May 17, 2017 / 11:07 AM / 2 months ago

UK punters back an early exit for Trump - bookmakers

3 Min Read

U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, U.S., after a day trip to Lynchburg, Virginia, May 13, 2017.Yuri Gripas/Files

LONDON (Reuters) - British gamblers believe U.S. President Donald Trump is now more likely to leave office before the end of his first term than not, British bookmakers said on Wednesday, after a week of tumult at the White House.

Betfair said that punters had bet more than 5,000 pounds ($6,470) on an early departure for Trump in the hours after it was reported he had asked his then-FBI Director James Comey to shut down an investigation into ties between former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn and Russia.

Concerns that businessman and former reality TV star Trump's economic reforms could be slowed and he might even face the threat of impeachment has dented demand for the dollar.

On UK betting markets, the odds on Trump failing to see out his four-year term dropped to 5/6 from evens on Betfair, implying a 55 percent chance that he will leave.

Betfair was also offering odds of 12/5 percent that Trump would leave office this year, implying a 27 percent chance that he would depart. Betfair said that the odds for such an early departure had never been shorter.

Fellow bookmaker Ladbrokes said its odds on the president leaving office via impeachment or resignation before the end of his first term had also shortened in the last week to 4/5 after a flurry of bets.

Spokeswoman Jessica Bridge added that Ladbrokes had taken close to 50,000 pounds on various wagers over Trump's future, including whether he would be impeached and the year he might be replaced.

"Barely a day goes by without a Trump scandal, but money talks, and punters are becoming increasingly convinced the president could be impeached sooner rather than later," Bridge said.

UK political betting markets have exploded in recent years, with millions wagered last year ahead of surprising results of Britain's referendum on European Union membership and Trump's election which was the most bet-upon political event ever.

Bookmakers also saw their biggest market for a French election earlier this year, buoyed by growing enthusiasm for political betting, an unpredictable result and a ban on betting on politics in France.

($1 = 0.7729 pounds)

Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Michael Holden

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