Political gambling is illegal in the United States, but that hasn’t stopped people like Nevada resident Domer from wagering on American politics using online overseas markets. In a recent example, Domer made $13,000 when Mike Johnson was elected as the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Domer, who claims to earn about $500,000 a year betting on politics globally, is an active participant in online chat rooms and sites such as Discord, where he engages in debates with fellow political gambling enthusiasts. Despite the regulatory restrictions, he and others use VPNs to access online gambling platforms that offer political betting to Americans.
Only two platforms have managed to remain operational, with one of them, PredictIt, facing a government attempt to shut it down. PredictIt has defended itself, arguing that its focus on research and capping bets at a few hundred dollars makes it beneficial for both the public and traders.
The CEO of PredictIt, John Phillips, believes that prediction markets are more accurate than polling and have the potential to counter fake news. However, not all political scientists agree with these claims, and journalists tend to rely on polling data for reporting.
The online political betting platforms offer unique insights that traditional polling doesn’t capture. For example, PredictIt is currently offering shares in Joe Biden being the Democratic nominee for 68 cents, and shares in California Governor Gavin Newsom entering the race for 23 cents.
Despite potential financial gains, political gambling does come with risks, and not all bets turn out favorably. Domer recently admitted to potentially losing a significant amount of money on a bet that (Donald) Trump will not be the GOP nominee in 2024.
Overall, political gambling remains a contentious and controversial practice, with supporters advocating for its benefits while critics express skepticism about its potential impact on politics and the public. Despite government efforts to regulate and shut down these platforms, the allure of political gambling continues to attract individuals like Domer who are willing to take the risk for potential financial gains.