Sportsbooks Shift to Political Contests While Sporting Events Remain on Hold


MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images. Pictured: Joe Biden

Americans will get a taste of political betting tonight, as DraftKings has taken the break of having no sports by developing a free-to-play game surrounding tonight’s Democratic Presidential Primary Debate.

Since the game is free-to-play, it falls under Daily Fantasy Laws, which means that the state gaming control boards that regulate betting don’t have to approve it. There are 43 states that allow its residents to play daily fantasy games.

Currently, no U.S. state allows political betting, which European markets have proven to have a great potential handle.

The entrant who answers the most questions correctly gets a $5,000 prize. Second place gets $3,000, and third place gets $2,000, with those who tie splitting the prize if necessary.

[Enter DraftKings’ Democratic Debate contest for your chance at $10,000 in prizes.]

DraftKings head of sportsbook Johnny Avello said his team came up with the idea on Saturday night and posted it Sunday morning. In the first 5 hours, by 5:50 p.m. ET, more than 37,600 people had entered.

Avello said that he is interested in petitioning states where betting is legal to allow them to take bets on the 2020 Presidential Election, though he hasn’t formally made the ask.

“I think we’re getting closer to it happening,” Avello said. “It’s a great matchup no matter what the odds are.”

Questions on the DraftKings debate pool include whether Bernie Sanders will say “millionaire” or “billionaire” first, the total tweets by President Donald Trump during the debate and whether the first question will be about the Coronavirus.

For its part, FanDuel, DraftKings’ main competitor, also created a DFS game around Sunday’s debate. Learn more about the best way to approach that game here.

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