Brazil will hold its presidential elections later this year. Only months before the big vote, bookmakers are beginning to see a lot of interest in the lines for who will be the country’s next leader.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in a public appearance last year. Bookmakers are taking bets on if he’ll remain president following this October’s elections. (Image: Reuters)
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, current president Jair Bolsonaro, Simone Tebet and Ciro Gomes appear at the top of the betting sites. As interest in betting on sports increases in the country, so does betting on elections.
At Betfair, for example, bettors have already staked over R$3 million (US$563,262). The process is the same as it is for wagers on the moneyline in sports. Bettors choose their favorite, place their bet and wait for the results. Also like in sports betting, different bookmakers can offer slightly different lines, depending on their number-crunchers.
Bolsonaro Not in the Lead
Currently, Bolsonaro is not the favorite to win. Lula da Silva, a former president, has the advantage. One book is giving him -250. If someone bets R$400 (US$73.92) for him to win and he does, the payout is R$160 (US$29.60) plus the original bet amount.
A bet of the same amount on Gomes (PDT), however, would pay a lot higher. He’s getting odds of around +290 because, currently, there’s not much chance he can win. The same bet would produce winnings of R$1,160 (US$214.48) plus the original bet. However, it wouldn’t be a smart bet to make.
Lula ranks first in all bookmakers. A tracker provided by Americas Society/Council of the Americas (AS/COA) gives him more than a 43% chance of winning. Other trackers have put him as high as 70%.
In second place, Bolsonaro has 32%, followed by Gomes (6%) and Tebet (2%). However, with the exception of Lula, all candidates have seen their lines move. Lula’s position has remained static since April 27 and is currently the highest it has been since tracking began last November.
Elections Could Alter the Course of Gambling
On October 2, Brazil will hold its first round of elections to determine who will be the country’s next president. A candidate must receive at least 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff. Should the showdown be necessary, it would take place on October 30.
In addition, voters will weigh in on who will sit in 27 of the existing 81 Senate seats and the entire – 513 positions – Chamber of Deputies. All governors and state legislatures could face changes in the elections, as well.
Bolsonaro has repeatedly stated that he and the Senate share an anti-legalized gambling view. He has shut down legislative initiatives to introduce expanded sports betting and gambling options and will likely do the same if he remains in office.
Should Lula win, he could decide to go in a different direction. He could embrace betting and gambling to help the economy. Lula has been against gambling in the past and, as president, shut down bingo operations.
However, public sentiment is different now. Including gambling as a campaign platform might help reinforce his chances for success.
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