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Danish Gamblers Bet On Politics


If the U.S. election cycle can feel sometimes like a marathon, in many countries, political campaigns are more of a sprint. Denmark is due for a national election this spring. But the date still hasn't even been set. For some gamblers, that has all the makings of a fun and potentially lucrative guessing game. Sidsel Overgaard has more.

SIDSEL OVERGAARD, BYLINE: The Danish national lottery is called Danske Spil. On its website, you'll find politics nestled between auto racing and rugby on the list of sports open for betting. There you can bet on which parties will win and who'll be the next prime minister. One of the bookmakers, Peter Rasmussen, says you can even make predictions about when the vote will take place.

PETER RASMUSSEN: (Speaking Danish).

OVERGAARD: The election has to happen by June. Right now Rasmussen says late May is the best bet, though it could be held as soon as early April. There's no rule about how much warning the Danish prime minister has to give before sending voters to the polls. But Marie Westergaard, also with Danske Spil, says anything more than a few weeks would be considered long.

MARIE WESTERGAARD: There's not that much money in Danish politics. There's nobody and no parties in Denmark who wants the election to be more than four weeks because they can't afford it.

OVERGAARD: That makes for an exciting and fast-paced contest and perhaps one of the reasons political betting has become increasingly popular among Danish gamblers.

WESTERGAARD: You have a team. You want your team to win. Sports, politics, it doesn't matter.

OVERGAARD: It may also help that this has been a period defined by political upsets. Danish bookies, like everyone else, got the last U.S. presidential election and the Brexit vote wrong. Rasmussen says that meant a few lucky gamblers really cashed in.

RASMUSSEN: (Speaking Danish).

OVERGAARD: "We don't take anything as given anymore," he says. But in case you're wondering, Rasmussen says odds are currently 2 to 1 that President Donald Trump will lose the White House in 2020. For NPR News, I'm Sedsil Overgaard in Denmark.


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