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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

The CalPundit Gets Results!

Ignore this me-too NY Times story. They're a day late for the futures market in terror.

UPDATE: Whoa, a linkfest at the InstaPundit. We also find Jane Galt and the VodkaPundit offering their thoughts.

I believe I can pitch two cents into the mix. Several folks mentioned the Iowa Electronic Markets. Please, that is sooo yesterday. The action is at TradeSports.

As a gambling man, I will bet that Trades Sports initially emphasized sports betting. However, they currently offer a wide range of "propositions". Obvious ones are the Democratic Presidential nominee race, and the 2004 Presidential election. However, they also offer contracts on upcoming Supreme Court vacancies, Gray Davis Ascendant, European elections, and, my current fave, the Kobe Bryant legal situation. Right now, punters figure Mr. Bryant has a 65% chance of going to trial, and an 18% chance of being found guilty by jury (plea bargain pays zero).

And, for the benefit of the folks at DARPA, there are contracts on Finding Saddam, Finding WMDs in Iraq, and Finding Osama. You can also bet on the Homeland Security Threat level for different dates. If enough "insiders" (intelligence officials and terrorists, for eample) are participating in these markets, then prices should reflect significant non-public information. Otherwise, prices should represent the cash-weighted consensus of the great unwashed, and are an interesting measure of informed public speculation. And yes, market participants may just be a bunch of sports junkies and bored bond traders watching the wire services, in which case, profit opportunities may abound!

The site is easy to navigate, and they have fairly straightforward explanations where necessary. Full disclosure - not only am I not a shareholder, I haven't even opened an account. Yet.

TradeSports has been mentioned recently in the New Yorker, and the NY Times (sorry, lost to their archive), but caveat emptor.

ANOTHER UPDATE: We deliver mock and awe to the NY Times.

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