Political junkies, traders and "emotional hedgers" interested in election-night betting action gathered at a presidential debate party on Tuesday night hosted by U.S.-based prediction market PredictIt in Washington D.C. to celebrate and commiserate over what was expected to be clear Clinton victory and has become a nail-biter between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.
An informal poll of party-goers suggested that bettors were surprised with Trump's early strong performance. And, the PredictIt market, which allows investors to bet on the election outcome, shifted from expecting a Clinton victory to one with Trump as the next president.
One bettor, watching the television set despondently, said he stood to lose $2,000 because he bet on Clinton winning the presidency. "It looks like it's going to be a Republican sweep," he said.
Another bettor, Jake Lowery, a senior investigator at the Labor Department, said he bet $20 that Trump would win in an attempt to offset the "despair" of a possible Clinton loss. He called it an "emotional hedge."
"Should Trump win they will pay out a dollar on each stock so I'll make $75," Lowery said, sporting a Hillary Clinton button. "It would help dampen the feeling of despair. If I was really serious I would put $100 in so at least there would be something I could do with it. But $20 was for fun."