Thursday, August 10, 2006

Trouble at Tradesports and at

Via Chris Masse, we find that the betting/prediction market Tradesports is applying formalistic rules to resolve a bet over North Korea in a way directly contrary to common sense. Tradesports offers all kinds of predictions that people can bet over (unfortunately, nothing on global warming that I know about). They offered a bet over whether North Korea would launch a missile prior to July 30 and refused to pay, because the bet terms said the launch had to be confirmed by the US Dept. of Defense, which has refused to comment on the launch. So even though everyone knows what happened, Tradesports refuses to pay, which is not going to help prediction markets go anywhere.

This isn't quite as bad, but there are also some problems at, a charity betting site where both bettors donate their money to Longbets, and Longbets eventually gives the money to a destination charity chosen by the bet winner. I have a bet there about global warming, somebody challenged me, and then never responded when I followed up multiple times to negotiate the bet. The same guy posted his own bet prediction about a forthcoming ice age, I challenged him, and heard nothing. I asked Longbets for help and heard nothing. The Discussion section of the website appears to be broken, and while predictions have been made, no bets have been agreed on since 2004. Longbets provides a great service through their site, in my opinion, but they need to put time in on maintenance by removing challegers and bettors who aren't willing to actually negotiate their bets.

My bet opponent, James W. Walter, appears to be an extremely rich 9/11 conspiracy theorist. You'd think he could afford to follow through on his betting if he's also offerring $1 million to anyone who can prove 9/11 wasn't a conspiracy (and exactly how do you prove that, anyway?).

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