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Bettors stampede back in favour of Biden as results stream in

U.S. Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden reacts to early results from the 2020 U.S. presidential election, in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., November 4, 2020. REUTERS/Brian Snyder reuters_tickers
This content was published on November 4, 2020 - 16:55

By Thyagaraju Adinarayan and Divya Chowdhury

LONDON (Reuters) - Democratic candidate Joe Biden was back as clear favorite to win the U.S. presidential election in online betting markets on Wednesday, a reversal of fortune for President Donald Trump who had been favoured overnight.

The shift, according to data from three odds aggregators, came after Biden overtook Trump in the battleground state of Wisconsin, with an estimated 95% of the vote tallied there.

British-based Smarkets exchange was giving Biden an 82% chance, while New Zealand-based predictions market PredictIt had Biden at 80%. Trump's chances on Smarkets were sitting at 17% - a massive drop from nearly 80% overnight.

Graphic: PredictIt odds - https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/qzjpqabgapx/Pasted%20image%201604494071156.png

"Taking the lead in Wisconsin could be the turning point with the Democrat now also projected to win Nevada and Arizona, which would likely give him the 270 electoral college votes he needs for victory," Betfair spokesperson Sam Rosbottom said.

Bettors on Betfair were giving Biden a 78% chance to win - the highest ever - by late morning time on the U.S. East Coast.

Trump earlier falsely claimed victory over Biden with millions of votes still uncounted.

Biden, meanwhile, was pinning his hopes on the so-called "blue wall" states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania that sent Trump to the White House in 2016, although they could take hours or days to finish counting.

(For the latest results and news on U.S. election, click: https://www.reuters.com/world/us-election2020 )

The 2020 election is shaping up to be the biggest betting event of all time, betting companies say, with one player on Monday placing a record-breaking bet of one million British pounds ($1.3 million) on a victory for Biden.

Biden had been favored before election day, but his chances according to oddsmakers plunged to less than one-in-three overnight, after Trump pushed ahead in the swing state of Florida.

Betfair Exchange said a record 434 million pounds has been bet on the outcome of the winner so far - more than double that of 2016. It accepts bets right up until the result is announced.

(Reporting by Thyagaraju Adinarayan in London and Divya Chowdhury in Mumbai; additional reporting by Noel Randewich in San Francisco; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Peter Graff)

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