Betting bin Laden: Terrorist's death makes money, boosts Obama's odds

At 9 p.m. ET, Sunday, Osama bin Laden had a four percent chance of being captured or killed before June, according to Intrade.com’s prediction market that allows investors to buy and sell shares in the outcome of real-world events.

By the time, U.S. President Barack Obama made the news of bin Laden’s demise official at around 11:20 ET, the market had spiked to 98 percent and was closed quickly.

But there weren’t any really big winners or losers in the market. The bin Laden proposition was one of the smallest markets offered  by Intrade and had seen minimum movement before Sunday, according to Carl Wolfenden, Intrade’s Exchange Operations Manager.

“When news broke there was a flurry of activity, and the price jumped,” Wolfenden told Covers.com. “But trading volumes were small once word was out - there wasn't really anyone out there willing to take a position that bin Laden wasn't dead.”

Obama’s odds of winning the 2012 presidential election also soared, but not before a few alert wise guys got their bets down.

Before the news broke, Obama was a -175 favorite to be the next President of the United States at the offshore sportsbook Bodog.com.

“A few sharps beat us to it,” said Bodog manager Richard Gardner, who adjusted Obama’s odds to -250 early this morning. “We took only a handful of bets overnight; guess the news was too late for most people.”

Bodog has a $100 limit on the presidential odds. The limits will increase closer to election, Gardner said.

At Intrade, Obama’s chances of winning a second term in 2012 had been holding at “58-60 percent for a good couple of months,” said Wolfenden.

They shot to as high as 69.9 percent but had settled back at 63 percent as of noon Monday. The volume of trades doubled after the news, according to Wolfenden.

Proposition wagers on bin Laden’s capture or killing have been offered for years. The online sportsbook Sports Interaction offered a prop bet on whether or not bin Laden would be captured during George W. Bush’s term as president.

At Intrade, the bin Laden market was one of its oldest and been opened since the U.S. sent forces into Afghanistan.

“Occasionally, we’d see a little spike if (bin Laden’s) name is in the paper or there was news of a sighting, but generally there wasn’t a lot of movement.”

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Posted by DavidGurney
3 years ago

There are some in Pakistan who believe that he's still alive.How does a book determine the truth?
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Posted by MysteryGambler
3 years ago

I don't care about that, the most important is money
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Posted by Vesco
3 years ago

So they whacked Bin Laden, took his body,confirmed DNA, and buried him at sea all in 8hrs??? Why not show the world pictures or video of his dead body?? The quick burial was for respect? He's the enemy, right? This is starting to sound more and more like bullshit.....
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Posted by McDoc
3 years ago

I was on the other end of this one. But, hey, which would I rather have, my 50 bucks back or Osama dead.
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Posted by ticofee
3 years ago

bush killed bin laden obama is just a puppet u fools
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Posted by DavidGurney
3 years ago

What was the line for Bush at this time in 1991?The election is a lifetime away.Anything can happen,especially with Corsi's book out in two weeks.
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Posted by Ponch
3 years ago

This certainly doesn't hurt his odds of winning the next election.
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Posted by David_Payne
3 years ago

666Les -- the stipulations on what would make the ruling official was an announcement by the President, according to Intrade.
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Posted by 666LES
3 years ago

Has intrade already graded bin laden dead/captured a win? Based on what? DNA?
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Top Response

Posted by David_Payne
3 years ago

"666Les -- the stipulations on what would make the ruling official was an announcement by the President, according to Intrade."