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Intrade Shutdown Hurts Academics

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the odds-are-against-immediate-return dept.

Censorship 131

New submitter jader3rd writes "Intrade, a popular Irish website that lets people bet on anything, has shut down. In addition to being used by gamblers, Intrade has been used by academics and pundits to track public sentiment. '"... broad crowds have a lot of information and that markets are an effective way of aggregating that information," says Justin Wolfers, "and they often turn out to be much better than experts."' Being forced to lose their U.S. customers couldn't have helped.

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The question (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43150531)

The question isn't whether other people "should have" the right to gamble.

The question is whether YOU should have the right to employ violence (meaning physical force or threat thereof) against other people in an attempt to stop them from gambling.

Now that the question has been properly rephrased, it can be properly answered.

Re:The question (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43150643)

Come see the violence inherent in the system!

Re:The question (5, Insightful)

Aglassis (10161) | about a year and a half ago | (#43150701)

It is actually a more general question. The question is whether the government has the right to use force (i.e. the police busting into your house with a SWAT team and shooting your dog) to prevent a person from doing an act that harms nobody but themselves or another fully consenting and knowledgeable adult. Drugs, polygamy, gambling, legal age prostitution, etc., could all be arguably classified under victim-less crimes. And not surprisingly, all of these are crimes against morality (except when there in a financial interest such as the lottery or alcohol sales).

Re:The question (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43150889)

Drugs, polygamy, gambling, legal age prostitution, etc., could all be arguably classified under victim-less crimes.

Only if one is willing to disregard non-victimless crime that is often correlated, specifically with drugs and gambling. Even if violent crime, burglary, embezzlement, and the like don't occur on a 1:1 basis with, say, drug use, gambling, or gun ownership, that isn't to say that those practices are completely harmless. Indeed, a civilized society that cares about the health and well-being of its members has to look at things statistically, and sometimes make the tough calls about how much soda one man can responsibly consume at a sitting or how tall grass is allowed to grow in a backyard.

Re:The question (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151217)

That's a slippery slope that ends with 100% government control over everything you do because everthing you do affects your breathing rate, which affects the air, which affects other people.

This analogy is stretched, but history shows it isn't stretched as far as you'd like to believe.

It is the core of sophistry in government expansion.

Re:The question (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154549)

Shut up! You must be a terrorist! If we don't molest everyone at airports, the terrorists will get us!

Re:The question (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43151397)

What a stupid argument. Make something criminal and then complain that it gets associated with other criminal activities, so it's alright it's criminal. Complete circular nonsense.

Re:The question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43151577)

Drunk driving is a victimless crime. We should only concern ourselves with vehicular homicide.

Re:The question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43151633)

Drunk driving is inherently dangerous to other people. Gambling, prostitution, and many types of drugs are dangerous largely because they are illegal.

Re:The question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43151949)

Now who's on that slippery slope?

Sorry, heard way too many sob stories about gambling and drugs to think they're victimless. We consider drunk driving "inherently dangerous" despite the fact that most people considered over the limit in most states would safely make it home under their own power. We do that because in the cases where they don't they cause significant harm. Is the harm of a family out on the street because of drugs that negligible in contrast? Of retirees having their life savings stolen by a daughter with a gambling addiction and power of attorney?

If we accept that what could happen as a result of drunk driving is sufficient to criminalize drunk driving, we've established that there are circumstances when it makes sense to criminalize otherwise noncriminal behavior that would lead to harm. The rest is a matter of balancing incidence and severity of harm against the value of individual liberties.

Re:The question (2)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154215)

Prostitution is trickier than that. It is absolutely legal to trade the sexual use of your body for money, you just have to use the correct euphemisms. The very definition of a 'Gold Digger' is a prostitute that works within the legal system. It is an activity that is very common. Prostitution's illegality is more of a cartel situation where the businesses with influence don't want competition for just anybody. They want the barrier of entry to stay high.

Re:The question (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43153435)

I think drunk driving should be 100% permissible. However I also believe that any accident that can be tied to that impairment should be considered willful and premeditated. Have an accident? It's now willful destruction of property. Hurt someone? It's now premeditated assault. Kill someone? 1st or 2nd degree murder.

Punish the crime, not the potential for crime.

Re:The question (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43152079)

The real question for you is whether that non-1:1 correlation is with those particular activities or with the prohibition of those activities. There are many proponents of legalization that are not enthusiasts of the substance/activity but, instead, believe that the black market created by prohibition is to blame for the majority of the problems.

Re:The question (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about a year and a half ago | (#43150947)

Polygamy isn't illegal, unless you want the government involved in the marriage.

Re:The question (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151127)

Actually, the state governments of the U.S. perform raids [wikipedia.org] on polygamist organizations from time to time. Not all of which are associated with other crimes.

Re:The question (3, Informative)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151267)

While this is true, nowadays they tend to restrict their raids to organizations where they get evidence or a tip that teenage girls are being 'married' to adult men, and usually charge the perpetrators with statutory rape, sex with a minor, or suchlike (depending on state laws, etc). The organization itself also gets slapped with aiding/abetting and similar.

Your specific cite occurred in 1953, which was probably the last time they could simply tear into a polygamist group just on that one charge alone. (the April 2010 raid was on misuse of public funds, not polygamy).

I suspect nowadays that if they tried making arrests on mere polygamy charges, it would wind up in the Supreme Court, which would likely strike it down (and open a somewhat smallish can of worms). Another part of it is the loopholes (legal marriage versus "spiritual" marriage) that polygamists use to skirt the law. As further evidence I present that stupid 'reality' TV show Sister Wives [wikipedia.org] , where that behavior is paraded openly on television.

Re:The question (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151641)

Yeah, I'm inclined to agree that it doesn't happen anymore, but to say that moralizing crusades to punish people doing no harm to others aren't without a ton of precedent in the U.S.

Re:The question (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151819)

As further evidence I present that stupid 'reality' TV show Sister Wives, where that behavior is paraded openly on television.

There are a lot of 'reality' shows today that show criminal activity openly. Moonshiners [discovery.com] , The Devils Ride [discovery.com] , and Amish Mafia [discovery.com] to name just three. (All on Discovery, it appears. Hmmm...)

I wondered how these people could allow TV crews to come and tape their illegal activities without worrying that the police would just use the tapes in court. Tim the Moonshiner made a comment during an episode that for some reason the cops cannot use this material, they have to actually see them break the law. He said he had a bunch of feds at his door with pictures asking him to admit to doing things, but they didn't cuff him and take him away, so just seeing it on camera must not be enough.

I mean, there must be some reason why the feds are still going to grant him a license to distill legally even after seeing him selling off his backup stash for cash to build his legal still.

Re:The question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43152783)

Moonshiners TV series isn't real. What you see happening is as real as the murders you see on America's Most Wanted, except that some of the actors play themselves. The credulous might say it's a re-enactment based on testimony and speculation; for the skeptic it's all just plain fake.

I presume the same applies to The Devils Ride and Amish Mafia. If actually illegal stuff was happening you can bet your bottom dollar some local sheriff or cop would jump at the opportunity for such an easy collar.

Re:The question (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43151125)

Sure they do. In the US if you bankrupt yourself the government, ie other taxpayers, are on the hook to provide unemployment, EBT, and Obamaphone benefits amongst others. You decided that you were unable to care for yourself and voted that the government is responsible for your wellbeing even if you are a total tool, therefore you have ALSO decided that the government is responsible for actually forcing you to behave in a manner that will not financially harm other members of the country, and that includes preventing you from the victim-less crime of gambling because it is now not victim-less. (You being the voting public in general, not just Aglassis).

See how liberalism works? You don't want to be responsible and it is more than happy to take responsibility from you in the form of loss of freedom with the reasons I gave. I don't agree with it, but thats what people in general beg for.

Re:The question (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151145)

If you're going to ask that question, you might as well ask does the government have the right to use violence against people who have harmed neither themselves nor the others. If you think the answer is obviously no, then I hope you are in favor of abolishing the income tax.

Re:The question (3)

Aglassis (10161) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151375)

The Harm Principle doesn't negate a person's duties. If you don't pay income tax but still take advantage of the services the government provides, like police, roads, and schools, then you have failed in your duty. If you are the rare individual who was homeschooled (or raised by wolves) and lives out in the middle of Alaska and in no way takes advantage of government services, then sure, pay no income tax (which will be easy since you won't have any income). Failing in your duty does harm actually people, be it failing to provide food for your kids or failing to support a school system than once educated you.

Re:The question (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154335)

If you don't pay income tax but still take advantage of the services the government provides, like police, roads, and schools, then you have failed in your duty.

Isn't that like the people who don't pay for movies, pirate them anyway and or use Adblock on websites then say something like

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3532567&threshold=0&commentsort=0&mode=thread&cid=43130289 [slashdot.org]

So what? Most Dutch investments in 1636 were in tulips. They didn't have a god-given right to make money, either.

Another popular analogy is BUGGY WHIP MANUFACTURERS who also DON'T HAVE A GOD GIVEN RIGHT TO MAKE MONEY.

Though apparently slashdotters do have a god given right to use stuff without paying.

Re:The question (4, Informative)

pthisis (27352) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151171)

Drugs, polygamy, gambling, legal age prostitution, etc., could all be arguably classified under victim-less crimes.

That's not the issue here at all. http://tippie.uiowa.edu/ [uiowa.edu] and other futures markets run without CTFC interference.

It's not gambling that's the issue here. The investigation at hand is about undocumented payments from the company to its (retired) founder and others, and whether there's potential investor fraud--a crime with an actual victim--going on.

Re:The question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43151367)

The founder has been "retired" rather permanently, actually; he died on Mt. Everest two years ago.

Re:The question (2, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151467)

Drugs, polygamy, gambling, legal age prostitution, etc., could all be arguably classified under victim-less crimes.

An acquaintance of mine whose husband snorted both of their entire retirement funds up his nose might question that. So might a friend whose father consistently gambled away most of his take home pay. There's more to consider than just the direct participants.
 

The question is whether the government has the right to use force (i.e. the police busting into your house with a SWAT team and shooting your dog) to prevent a person from doing an act that harms nobody but themselves or another fully consenting and knowledgeable adult.

That presumes the adult in question is consenting and knowledgeable. There's a reason why the lottery is often called 'a tax on people bad at math".

Re:The question (5, Insightful)

Aglassis (10161) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151631)

An acquaintance of mine whose husband snorted both of their entire retirement funds up his nose might question that. So might a friend whose father consistently gambled away most of his take home pay. There's more to consider than just the direct participants.

Yes, but you are using today's drug math. If cocaine wasn't illegal, it wouldn't be so expensive. And if it was well regulated, the dosage could be monitored.

But what if he blew his money on the stock market or a crazy investment? There are a million stupid ways people lose their retirement savings. You can't put people in plastic balls to protect themselves from everything in the world and you don't need to burn down crops and indirectly fund insurgencies in Colombia because some asshole snorted cocaine. It is amazing that you talk about considering people other than the direct participants while supporting the War on Drugs.

Re:The question (1, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year and a half ago | (#43152189)

Yes, but you are using today's drug math. If cocaine wasn't illegal, it wouldn't be so expensive. And if it was well regulated, the dosage could be monitored.

Yes, because after all.. alcohol, which is well regulated, hasn't caused any collateral damage. No, I'm not using "today's drug math", I'm pointing out reality - there is rarely any such thing as a 'victimless' crime. (Otherwise, what you're proposing is a system of legalization that is so regulated that it won't work like you think it will. If the state prevents an addict from getting his fix one way, he's going to get it another way.)
 

But what if he blew his money on the stock market or a crazy investment? There are a million stupid ways people lose their retirement savings.

The topic here isn't "ways to blow retirement savings", the topic is "the effects of so called victimless crimes". That you feel the need to change the topic tells me all I need to know.

Re:The question (2)

Aglassis (10161) | about a year and a half ago | (#43152413)

Yes, because after all.. alcohol, which is well regulated, hasn't caused any collateral damage.

Compared to prohibition? Be real.

The topic here isn't "ways to blow retirement savings", the topic is "the effects of so called victimless crimes". That you feel the need to change the topic tells me all I need to know.

You're the one who brought it up! Jesus H. Christ!

As far as the effect of victimless crimes, sure there may be an effect. But it is a second order or third order effect. Do people steal cigarettes or alcohol when they run out of money? Sure. Would people do the same if they ran out of heroin? Sure. But if heroin was as cheap as cigarettes or alcohol, would they be willing to kill for it? And would distributors be willing to kill to protect it?

What about prostitution? If it were regulated, like in Canada, would the women be so exploited? Would there not be substantial public health benefits?

I'm proposing a system where arbitrary morality doesn't determine whether the government can kick your door in and shoot your dog. I'm proposing a system where you don't use the heavy hand of government unless you can prove harm. You are nitpicking over second and third order effects. But why is this idea so crazy? What better solution do you have that addresses the rights of people and the rights of the harmed?

Re:The question (2)

WrongMonkey (1027334) | about a year and a half ago | (#43152095)

How are those examples different than anyone else who wastes their money on frivolous activities?

Re:The question (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year and a half ago | (#43152225)

I didn't say they were did I? Nor does the existence of other ways to waste money change the fact that there crimes that the OP claims are victimless - aren't.

Re:The question (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154267)

The same could be said about women and their frivolous shopping. I have known more than one man who has had his retirement spent on shoes, trips to the hair salon and similar things. I'm pretty sure that no one is suggesting frivolous shopping be outlawed.

Re:The question (2)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154587)

An acquaintance of mine whose husband snorted both of their entire retirement funds up his nose might question that.

Making the entire substance illegal isn't the answer. That's just collective punishment. Same for the rest.

There's more to consider than just the direct participants.

Just about everything you do affects other people indirectly, but just because they think something is harmful or could be abused in some cases doesn't mean it should be illegal.

Re:The question (2)

The Raven (30575) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151589)

While I agree, mostly, I should point out that Polygamy causes similar harm to society as a whole as selective abortion of female children. It causes an excess of unattached (and frustrated) young males, which increases local violence and society's predilection for violent resolution of disagreement... ie, war. [reason.com]

Re:The question (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154455)

I should point out that Polygamy causes similar harm to society as a whole as selective abortion of female children. It causes an excess of unattached (and frustrated) young males, which increases local violence and society's predilection for violent resolution of disagreement... ie, war.

Or not.

Depending, of course, on whether you're using the correct definition of polygamy (marriage involving more than one wife OR husband), as opposed to say, polygyny (more than one wife) or polyandry (more than one husband).

Note that polygamy proper (multiple marriage involving an indefinite number of husbands and wives) can also be a wonderful way of conserving capital from generation to generation, as a family is less likely to be economically devastated by the loss of a breadwinner if there are, say four breadwinners in the family, along with two (or three or four) stay-at-home parents....

Re:The question (1)

Vintermann (400722) | about a year and a half ago | (#43153537)

> (i.e. the police busting into your house with a SWAT team and shooting your dog)

This is Ireland we're talking about, they may have their own dysfunctions but this isn't a common one.

All this is just pointless hyperbole. Your basic question is: does a state have the right to regulate economic activity? and just about everyone except "libertarians" agree that they do. The money you make and how you make it is the government's business. If you're engaging in not for profit activity you get quite a bit more slack, but if you've come up with a novel way to make money, it's the government's business to ensure that you're not harming society with it (and yes, "agreements between consenting adults" can still be harmful as there's really no such thing as an agreement between just two persons). Capitalism being what it is, if there's a profitable way to do harmful stuff, lots and lots of people will be doing that harmful stuff very soon.

So that isn't an interesting question for the most of us. The question is what's happened to Intrade, and why they're suddenly in trouble. I personally think gambling of the Intrade variety should be tolerated with tight regulation, and I had the impression that Ireland was pretty tolerant about gambling. But I also know that they managed to piss off US regulators somehow, and those people have long arms and lots of discretion to harass.

Re:The question (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#43150933)

You reworded the question to whether YOU should have the right to stop someone who is firing a gun into a crowd (and hasn't hit anyone yet) in an attempt to stop them from hitting anyone.

The answer is always "I want the government to step in and act violently on behalf of what I want them to do, but not for anyone else." Lets see if that holds true this time (I find the answers more amusing when I add in the previous answers).

Re:The question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43151147)

Not sure I understand what you're getting at. Violence in self-defense is always morally justified, according to human nature. This should be self-evident.

Clearly, the violence we are talking about (the violence required to outlaw gambling) is offensive violence, not defensive violence.

Re:The question (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154403)

If someone is shooting at you and missing, then they have not committed violence against you. Are you "morally justified, according to human nature" in shooting back with the intention of hitting them? Then you initiated violence against someone else who did not harm you.

Clearly, the violence we are talking about (the violence required to outlaw gambling) is offensive violence, not defensive violence.

Clearly the analogy used didn't address offensive vs defensive violence. And Is there a difference if the defense is in response to a non-violent act?

Re:The question (2)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151283)

The answer is always "I want the government to step in and act violently on behalf of what I want them to do, but not for anyone else."

I assume you mean to say "I want the government to force everyone to do what I want"? The alternative reading, "I want the government to do what I want the government to do" is a meaningless tautology. So you think everyone wants the government to use force, up to and including violence, to make you live as they want? Most people do NOT think that way. Most people value freedom.

For example, I want you to get health coverage. I do not want the government to arrest you if you refuse to get government approved coverage or pay them a penalty. I want you to work hard, generate a lot of wealth, and give away as much as you can. I don't want the government forcibly taking what you earn and giving it away to their voters. Nor do I want the next logical step - the government physically forcing you to continue working 60 hours a week despite the fact they are taking 60% of your pay.

Re:The question (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154471)

So you think everyone wants the government to use force, up to and including violence, to make you live as they want?

Every Libertarian I've ever met believes that. They want the government to step in and initiate violence when they have a dispute (suing someone is a private person enlisting violence from the government). They'll try to re-word it millions of ways to hide/confuse the issue, but it all comes back to, at the minimum, the government is there to (at a minimum) enforce contract law. That, and initiate violence against women who want abortion, and other such edge cases.

For example, I want you to get health coverage. I do not want the government to arrest you if you refuse to get government approved coverage or pay them a penalty. I want you to work hard, generate a lot of wealth, and give away as much as you can. I don't want the government forcibly taking what you earn and giving it away to their voters. Nor do I want the next logical step - the government physically forcing you to continue working 60 hours a week despite the fact they are taking 60% of your pay.

Where do they physically force you to work for 60 hours a week?

But yes, if the government had no power and no funds, they couldn't impose on our rights. The warlords would do that for them. It's not a right if you can't exercise it. That doesn't mean just being banned from restaurants because you are Black, but also having roaming gangs causing trouble and restricting freedom because the government isn't strong enough to respond. Not to mention that you are advocating the "I want the government to do what I want, but not what anyone else wants" version you were making fun of. That's anti-democracy. The government shouldn't have the power to act on behalf of the populous. Thus, it isn't a democracy. Two wolf and a sheep voting on dinner is democracy. 10,000,000 starving wolves and 100 sheep voting on dinner, where the sheep have already set up the government to say "dinner may never be sheep" is not democracy. So where do you see democracy in a government you advocate?

Re:The question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43151379)

So, if someone is cheating people, it's not okay to have them stop on their own accord? Maybe you should look into the facts on this. Their own internal auditors found irregularities and shut the company down. I believe the government should have the right to shoot people who steal money from others. I don't think it happens often enough.

Re:The question (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151405)

That rephrasing cleverly hides a different question, of whether anyone has the right to bind their own fortune to another's, without all parties' full awareness and consent.

This is the heart of many of gambling's problems, especially those involving professional sports. Once someone has placed a large enough wager, it is in their best interest to try to affect the outcome, which usually involves breaking other laws and restricting others' freedom. Not every wager can be rigged effectively, but enough can be so as to produce an effective funding mechanism for organized crime.

This question is whether you should have the right to interfere with the integrity of my sports, games, and politics.

Re:The question (3, Insightful)

mjr167 (2477430) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151497)

If a woman marries a rich man it is often in her interest to kill him and inherit. Perhaps we should make marrying rich men illegal so that women won't be tempted to murder their husbands in their sleep.

Making an activity that many adults do responsibility a crime just because some adults who do the same things also commit crimes that may or may not be related is dumb.

Re:The question (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year and a half ago | (#43152015)

Legal marriage is done with full knowledge and consent. If a woman were to unilaterally declare herself married, and somehow produce the appropriate papers, the fraudulent marriage itself wouldn't be legal. On the other hand, a man entering into marriage is (or at least should be, and this is aided by varying laws) aware that his fiancee's fortune depends on his own, so he may wish to take certain precautions as he sees fit, such as a pre-nuptual agreement or a legal will.

My point is not to advocate for or against gambling, or even for or against attaching fortunes, as that happens to all of us daily whether we want it to or not. What I most object to is a "rephrasing" that conveniently shifts the universe of discourse. There are many aspects to the question of whether gambling should be permitted or not, and the question of enforcement is merely one aspect, not the "proper" phrasing.

Re:The question (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#43152841)

That's not true! All she needs to do is file for divorce. She will get half his wealth and all of his children. Have you never been to Family Court?

Re:The question (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year and a half ago | (#43152399)

This is the heart of many of gambling's problems, especially those involving professional sports. Once someone has placed a large enough wager, it is in their best interest to try to affect the outcome, which usually involves breaking other laws and restricting others' freedom.

Down the slippery slope we go...

"Gambling should be against the law because someone might want to effect the outcome in ways that break other laws."

I have a house painting addiction. I put a new coat of paint on my house every 6 months. Unsurprisingly this turns out to be very expensive and if I continue doing it I will end up in serious financial trouble. I wish the government would make house painting illegal so that I wont turn to crime to support my house painting habit.

Statistically, a significant portion of people with a serious house painting habit turns to crime, therefore its just like gambling problems and drug problems and we should make house painting illegal.

Re:The question (1)

Score Whore (32328) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151451)

In my opinion you absolutely have the right to gamble, and lots of others such as drug use, engaging in prostitution, self-mutilation, suicide, driving without a seat belt and more. However you also have the right to starve, freeze, die of disease, or to spread your brains all over the wall behind you because you wondered what it looked like down the gun barrel. An example of this is the moron Aron Ralston, who had the right to "gnaw" his own arm off because he had the right to go climbing alone without telling anyone where he was going or how long he was expecting to be there.

But if you insist on having society provide shelter, food, clothing, medical care, retirement income and what not, then society gets the privilege of placing limits -- to control behaviors that do not contribute to the overall well being of society.

The Answer - Yes (1)

Improv (2467) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151677)

And the answer, as it always is when twisted in that libertarian way, is yes. Society has the right to set rules and enforce them. And I, as a part of society, can support such rules. Not as an individual, but as a society.

Re:The question (2)

scamper_22 (1073470) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151725)

Just reframing the question makes a world of difference.

In fact, my definition of a 'free society' is simply one where the DEFAULT position is freedom.

Forget a second about details about what regulation is best... and just phrase all your questions in respect is 'freedom' the default position.

If freedom is the default position, then it is up to the government to prove that the freedom granted to individuals is too great for the society that the government must use violence or threat thereof to stop the activity.

So for example for gun control... the default position is that people are allowed to owned guns. Then the government must prove that certain kinds of weapons are too deadly or certain kinds of people are too unstable to possess them.

But generally this is not how questions are asked. Consider education. The default position is that every child should go to government school. It is up to charter schools or independent schools to prove they are significantly better to get the same treatment. This is an example of an unfree aspect of society.

Rather the question should be if independent schools are so harmful that the government not fund students who wish to attend them to the same level as public school.

Or is Marijuana so harmful to society that the government should send people to jail for smoking a plant.

Extremely vague article (5, Informative)

schneidafunk (795759) | about a year and a half ago | (#43150551)

You're better off going to intrade's website here for information: http://www.intrade.com/ [intrade.com]

" With sincere regret we must inform you that due to circumstances recently discovered we must immediately cease trading activity on www.intrade.com.

These circumstances require immediate further investigation, and may include financial irregularities which in accordance with Irish law oblige the directors to take the following actions:

Cease exchange trading on the website immediately.
Settle all open positions and calculate the settled account value of all Member accounts immediately.
Cease all banking transactions for all existing Company accounts immediately.


During the upcoming weeks, we will investigate these circumstances further and determine the necessary course of action.

To mitigate any further risk to members’ accounts, we have closed and settled all open contracts at fair market value as of the close of business on March 10, 2013, in accordance with the Terms and Conditions of our customers’ use of the website. You may view your account details and settled account balances by logging into the website.

At this time and until further notice, it is not possible to make any payments to members in accordance with their settled account balance until the investigations have concluded.

The Company will continue the maintenance and technology operations of the exchange system so that all information is preserved properly.

We are not able to provide telephone support or live help services at this time, please contact the company by email at: accountservices@intrade.com

We appreciate your custom and support over the years. We are committed to reporting faithfully the status of things as they are clarified and hope you will bear with us as we do all we can to resume operations as promptly as possible.

Sincerely,

The Board of Directors of Intrade the Prediction Market Limited "

More info (5, Informative)

schneidafunk (795759) | about a year and a half ago | (#43150587)

"The moves followed concerns raised by the company’s auditors over more than $1.5 million payments to Intrade’s founder, John Delaney, and other unnamed third parties. The transactions, according Intrade’s auditors, were not sufficiently documented."

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/03/11/online-betting-site-intrade-halts-operations/ [nytimes.com]

Re:More info (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151285)

"The moves followed concerns raised by the companyâ(TM)s auditors over more than $1.5 million payments to Intradeâ(TM)s founder, John Delaney,

He's one of the Q, what does HE need human money for?

Re:Extremely vague article (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year and a half ago | (#43150843)

That money was just resting in my account!

Re:Extremely vague article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43151707)

" With sincere regret we must inform you that due to circumstances recently discovered we must immediately cease trading activity on www.intrade.com.

These circumstances require immediate further investigation

The word on the street is they just updated their bitcoins generator. [slashdot.org] Can we stop with these bitcoin stories now?

Re:Extremely vague article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43152447)

"Can we stop with these bitcoin stories now?"

I guess not...

Just as a relevant aside to TFA, when Intrade was shut down for the US market a site called BetsOfBitcoin (betsofbitco dot in) started getting pretty good. While Intrade folded to pressure directed through banks and payment processors (like Wikileaks, OWS, et alia), this - as one of the core advantages of bitcoin - isn't really possible with BetsOfBitcoin. They're bitcoin-only, and firewalled from the entire financial infrastructure that did in Intrade.

There's a bet up right now taking the position that Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) will hit Mars in 2014. You can bet against that rather long-odds proposition. There's plenty of politics, sports and geek stuff too. It's an interesting site. And no, I'm not associated with it.

Shit! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43150565)

I bet this wouldn't have happened!

Good job, whoever is against online gambling (0)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year and a half ago | (#43150593)

You've successfully done nothing besides shut one site down. Thank god. Nothing will immediately spring up to take it's place. You've successfully prevented society from gambling, which is important because your holy book says so. Kinda. Alternatively, good job Casinos. People desperate for their gambling addiction will now have to leave the house in order to spend their paycheck. You'll be able to slip your local politicians their bribes now.

If neither the bible pounders nor casino semi-organized-crime was involved with intrade being barred from the US and shut down: sorry for maligning you, but fuck you anyway.

Re:Good job, whoever is against online gambling (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43150743)

Watch out everyone! This guy has a 3 in his name so he's a 1337 hacker who knows what he's talking about...

Re:Good job, whoever is against online gambling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43150997)

Bans on gambling never actually work...how about buying some bitcoins, then using tor and spending them on the online gambling site should be about enough. You can only be caught when you convert them back to USD and pick up the earnings.

That said, ban on online gambling was more a money laundry prevention policy than anything else.

Re:Good job, whoever is against online gambling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43151067)

Buying bitcoins is ALREADY gambling!

Re:Good job, whoever is against online gambling (3, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151423)

Err, bad news... I doubt the shutdown was religiously motivated.

Even outright atheists in government would happily close the site. Why? Because government doesn't get the huge 'vig' [wikipedia.org] off of it, like they do with lotteries and suchlike. Now state lotteries on the other hand (especially as they expand into casino territory, with "video lottery" slot machines [oregonlottery.org] , keno, etc)? Well, the governments get their take in way bigger chunks. This in turn raises a huge incentive to keep competition from private industry to a minimum.

After all, if folks are going to gamble anyway, you may as well make it a levy on idiocy while funding government coffers at the same time...

I'm against money laundering (aka gambling) (1)

rsborg (111459) | about a year and a half ago | (#43152017)

Does that make me a bible thumper? Wow. Amazing to find that out.

Seriously, anonymizing money transfers (which is one of the main functions of gambling and casinos) makes for easy money laundering and

Think of it this way: passing money through a casino or betting venue (online or offline) is effectively a one-way function - you can't trace the money to it's source. Ever wonder why James Bond is always hanging around casinos? Because that's how he gets paid to do his dirty deeds (at least that's the real story). His "day job" at MI6 is a convenient cover.

It's not about shielding your society from all gambling - this is a "avoid the chasing bear by being faster than your friend" - you want to keep this kind of activity from corrupting your society as much as possible - let the contract killers hang out in Macau or Monaco. By making it more difficult to launder money you keep the government just that bit cleaner.

just use social media (0)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#43150619)

popularity seems to be measured by retweets lately

Intrade Unethical (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43150649)

The summary left out the an important part of the about why Intrade is closing.

According to www.Intrade.com
" With sincere regret we must inform you that due to circumstances recently discovered we must immediately cease trading activity on www.intrade.com.
These circumstances require immediate further investigation, and may include financial irregularities which in accordance with Irish law oblige the directors to take the following actions: "

In 2005, Intrade specifically made an agreement with the CFTC not to trade options on commodities and futures. Then in 2011 they broke that agreement by offering options on commodities and futures, thus resulting in the CFTC filing a lawsuit against them. At one point they limited the access of the api to a few customers to prevent competition from other members.

Re:Intrade Unethical (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151013)

In other words, they did nothing that was particularly unethical compared to other financial companies, to say nothing of other gambling organizations.

Doesn't really tell me much aside from they probably should have asked anyone in the financial industry whose palms they needed to grease.

Re:Intrade Unethical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43151599)

Yes, besides stealing their customers money, nothing unethical at all...

Re:Intrade Unethical (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151855)

When did they do that. Nothing GP said indicated that.

Re:Intrade Unethical (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151999)

In 2005, Intrade specifically made an agreement with the CFTC not to trade options on commodities and futures. Then in 2011 they broke that agreement by offering options on commodities and futures, thus resulting in the CFTC filing a lawsuit against them.

So, it was a territorial dispute. Like what goes on with the Mob.

The CFTC didn't do squat to regulate the CDO/CDS markets surrounding mortgage debt. So it looks like their only function was to keep competitors out of the business. If this was garbage pick up in New Jersey, they would have sent a couple of enforcers over with iron pipes. Thank goodness we have the courts to take care of that for them.

Better than the experts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43150669)

Dude, you should have seen the mess that was the 2012 elections. Intrade was a joke.

So... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43150699)

Anybody do one of these in Bitcoin yet?

I was gonna say I bet it's just a matter of time, but, well...

Re:So... (1)

pthisis (27352) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151015)

Yeah, it's here: http://betsofbitco.in/ [betsofbitco.in]

Also, the Iowa Electronic Market is still up in the US (and has CTFC approval) if you prefer dollars: http://tippie.uiowa.edu/ [uiowa.edu]

Minneapolis Grain Exhange, Inc... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43150719)

Funny, but not surprising. MGEX was positioning itself to be the IntradeUSA electronic host/clearing house.

Between MD, Intrade, and stealing a deceased contractor's software, it's amazing the CFTC hasn't investigated...

Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43150721)

broad crowds have a lot of information and that markets are an effective way of aggregating that information," says Justin Wolfers, "and they often turn out to be much better than experts

Of course they are better than experts. The system removes bettors that are wrong too often and distributes their votes to the bettors that are more prescient. It doesn't take that many iterations to weed out the idiots and pundits.

Dammit! (0)

ilsaloving (1534307) | about a year and a half ago | (#43150831)

Why do I only ever find out about these things, when it's too late?

Re:Dammit! (2)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151941)

Because you haven't been following the line on Intrade getting shut down.

There's Foresight Exchange (1)

fgrieu (596228) | about a year and a half ago | (#43150901)

If trading funny money and a bare-bones web interface is OK, there is Foresight Exchange (aka Ideosphere) which has worked almost flawlessly since 1994.
http://www.ideosphere.com/ [ideosphere.com]

Re:There's Foresight Exchange (1)

pthisis (27352) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151221)

IEM's been running real-money prediction markets since 1988. They're still up and running fine (and their FAQ links to their CTFC approval letter).

http://tippie.uiowa.edu/iem/ [uiowa.edu]

Just another state monopoly service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43150909)

Wonder how the definition of betting excludes things like giving money to politicians for the chance to get payout in political favors.

Not the only one around, nor the oldest (5, Informative)

pthisis (27352) | about a year and a half ago | (#43150987)

I never understood why Intrade got so much press--the Iowa Electronic Market has been doing the "online futures trading" thing for far longer. They're still up and running at: http://tippie.uiowa.edu/iem/ [uiowa.edu]

And they have approval from the CTFC: http://www.cftc.gov/files/foia/repfoia/foirf0503b004.pdf [cftc.gov]

Re:Not the only one around, nor the oldest (1)

fldsofglry (2754803) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151561)

Nice info. It seemed to me though that intrade had more markets and didn't limit market availability to academics.

Re:Not the only one around, nor the oldest (1)

pthisis (27352) | about a year and a half ago | (#43152435)

The political prediction markets at IEM aren't limited to academics. From their FAQ:

The IEM is operated for research and teaching purposes. All interested participants world-wide can trade in our political markets. Other markets--such as the earnings and returns markets--are open only to academic traders.

Re:Not the only one around, nor the oldest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43153035)

"Markets" work because people have a strong _economic_ interest. It's this economic interest which serves to offset prejudices so that people are marginally more likely to pay attention to the proper signals and information in their environment.

A market where money isn't at stake is no market at all. It's just a bunch of gossiping. Which isn't to say it's useless, it's just not a real market.

Re:Not the only one around, nor the oldest (1)

pthisis (27352) | about a year and a half ago | (#43153429)

A market where money isn't at stake is no market at all

I agree, but I don't see how it's relevant to my post. The IEM markets are real money markets and you cannot participate without putting money in:

Are the participants playing with real money?

YES. Trading accounts can be opened for $5 to $500. Participants then use their funds to buy and sell contracts. Traders therefore have the opportunity to profit from their trades but must also bear the risk of losing money.

How does the IEM safeguard my money?

The IEM is operated under the auspices of the University of Iowa. You write your check to the University of Iowa and the funds are deposited to a University of Iowa account. When funds are withdrawn from your account, the University of Iowa accounting group (a group independent of the IEM) writes a check and mails it directly to your last known address. As a university operation, the IEM is subject to audits by university and state auditors.

I live in Europe--can I still trade in the US political markets?

The US political markets are open to traders, world-wide. To open an account, you will need to send some form of US currency (personal check, money order, electronic transfer) to the IEM office

100% of Intrade users (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43151011)

Should have seen this coming. Results strikingly accurate among computer savy individuals who understand how prediction markets work.

how do I get my money now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43151203)

I placed a bet on Intrade betting this would happen....how do I get my money now?

Re:how do I get my money now (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151449)

don't live in the US? elsewhere you still can. or you could set up a bank account out side of the US

What difference between gambling and insurance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43151359)

I say my house will get flooded this year. The insurance company says no. In my minds the odds are 1/500 so I pay 0.5% of my house value in flood insurance. The insurance company doesn't think that the odds are that high, so they enter into a deal to pay me full price of my house in case it gets flooded.
One of us loosed and the other one wins. Next year we bet again.

Why is this legal and plain old betting is not?

Re:What difference between gambling and insurance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43151757)

Your insurance company won't cover your flood unless two adjacent properties have at least 1 inch of water above the ground floor. Basements don't count. Lot of circumstances where floods won't be covered.

The difference is that your insurance company will usually not payout.

Re:What difference between gambling and insurance? (4, Informative)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151913)

In general terms its called "insurable interest". If you are exposed to a loss and you hedge against it, its insurance. If its not your house (or football team*), its gambling.

*The league has their own regulations prohibiting "insurance" against a loss by those with financial exposure to sporting outcomes like team owners.

Good (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43151439)

The problem I have with futures trading is that it creates incentive for things to go one way or another.

What if I were to bet 500k that ${ASSASSINATION_TARGET} was not going to die by getting shot and then thrown in the east river tomorrow?
Someone who sees that would then have incentive to make that happen.

Even in more limited ways it can still be a problem. Sports history has instances of people throwing games in order to make large amounts of money. I could see the same causing sabotage in industry. You cant publicly bet on things without changing the probability that they will happen.

Re:Good (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151857)

So now we understand why allowing "investors" to purchase naked credit default swaps [wikipedia.org] at a rate of 5 for every single derivative covered caused the market collapse. More people stood to make a profit by a failure of the underlying security. No collusion needed. That's how the 'wisdom of the markets' is supposed to work.

Why AIG and half of Wall Street wasn't thrown into prison for operating a numbers racket, I'll never know.

Stay tuned. The investment community wants regulations on "insurable interest" lifted from life insurance policies. That means I'll be able to bet against your grandpa making it to 80.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43153087)

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/473/loopholes?act=1
http://www.propublica.org/article/death-takes-a-policy-how-a-lawyer-exploited-the-fine-print

Prediction Markets (2)

Hal_Porter (817932) | about a year and a half ago | (#43151615)

The CIA actually run a prediction market for a while until public outcry caused them to shut it down.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2011/04/20/cia-investors-aim-to-build-a-pseudo-gambling-market-for-data-security-predictions/ [forbes.com]

The CIA has long been intrigued by the intelligence potential of prediction markets. A 2006 paper the agency published cited examples like betting markets that predict election outcomes more accurately than polls, and orange juice future markets that predict weather better than meteorological organizations. It also pointed to the use of prediction markets within corporations like Google and Eli Lilly, which have sometimes skirted gambling laws by supplying their employees with âoeinvestment fundsâ and given them an opportunity to make wagers based on their knowledge.

The Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA) even launched its own prediction market known as FutureMAP for intelligence purposes in 2001, though the program was canceled for political reasons in 2003. As the CIAâ(TM)s paper notes, Senators Byron Dorgan and Ron Wyden called such experiments âoeterrorism betting parlors,â and argued that âoespending millions of dollars on some kind of fantasy league terror game is absurd and, frankly, ought to make every American angry.â

What's interesting is that prediction markets seem to have advantages over opinion polls. E.g.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/rozeff/rozeff88.html [lewrockwell.com]

In an article in support of rational markets, Mark Rubinstein relates this story:

"At 3:15 p.m. on May 27, 1968, the submarine USS Scorpion was officially declared missing with all 99 men aboard. She was somewhere within a 20-mile-wide circle in the Atlantic, far below implosion depth. Five months later, after extensive search efforts, her location within that circle was still undetermined. John Craven, the Navy's top deep-water scientist, had all but given up. As a last gasp, he asked a group of submarine and salvage experts to bet on the probabilities of different scenarios that could have occurred. Averaging their responses, he pinpointed the exact location (within 220 yards) where the missing sub was found."

James Surowiecki in his book The Wisdom of Crowds tells the story of the game show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" in which a contestant could ask an expert for help with a question or ask the audience. The experts were right 65 percent of the time, and the audience was right 91 percent of the time.

Jude Wanniski related a story told to him by Jack Treynor, a finance guru. Treynor had his class guess the number of jelly beans in a jar holding 850 beans. The average guess was within 3 percent of the total. Wanniski, by the way, correctly realized that this supported the efficiency of financial markets. He also, in my opinion incorrectly, construed this as proof of the efficiency of political markets, an opinion he expanded upon in The Way the World Works.

Prediction markets in general perform exceedingly well compared to individual forecasts. In his article on prediction markets, Philip O'Connor writes: "In fact, studies of prediction markets have found that the market price does a better job of predicting future events than all but a tiny percentage of individual guesses. The analysis below of the Virtual Super 12 shows the average selection, an average or constructed market price, to be better than 99% of participants' selections."

He continues: "A short list of other evidence includes the following:

Markets that predict elections have been shown to outperform the predictions of opinion polls.

Prediction markets on movie box-office receipts and more obscure events have been shown to correspond closely with actual outcomes.

Sports gambling markets are excellent predictors of actual outcomes.

Laboratory experiments demonstrate that markets do the best job of aggregating information across participants in a controlled setting."

The bits of information possessed by independently thinking individuals are aggregated into market price, just as they are averaged into consensus judgments about jelly beans or correct multiple choice answers. The resulting outcomes tend to be more accurate than those of the individuals in the group and often more accurate than experts.

To make this happen, the individuals should make independent assessments. If they all get together as a committee, talk things out, and reach a consensus opinion, we probably will not find this result. People on committees influence each other in many ways, as anyone who attends such meetings knows. Anonymity is absent, and information and independent opinion often are suppressed.

Hayek's 1945 paper on knowledge and prices begins to explain why prediction markets predict accurately. Hayek pointed out that knowledge is diffused among many individuals. It is hidden throughout society and changes according to particular circumstances of time and place. Prices aggregate this information. Hayek observed: "We must look at the price system as such a mechanism for communicating information if we want to understand its real function..."

Each person guesses at the outcome of a future event with error or noise. Some guesses are too low, and some are too high. In a sample of such independent guesses, the errors tend to cancel out when an average is struck. And if the outcome depends on many variables that no one person can assess but which many people might know a little about, the average will incorporate more variables than any single person might be aware of. In markets, if some people have better information than others, they are more willing to bet and bet more because they are more sure of the outcome. The bottom line is that prices tend to aggregate and therefore communicate information, although of course not perfectly.

Markets get it right, usually better than individuals do. Noise cancels out. Markets are on target, as much as anyone can be. Submarines get found. Winning horses get picked. Candidates who win get picked ahead of time. Predictions markets ignore a good deal of noise.

The market is a subtle beast - like evolution it is devoid of conscious intelligence but like evolution it is also devoid of blind spots. And like evolution it is far superior to any possible 'intelligent designer'.

Still prediction markets have their critics

1) Some people dislike prediction markets because they don't understand them - people thought the CIA market was people paying hitmen.

2) some people dislike them because they find something distasteful about 'gambling on people's lives'. Personally I'd be more concerned about if no one gambled on my life - things like insurance and even a (private) healthcare system can only work if people make actuarial calculations and are sufficiently sure that they will be right on average that they can offer to give me cheap coverage. What about an welfare state? Well in that case the whole thing is funded on a Marxist 'from each according to his ability to each according to his need scheme' - i.e. benefits today come from taxes today. In the long run of course people will tend to maximize their needs by claiming as much as possible and minimize their 'abilities' by setting up complicated tax avoidance structures. I dunno about you but I'd rather be dependent on someone who set everyone's insurance premiums by actuarial calculations and made money out of it than a state that depended on people not moving their cash overseas when it decided to raise more cash to fund my treatment.

2b) Some people thing there is something immoral about gambling. Presumably back home in Rednecksville Daddy used to gamble his money on the horsies and then beat the shit out of Mummy when he inevitably lost it because he couldn't do simple arithmetic (hint if the odds offered on certainty are less than 1/1 the market is rigged and you can't use it to hedge). Therefore clearly we need to ban the stock market. Or something.

3) Some people dislike any futures market because they believe it will lead to more volatility. That's actually a hypothesis we can test. The US banned trading in Onion Futures and you can compare volatility pre and post ban.

4) Last but not least I think some people don't like predictions markets because they are public. Part of the advantage of being in an elite is that you have access to what is effectively a private prediction market - a bunch of people with inside information and real money making quasi public bets. If you ban prediction markets for the proles you have a greater advantage in terms of knowledge compared to them.

That advantage can be turned into money. You can even tip off the idiots who'll whine about "gambling on people's lives" or "Jeebus doesn't like gamblers" and get their loud but empty bleating to persuade the people who run the market to shut it down. Or at least stop it being public - remember the rational elite objection is not to prediction markets but to ones that make their results public.

So yeah, RIP Intrade.

The CIA are apparently trying again at prediction markets but

http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2011/04/20/cia-investors-aim-to-build-a-pseudo-gambling-market-for-data-security-predictions/ [forbes.com]

The researchers havenâ(TM)t decided yet whether their prediction marketplace will be open to the public, invite-only, or something in between.

I predict it will not be public - it will be private like the Google and Eli Lilly ones to hide it from Senators Byron Dorgan and Ron Wyden. And also because information is only valuable if it is not known to everyone.

Re:Prediction Markets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43152053)

IARPA is funding DAGGRE now.

Re:Prediction Markets (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | about a year and a half ago | (#43153915)

Don't say stuff like that on the internet.

For all you know it might cause some agent dressed as a Rastafarian to read if, conclude OPERATION DREIDEL-YAMULKE [ocn.ne.jp] has gone live, snap their laptop shut and go off to kill someone.

Re:Prediction Markets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43153985)

5) Gambling and trade markets are easy targets for fraud and insider tricks. They are extremely hard to regulate. It may even be impossible as they get large enough to influence the government itself.

Academics should check out DAGGRE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43151905)

I'm a DAGGRE [daggre.org] user, which is run out of George Mason University. It's great for academic purposes; I just went to an awesome DAGGRE workshop the other weekend and learned all about prediction markets. It uses play money, which has been shown to be just as good for research purposes. [artificialmarkets.com]

If you want to use slightly more real money, Bets of Bitcoin is useful as well.

Intrade CEO stole 2.6 million (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43152563)

http://www.elitetrader.com/vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=261203&highlight=intrade

The founder of Intrade received $2.6m in insufficiently documented payments from the popular prediction markets company in 2010 and 2011, an audit revealed weeks before trading on the site was halted.

Auditors for the Dublin-based company – an online hub where people can bet on everything from presidential elections to papal conclaves – highlighted concerns about “significant financial irregularities” and the payments made to John Delaney, according to financial records Intrade recently filed with Ireland’s companies registration office. Mr Delaney, who launched Intrade’s parent company in 1999, died on Mount Everest in May 2011.

The documents also revealed that the company’s shareholders in 2011 included hedge fund managers Paul Tudor Jones and Stanley Druckenmiller, and a trust connected to Christopher Hehmeyer, the current chairman of the National Futures Association, a US regulatory body. None of the shareholders could be reached for comment on Monday.

The revelations came a day after Intrade suspended all trading activity and froze its customer accounts. The company said in a notice on its site on Sunday that recently discovered “circumstances”, on which it did not elaborate, would be subject to an investigation and could uncover potential “financial irregularities”.

The discovery raises questions about the oversight of unregulated prediction markets and comes three months after the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued to stop the company from offering prediction contracts to Americans, who were the most active users of the site. Intrade did not refer to the CFTC case in its notice to customers on Sunday.

An Intrade official and Caulfield Dunne, the Dublin-based accountancy that performed the audit, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The financial accounts show payments made to Mr Delaney worth $1.4m in 2011 and $1.2m in 2010.

Brian Dunne, auditor at Caulfield Dunne, said in a written opinion on February 4 that proper books of account were not kept by Intrade for the year ended December 2011.

He noted the current directors of the company were only appointed in November 2012 and were not in a position to comment on the maintenance of the books prior to their appointment.

“The directors have also noted that they are aware of issues identified during the course of the audit with regard to significant financial irregularities in the internal accounts pertaining to previous years that had a material effect on the opening balances of the company at January 1 2011,” he said.

He added: “There was insufficient documentation regarding payments made into bank accounts in the name of the deceased former director and other third parties.”

The current directors say they have no knowledge to the background to these payments. They said the payments should be reflected in the profit and loss account as a prior year adjustment “until the matter has been fully resolved”. The financial accounts are signed by directors Imants Auzins and Ronald Bernstein.

The development comes almost exactly a year after the spread betting firm Worldspreads went into administration after telling regulators it could not repay £13m of client funds.

Worldspreads failed to segregate client money, instead mixing the funds with its own money, according to statements filed last year by Lindsay McNeile, the operator’s chairman. He said Worldspreads falsified its accounts to hide losses in the months leading up to its collapse.

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