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Betting markets expect U.S. election result by Wednesday

Nov 2 (Reuters) - Bettors have placed more than 50/50 odds on the results of Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election being declared by Wednesday, British betting company Ladbrokes Coral Group said.

Ladbrokes Coral are giving a 24% chance on a winner to be announced on Tuesday night, 35% on Wednesday, and 31% on or after Nov. 5, said Matthew Shaddick, head of political betting at Ladbrokes Coral.

Shaddick told the Reuters Global Markets Forum (GMF) on Monday that he expected “a few days of counting every vote in every state” if Republican President Donald Trump were to win.

He said Pennsylvania was unlikely to report final totals for a few days, “and if it comes down to a single state, it could be that one.”

The 2020 U.S. election is shaping up to be the biggest betting event of all time, betting companies say.

Around half the bets on the UK-based Smarkets Exchange are on the result being declared on Tuesday or Wednesday, Patrick Flynn, political analyst at Smarkets, told GMF.

The other half of those bets are on Thursday or beyond, with the majority of those on the “9 November or later” contract, Flynn said.

“If we don’t have a decisive result on election night, it looks like we could be in for an election week, or perhaps even longer,” he added.

Flynn said bets were split 50/50 on whether Trump will concede if he loses, “so we could potentially see early vote counts going on for days, potential recounts and Trump contesting the results if it’s a close one (Tuesday) night.”

Will Jennings, head of public engagement at New Zealand-based PredictIt, said bettors were giving a one-in-three chance to Democratic candidate Joe Biden emerging the clear winner. “Our markets suggest this election could be called as soon as Nov. 4,” he said.

Trump’s win-odds on Ladbrokes Coral are at “around 35%-40%, which seems remarkably high given the polling numbers,” Shaddick said.

“If Biden wins Florida, it’s pretty much over as far as I can see,” Shaddick said.

Smarkets gives Biden a two-in-three chance of winning the U.S. presidency.

On Friday, PredictIt had Biden leading overall at 68 cents to Trump's 39 cents, while the Betfair Exchange was giving Biden a 65% win-chance versus Trump's 35%. (These interviews were conducted in the Reuters Global Markets Forum, a chat room on Refinitiv Messenger. Sign up here: refini.tv/33uoFoQ)

Reporting by Divya Chowdhury in Mumbai and Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru; Editing by Howard Goller

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