A gambling site is paying out thousands of dollars after people placed bets that Donald Trump would tell more than three and a half lies in his Oval Office address yesterday, January 8.
Bookmaker.eu gave people the option to bet on how truthful the president would be in his speech. They offered odds of -145 for more than 3.5 lies, and +115 for less than 3.5 lies – which means if someone bet $145 that Trump would lie at least four times, they’d win $100.
Luckily for those who knew Trump would probably tell a fib or two, the bookies are now having to pay out a rather large sum of money.
Speaking to BuzzFeed News, odds consultant John Lester said the gambling site will lose $276,424, with 92 per cent of people placing bets that Trump would definitely lie. A lot.
It’s a bad day for Truthiness and Bookmaker. We knew we were in trouble early with this one.
The gambling site used the Washington Post’s Fact Checker to calculate how many misleading and untruthful statements Trump made in his address.
The fact checker’s live blog corrected six ‘facts’ the president gave during his speech, and has further opposed a number of statements he made, such as the ‘crisis’ at the southern border. In reality, the number of people trying to cross the border has been in decline since 2000, and is actually at its lowest point for 20 years.
Lester added that, while they expected Trump to stretch the truth, they were also factoring in the time constraints on the president’s speech limiting the number of them.
We figured the president’s strategy going in would be a bit of fear mongering to create pressure on the Democrats to approve the funding of the wall (or barrier), however the president was also constrained by an approximate 8-minute time limit.
With all the cable networks agreeing to air the speech, it came down to how many times is the president willing to exaggerate the truth to accomplish his agenda, when he knows the world will be scrutinising his every word?
One such statement by Trump, which was counted as a lie by the bookmakers, was:
As part of an overall approach to border security, law enforcement professionals have requested $5.7 billion for a physical barrier. At the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall.
However, as the Washington Post points out:
Trump suggests that Democrats requested a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall, but the proposed switch to steel was an idea the Trump administration brought up. No Democrats are on record demanding a steel barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The maximum online bet was limited to $2,000, however some people reportedly requested to bet more, with the biggest wagers being $25,000, $20,000 and $15,000, all in favour of Trump racking up the lies.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.