Presidential Election Betting Highly Unlikely To Take Place In Michigan Anytime Soon

Written By Matt Schoch on April 10, 2020
Presidential Election Betting

As Michigan sports betting sits on the sidelines during the state’s shelter in place, residents stuck at home are looking for entertainment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

West Virginia residents in the same predicament had an unexpected chance to bet on the US presidential race this week as FanDuel opened up political betting markets for a brief time on Tuesday.

Don’t expect a Michigan repeat of what happened this week in West Virginia.

Michigan Gaming Control Board spokeswoman Mary Kay Bean wrote in an email last month to PlayMichigan that wagering on political races is not under consideration.

FanDuel opened Presidential election betting in West Virginia

During a wild turn of events, FanDuel accepted bets on the presidential election on Tuesday after gaining approval from the West Virginia Lottery.

It was up for all of two hours as FanDuel pulled the market at the request of West Virginia officials.

Turns out, betting on elections is illegal in the state, according to West Virginia Code.

Odds posted on FanDuel included:

  • 2020 Presidential Election  (Donald Trump -110, Joe Biden +125)
  • Democratic Nominee (Biden -714, Andrew Cuomo +1400, Bernie Sanders  +1600)
  • Democratic Vice Presidential Nominee (Kamala Harris +188, Amy Klobuchar +400)
  • US Presidential Election 2020 – Winning Party  (Republican -125, Democrat -110)
  • State by State Winning Party

Election betting illegal in Michigan too

According to Michigan election law, in a section noting prohibited conduct, wagering on an election is a misdemeanor.

Under Michigan Compiled Law section 168.931(1)(l): “A person shall not wager property, money, or thing of value, or be the custodian of money, property, or thing of value, staked, wagered, or pledged upon the result of a political nomination, appointment, or election.”

Michigan lawmakers not opposed to election bets

Michigan sports betting became legal in December with the first bets being placed last month in Detroit before the pandemic shuts sports and the casinos down.

A pair of state lawmakers polled by PlayMichigan last month, Democratic Sen. Curtis Hertel of East Lansing and Republican Rep. Michael Webber of Rochester Hills, said they did not have personal opposition to betting on elections.

However, one casino executive Thursday declined to comment on the matter.

“I would stay away from it,” said Allen Kerridge, interim CEO of Kewadin Casinos in the Upper Peninsula. “I don’t think there’s any good way to put it.”

So while there might be an appetite to put your money where your mouth is on political opinions, don’t expect your Biden or Trump allegiances to pay off anytime soon.

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Matt Schoch

A Michigan native, Matt has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Missouri and the Virgin Islands. A versatile sports reporter, Matt has covered sailing on the Great Lakes, cricket in the Caribbean, high school and pro playoffs, and the Olympics in Rio. He's also the former host of the Locked On Pistons Podcast and producer of a documentary on Emoni Bates. A former blackjack dealer, Matt has studied the industry from all sides.

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