InTrade, the popular and controversial online betting site based in Ireland, has shut down abruptly and indefinitely.
Intrade offered a unique form of online gambling. Intrade’s platform provided a non-sports prediction market that allows individuals to take positions (trade “contracts”) on whether future events will or will not occur — i.e., which political candidate would win a specific election, who will become the next pope, or what actor or actress would win an Oscar for a particular category, and so on.
In a memo posted today on the InTrade website, the company explained in part:
“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.”
The InTrade shut down announcement added that “During the upcoming weeks, we will investigate these circumstances further and determine the necessary course of action.”
Unfortunately for active customers on InTrade, accounts appear to be frozen: The firm is not allowing any traders to withdraw any of their cash until further notice.
InTrade got a lot of buzz — and had its share of detractors — in the media especially over the course of the 2012 presidential election, but it was also controversial because “not just for the fact that it let users trade on real events, but for how its odds were interpreted by the press, and whether or not the ‘prediction markets’ it specialized in actually had predictive ability.”
Last November, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued InTrade for allegedly allowing U.S. customers to trade on the future prices of commodities such as gold and crude oil in apparent violation of a 2005 agreement not to offer trades in those categories.
The InTrade announcement that it is shutting down ends with a statement that it hopes to resume operations as promptly as possible.
Have you ever made any online bets through InTrade?