With 10 months still to go before the result, the British public have already bet more than £1m ($1.4m) that Donald Trump will lose his bid to become the next US president. Despite the election taking place in November, there has already been as much money bet on this presidential race than there was during the 2012 campaign between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, according to betting exchange company Matchbook.
The billionaire tycoon is currently one of the favourites to be elected as the Republican candidate, leading some polls in the US by as much as 20% ahead of his nearest rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
This is despite making several controversial statements during his campaign, including proposing a ban on all Muslims entering the US if he was elected president and planning to build a wall around Mexico to stop "rapists" from entering the country.
However, Matchbook believe Trump being part of the fray has "whipped up a level of interest" in the British public, resulting in them willing to have a punt. As a betting exchange, Matchbook allows lay-bets – placing money on something not happening – which is where the £1m comes from. In comparison, there has only been £80,000 bets Trump will triumph.
Ian Noctor, a spokesperson for Matchbook, told IBTimes UK: "The way Trump has conducted himself is really grabbing our interest. Trump has spent most of his time slagging off not only the Democratic hopeful but also his Republican rivals. Also his comments on everything to Muslims to Mexicans has resulted in [betters] thinking 'look at this guy, he's never going to make it all the way' so the sensible thing for me to do would be to bet against him winning."
The betting company has given Trump a 26% chance of winning the Republican ticket in the "three-horse race" between him, Rubio (31%) and Cruz (24%). If Trump manages to "buck the trend" and go on to win the candidacy, Noctor predicts "another influx of money from those thinking 'Ok, you've got this far but there's no way you're going to beat Hilary Clinton'".
Matchbook says Democratic front-runner Clinton has a 56% chance of becoming the 45<sup>th US president, and Trump a mere 14%. Predicting why Trump may not win the election despite his apparent popularity, Noctor said: "What you find that Trump is expert at is getting media attention, but as my grandmother used to say 'empty vessels make most noise'."
This article was updated to include the name of the Matchbook spokesperson.