Online betting site Intrade abruptly closes

The site allowed users to bet on just about anything, but saw its traffic take a steep plunge after US regulators stepped in.

By Kim Peterson Mar 12, 2013 3:58PM
Image: Crystal ball (Randy Allbritton/Getty Images)Don't bet on Intrade making a comeback. The online prediction betting site that pegged the odds for everything from presidential candidates to Oscar nominees has mysteriously shut down.

The site, based in Ireland, suddenly stopped all trading activity this week, and posted a notice for customers that suggested "financial irregularities" were to blame. The site closed all open contracts their fair market value on Sunday.

Some of the problems may relate to $2.6 million in insufficiently documented payments to its founder, The Financial Times reports. The founder, John Delaney, died while attempting to climb Mount Everest in 2011.

Intrade was already running into legal trouble. Last year, the site shut its doors to users in the United States after receiving a civil complaint from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Regulators said that U.S. Intrade users were betting real money on options contracts that predicted which way gold, oil and other commodities would turn. It's illegal for people to trade commodity options unless they are listed on a real exchange registered with the commission.

Pulling U.S. users away from Intrade was disastrous for the site. Traffic fell 77% from 287,000 visitors in November to 67,000 one month later, The Times reports. That raised questions about Intrade's effectiveness as a prediction site.

Intrade became a hot topic last year, as presidential election watchers checked in to see how people were betting. The site was accurate in picking Barack Obama as the winner. But customers could place bets on just about anything.

More on moneyNOW


13Comments
Mar 12, 2013 6:23PM
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Only people registered can bet on futures.  Naturally, if they allowed everyone to do it, there would be no need for Wall Street-  not a bad idea.
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I wouldn't bet one penny with an on-line betting company.  I don't trust anything on-line, unless it's a well established business that just has on-line purchasing as an added attraction.  If a company doesn't have an address you can go to, stay away from it.
Mar 12, 2013 5:31PM
Mar 12, 2013 7:23PM
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Another thing--- Poker Stars was the most Legit gambling site ever. No 2 people could play from the same IP address until a thorough investigation was made by the administration of Poker Stars. Like hubby and wife in the same household , deposit/withdrwals made etc.etc.
WHAT IS SCARY ABOUT ON-LINE GAMBING IS THE USA CLOSING DOWN THE SITE AND STEALING OUR MONEY.
Mar 12, 2013 7:13PM
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  Patrick (pirwin)    how can college kids  or anyone see your cards online without your IP etc.?? but several players can join the same game and collaborate.  I've even seen the regulars at the Casinos do that in several occasions  So Patrick the Casino business isn't 100% legit either.
Mar 12, 2013 7:54PM
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Online betting is for idiots. Even if bets aren't accepted from the same IP address, there are numerous, easy ways to communicate with others who have a different IP address. If you want to make a fortune in online betting, start your on online betting company. I guarantee you'll be the winner.
Mar 14, 2013 3:48AM
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It nailed the election. I don't think it ever had Romney ahead of Obama.
Mar 12, 2013 11:57PM
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In all fairness, someone (other than insiders) has to win for it to be considered legitimate. That said, it is fair to say that even if it was an honest betting site, it would never be good enough just because it didn't sit right with many governments.  Although we let our politicians rule and rob us every day, there is not enough backlash to keep from the bullying.  Now then, who is playing fair?
Mar 12, 2013 8:39PM
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online poker is illegal and all the sites out of canada are a scam. it sucks because i love this game. u will lose unless u are working for the site. they have no rules and what happens on the sites is torture and we will call it canadian holdem. nevada is starting some real sites soon hopefully  texas holdem may be back soon
Mar 12, 2013 5:42PM
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On -line poker. The risk of having a few frat-boy chimps watching your cards, and betting,raising, and folding accordingly. All in the same room, and sharing the munchies as they fleece you. You have NO oversight, NO recourse, and No certainty of having a fair deal at all. If you cant/ wont go to a legitimate casino, you NEED to get hosed. Life's  harshest lesson learned.  Yes, I've been in casino business, for over 25 years, and cheating is handled very severely. In a home game, or online action, I've not hears too many impressive stories of  supervision or law enforcement ( enFARCEment?). It's your money. FOR A LITTLE WHILE, ANYWAY.   
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