Donald Trump’s prime time address has cost a gambling website just short of $300,000 (£234,000), all because of the number of false statements the president made.
The website bookmaker.eu asked people to bet on how much Mr Trump would lie during his address, giving -145 odds that he would lie more than 3.5 times, and #115 for less than that. That means that $145 bet would yield $100 if Mr Trump lied four times or more.
Odds consultant John Lester told BuzzFeed News, which first reported on the betting, that the website lost $276,424 as a result of the speech. All told, 92 per cent of those who put money down correctly predicted that Mr Trump would make a habit of lies in his speech.
“It’s a bad day for Truthiness and Bookmaker,” Mr Lester told the news website. “We knew we were in trouble early with this one”.
Mr Trump’s speech was his first such address from the Oval Office, and was aimed at drumming up public support for funding his controversial border wall. The US government has been in partial shutdown for nearly three weeks now as Mr Trump has refused to sign funding legislation that does not include $5.7bn to build that barrier.
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During the address, Mr Trump made his case for increased border security before saying that a border wall is a necessary solution to a myriad of issues facing the US. In his speech, Mr Trump claimed that a porous border allows for the proliferation of gangs and drug use in the country, and an influx of undocumented immigrants.
Bookmaker calculated that Mr Trump might not lie quite as much during his speech, given the ample amount of consideration that was made by networks before his speech. The Washington Post's fact checker ultimately corrected six of his statements.
“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,” Mr Lester said.
”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?“
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The maximum wager was set at $2,000.