Don't bet against Bibi: International gambling sites giving Netanyahu good odds

Gambling site gives PM 81% chance of reelection.

March 5, 2015 16:17
1 minute read.
Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu . (photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)


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Bookmakers around the world may know something the Israeli electorate doesn’t, as they seem very certain that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be reelected on March 17.

On Thursday, gambling site PredictIt gave Netanyahu an 81 percent chance of reelection. His chances have been over 70% for most of the last month, but were below 50% in early January.

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PredictIt is a project of Victoria University of Wellington, meant for researching the value of prediction markets in understanding the future, by examining the wisdom of crowds.

A bet that Netanyahu will be reelected costs a minimum of 85 cents, with a payout of $1 if it comes true, and gambling on the prime minister losing costs at least 23 cents.

Gambling sites have predicted political events more accurately than some public opinion polls in recent years.

Intrade, one of the major sites, was thought to be as accurate as studies conducted by acclaimed American poll analyst Nate Silver, but the Dublin- based site was shut down in 2013 after US regulators banned it from allowing Americans to use it to bet on elections.

Before that, Intrade predicted Netanyahu’s election wins in 2009 and 2013, and the US elections in 2004, in all 50 states, and in 2008, within one electoral vote.

However, the results on other sites shouldn’t be taken as seriously as Intrade, since they have fewer bettors, whose profiles generally do not match those of the voters.

In addition, PredictIt allows people to place bets until May 31, even though the election is on March 17.

Hypermind, a site that features betting on politics and the economy gave the prime minister a 70% chance of reelection and a 30% chance of losing, and have remained mostly steady over the last two months.

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