—based on the odds that were provided to you for wager and how much you put at stake—will be added to your gambling account. If, at any point, you want to get your hands on that money, you’ll contact the site to begin the withdrawal process.
Betting on the 2020 Presidential Election
Now that you know that it’s possible to wager on the 2020 presidential election without the law banging on your door, you might want to know about how betting on the election works specifically. What are the types of wagers you can make? And what do the odds mean? We answer that below.
Types of Bets
The most basic wager that you can make on the presidential election is a straight bet on which candidate will win. This is as simple as it gets. Bet on Biden or Trump directly, and you’ll win if you’re right when all is said and done.
But you can go beyond that to try one of the more exotic bets on the presidential election. These are often known as “proposition bets.” You can find odds on just about anything connected with this year’s election.
For example, some popular prop bets on the 2020 presidential election this year include:
- When will the loser concede the election? This bet is popular this year because of the possibility that the election will drag out for several days due to the onslaught of expected mail-in ballots.
- What will the count of the Electoral College be? Many betting websites will set up what is known as an over/under total for how many electoral votes either candidate will win. You then have to decide whether the actual total will go over or under that number.
- Who will win the Senate? In addition to it being a tight presidential race, the control of the United States Senate appears to be up for grabs this year. That will make for a popular prop bet this year.
What the Odds Mean
When you see odds for the presidential election listed, you’ll usually see a plus or minus in front of the number. This is in reference to the moneyline, which is used by oddsmakers as a way of evening out the two sides. It’s common in sporting events.
The moneyline is always based on 100 units of whatever denomination you’ll be using. Whichever candidate has the minus sign in front of the odds is the favorite, while the one with the plus sign is the underdog. For example, at BetOnline.ag, the current odds for who will win the 2020 presidential election look like this:
- Joe Biden: -200
- Donald Trump: +175
What this means is that, if you bet on Biden—the current favorite—you would have to bet $200 to win $100 in return. By contrast, if you bet on President Trump, you would win $175 on a $100 wager.
You’ll likely see moneylines attached to all kinds of presidential election bets available on gambling websites, such as prop bets and over/unders. Always remember that big numbers in front of the minus or plus usually means a big favorite/underdog. The closer the numbers are to 100, the tighter the oddsmakers believe the race will be.
We know we threw a lot of information at you concerning betting on the 2020 presidential election. Let’s try to sum up what we’ve learned to this point:
- Whenever a bet of any kind is considered illegal, the target of legal scrutiny is usually the entity that takes the bet, not the bettor.
- Because of the Federal Wire Act and the concerns that advertising betting lines might influence voter turnout, you won’t be able to legally bet on the presidential election at any operator or website located within the United States.
- Websites outside of the United States will offer plenty of wagers on the presidential election.
- As long as you don’t have any problems funding your account, you should be able to bet on the election at reputable offshore gambling sites.
- There is a wide range of bets available for the US presidential election beyond just which candidate will win the presidency.
- There are plenty of moneyline bets for the presidential election, but there are props and over/unders, too.
We hope that you can now make an informed decision about whether or not you feel comfortable wagering on the presidential election this year. It has been a long campaign, which has caused a lot of controversy amongst the public. At the end of it all, we hope that if you do decide to wager on the outcome, you come up a winner.