UK bookmakers halt U.S. election betting after Trump tests positive for COVID-19

FILE PHOTO: Betfair logo is seen behind a keyboard, gambling dice and chips in this illustration taken in Sarajevo, September 10, 2015. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

LONDON (Reuters) – Bookmakers in Britain suspended betting on the outcome of the U.S. election on Friday after President Donald Trump said he had tested positive for COVID-19.

Ladbrokes, Irish-based Paddy Power as well as online gambling exchange Betfair were among firms to halt all betting on the Nov. 3 contest.

“We have temporarily taken the U.S. election markets down as we await further updates – this is standard procedure and we wish Donald and Melania Trump well,” a spokeswoman for Ladbrokes said in a statement.

Betfair had put Democratic challenger Joe Biden’s probability of winning at 60% on Wednesday after the first U.S. presidential debate. Biden’s odds rose from 56% before the debate. Trump’s fell to 40%.

Betting on politics is illegal in the United States but permitted and common in Britain.

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