Even before Trump sworn in, gamblers betting on his impeachment

Donald Trump has yet to spend his first night in the White House as the nation’s 45th president, and gamblers are already wagering that he will eventually be forced from office. 

U.K. bookmaker Ladbrokes puts even odds of an early exit for Mr. Trump through impeachment or resignation, while Paddy Power Betfair was offering 4-to-1 odds that he would be impeached within the first six months of his presidency. The Irish betting firm has 7-to-4 odds on the president leaving office early.

Ladbrokes has taken more than 1,000 bets over the past week on a Trump impeachment, causing odds to tumble, according to the company. 

Bookmakers are also taking bets on what actions President Trump might take in the near-term, including whether he will visit Russia, which U.S. intelligence agencies have accused of orchestrating the hack of Democratic Party officials during the election, before the end of 2017. Betters can also take a punt on whether he will split with his wife Melania this year (16/1 on Paddy Power) or paint the White House entirely in gold (500/1 on Paddy Power). 

A spokeswoman with Paddy Power couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Ladbrokes even offered a game dubbed “Buzzword Bingo,” in which gamblers could wager on the specific words and phrases Trump would utter in his inaugural address. Odds for “Make America Great Again,” the slogan for his campaign, were a safe 1/50 (meaning a $50 bet would yield $1).

U.S. politics is a big business for overseas bookmakers, which saw record wagering during last year’s contentious battle. The presidential election was the second-biggest market Ladbrooke’s took bets on last year behind England’s Grand National horse race, according to the company.

“This speaks volumes about how much Trump’s journey to the White House has impacted the rest of the world, not just America,” said Ladbrokes spokeswoman Jessica Bridges by email.

Gamblers aren’t the only ones who have predicted a potential early Trump exit. American University political historian Allan Lichtman, who has correctly forecast the outcomes of every presidential race since 1984 -- including the real estate mogul’s surprise win in November -- has said he expects Mr. Trump to get impeached because of his lack of public service experience, past legal battles and unpredictable nature. 

Under the Constitution, the president can be impeached for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” It requires a vote from the House of Representatives followed by a trial and conviction in the U.S. Senate.  Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton are the only two presidents in history who were impeached, though both were acquitted at trial. 

Meanwhile, perhaps no politician has defied the odds like Mr. Trump. Bettors who wagered against his winning the race for the White House might be wise to hedge their bets. 

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    Jonathan Berr is an award-winning journalist and podcaster based in New Jersey whose main focus is on business and economic issues.