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June 19, 2019

Gambling site takes big odds on how many times Trump will lie in his national address

January 9, 2019
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House on January 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong / Getty Images)

High-rollers have an opportunity to put their money where the President’s mouth is Tuesday night.

BookMaker, an offshore gambling house that claims 30 years in the business, is laying odds on how many times President Trump will lie when he addresses the nation at 9 p.m.

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Trump is expected to make his case about building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. The Federal Government has been under a partial shutdown since Dec. 22 while the President and congress have stood firm on opposite sides of the wall funding debate.

“We tend to post these odds for entertainment purposes, however, as a part of a larger trend in interest in political props that we have have been experiencing since the current administration has taken office, we are seeing unexpected volume on such a short term basis,” according to John Lester, who sets odds at the Costa Rica-based gambling site. “We have received over $100,000 in action on this wager in the first 12 hours alone.”

Online gamblers can place up to $500 per bet on how many “false statements” Trump will make by logging onto BookMaker.Eu, where the over-under is 3.5. That means bettors who believe the President to be a man of integrity can win money by wagering the Trump makes fewer than three and a half statements that are demonstrably untrue. Skeptics who want a piece of the action — which represents an overwhelming majority of BookMaker’s clients so far — can claim a cash prize by betting the President makes more than that number of false claims.

“The action tends to be predominantly one-sided with 90% of the action currently on ‘over 3.5’ false statements,” according to Lester. His company will use the Washington Post Fact Checker as the deciding vote on whether or not statements made by the President are true.

The Post uses a rating or one to four Pinocchio images to gauge the degree of fallacies spoken by politicians. Last month, the paper introduced the “Bottomless Pinocchio” rating to indicate bits of false information that have been purposefully repeated by politicians who have been given enough information to know better. That modification was inspired by the President.

Lester and his colleagues at BookMaker aren’t interested in gambling on Trump’s intentions.

“We actually chose the phrase ‘false statement’ instead of ‘lie’ to avoid having to prove that the President is intentionally misleading the public,” he said.

According to Lester, his company had gambled against Trump in the past and lost big.

“We experienced 7-figure losses when Trump shocked the world and upset Hillary Clinton,” he claimed of the 2016 election.

The President’s dubious relationship with facts isn’t the only thing BookMaker is taking action on. Those who bet that Trump will declare a state emergency on the national border before Jan. 22 will win $450 for every $1,000 they gamble. Lester is also taking bets on whether the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling on Roe v. Wade will be overturned this year, which party will control the White House after the 2020 election and when the ongoing government shutdown will end.

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