|The branch of the online gambling industry which is closely related to futures trading is steadily gaining momentum. Sites such as Irish Intrade are attracting more visitors, and significantly more press coverage as they offer a variety of betting options on topical issues, and prove to be something of a barometer of public opinion. Currently the big issue being hosted by this type of site is the US presidential campaign, but there are also sites offering options to punters on climactic events, gas prices and other political issues.|
These sites which are modelled on more traditional futures trading examples, offer prices on the outcome of events, with prices changing according to the number of people choosing to invest in a specific option. The sites seem to be classified as either a revolutionary new model of futures trading, or a different angle on online gambling. Either way they are becoming increasingly popular with people keen to both express their opinion on issues, whilst simultaneously hoping to earn some money with their predictions.
Launched in April by TradeSports. Intrade is a successful example of this new format, now boasts 40,000 traders on their site. Dean LeBaron who describes himself as an adventure capitalist as well as being an Intrade backer explains the appeal of the site: 'It's 24-7 trading. Somebody could say right away, I don't like that (Bush) scowl, or I think that mixup of Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden is significant, and I can get to it before the pundits.'
Some of the options offered on the site currently, alongside the afore mentioned Bush/Kerry battle, include putting in a bid on whether Osama Bin Laden will be captured by 31 December this year. Also available is trying to predict whether the Dow Jones industrial average will end the year at a minimum of 10,750, or whether the next hurricane to be named will hit Florida or any other state they choose to specify.