Betting on elections can be legal

(WDTN Photo)

(WSPA) – Whether or not you’re into politics, there’s a little known secret that may pique your interest.

You can make money on elections.

While betting on politics, for the most part, is illegal, some organizations have federal exemptions from that ban.

We talked with Political Science Professor, Dr. Allison Pingley, who happened to be in Vegas two presidential elections ago and said “I want to bet on this election, and they said, you can’t, it’s illegal to bet on elections in the US.”

But it’s not illegal anymore.

Organizations like PredictIt and Iowa Electronic Markets now allow you to bet on everything from the 2016 Presidential election to Obama’s daily approval rating.

“The way they are kind of getting around the legality part of it, is that it’s for informational research purposes,” Dr. Pingley said. “And typically they will cap the amount of money you are allowed to spend so nobody gets too out of hand, but this has become kind of a growing trend.”

Each website has a different cap on what you can spend.

But even with an 800 dollar cap, if you had bet on Trump in February, you’d be several thousand dollars richer today.

PredictIt takes 10% of the profit but the Iowa site does not.

We talked with a couple of voters to see what their thoughts were on betting on elections.

“I wouldn’t think that would be good for politics. I mean there’s enough money in it already, and now you’re going to let us bet on it, I mean wow.” Charles Richards said.

But Tim Austin said “Let em bet, let them do what they want to. If it influences anything, a fool and his money are often soon parted, right?”

Betting on political elections was perfectly legal in the U.S. until the 1940s when polls took over. But now the accuracy of those are being questioned since more people are screening their calls.

“A lot of times these prediction markets are more accurate than the public opinion polls that we see.” said Dr. Pingley.

So even if you don’t put money down, there’s value in following these sites. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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