Political junkies, traders and "emotional hedgers" interested in election-night betting action gathered at a presidential debate party on Tuesday night hosted by prediction market PredictIt in Washington D.C.
The mood was initially one of celebration, with party-goers dancing and singing along to acoustic covers of pop and rock songs by a local musician. However, with the majority of attendees in the Hillary Clinton camp, the mood shifted as the evening progressed and it became increasingly evident that Donald Trump was going to take the White House. In the wee hours of Wednesday morning Trump was elected president of the United States, a shocking conclusion to a polarizing campaign and one that turned the prediction market on its head.
Roberts Crist, a CFO of a small California-based financial holding company and a PredictIt bettor, argued that the result was very similar to the U.K.'s stunning vote to leave the European Union, a vote that also shocked the markets. "This is very similar to Brexit," Crist said. "Everyone was wrong on Brexit. Everyone was wrong on this."
And an informal poll of party-goers suggested that most bettors in attendance were surprised - even shocked -- and disappointed with the outcome.
"Trump? Trump? No!" said one trader as she watched network TV projecting Trump as the winner in another battleground state.
One bettor, watching the television set despondently as the reality of a Trump presidency sunk in, said he would lose $2000 because he bet on Clinton winning the presidency. "It looks like it's going to be a Republican sweep," he said, referring to GOP taking control of Congress and the White House.