The Latest Amazon HQ2 Odds: Toronto Rises, Atlanta Falls, D.C. Area Looks Like the Front-Runner

Oddsmakers have a new list of which cities are the favorites to land Amazon's second headquarters
Posted: May, 25 2018

It was the week after Labor Day when Amazon first announced its plans to build a second headquarters. Now, nine months, three seasons and several million online think pieces later (to make a rough estimate), we’ve reached Memorial Day weekend without a conclusion to the still Seattle-based e-commerce giant’s continent-wide search for HQ2.

And while Amazon has been making major news in its hometown by playing a major role in the debate over the now-passed compromise version of the “head tax,” the HQ2 search has gone relatively quiet.

But that’s not stopping prognosticators from placing their bets on where Amazon will put the the $5 billion, 50,000-employee headquarters. In March, we wrote about who of the 20 finalists were in the lead to land HQ2, according to the oddsmakers at Canada-based betting site Bovada.

At that time, a cluster of five cities/locations, led by Northern Virginia, topped the list. While many of those cities -- Austin, Tex., Boston, Mass., Washington, D.C. -- are still atop the list, Toronto made a significant jump from the distant middle into the upper tier.

Here’s the full list, as it appeared on Bovada on Friday, May 25 (For reference: +500 = 5-to-1 odds):

  • Northern Virginia, Virginia: +225
  • Washington, D.C.: +375
  • Boston, Massachusetts: +500 
  • Toronto, Ontario, Canada: +500
  • Austin, Texas: +550
  • Atlanta, Georgia: +900 
  • Montgomery County, Maryland: +1,500 
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: +2,500 
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: +2,500 
  • Raleigh, North Carolina: +2,500 
  • Chicago, Illinois: +4,000 
  • Nashville, Tennessee: +4,500 
  • New York City, New York: +4,500 
  • Dallas, Texas: 5,000
  • Denver, Colorado: +5,000
  • Indianapolis, Indiana: +5,000 
  • Columbus, Ohio: +6,000
  • Newark, New Jersey: +6,000
  • Los Angeles, California: +7,000
  • Miami, Florida: +7,500 

While much of the list looks similar to the one from three months ago, the one city among the top contenders to show a significant drop is Atlanta. Notably, during that time, the Georgia state legislature passed a bill that removes a proposed tax break from Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, which ended a promotional discount for members of the National Rifle Association after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Odds also grew longer for those outside of the top group, and a middle group that includes Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Raleigh has emerged.

But with Northern Virginia, Washington D.C., and Montgomery County all among the top contenders, it stands to reason that the nation’s capital has a good chance to be very close to Amazon’s second headquarters.

And now Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos lives part time in D.C., having just moved into a $23 million house there.

When will Amazon make its final decision? Nobody knows, so stay tuned.

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