Date: Thu, 29 Aug 1996 11:09:34 -0600
Subject: Re: A _REALLY_ Interesting Bet 
Jim Gillogly <jim@ACM.ORG> wrote:
>Idea Futures is dead, and the torch has passed to Foresight Exchange (FX),
>which is at http://www.ideosphere.com/ideosphere/ . You can bet on a number
>of political issues (US and other), though not (yet) for real money.
IMO, a good cypherpunk goal would be to get that "yet" in, with Chaum's
Digicash, before the election. Perhaps Mr. Cate has some ideas in this
regard...;) When talking to lawyers one finds the justification for the
prohibition to be something like, "it would demean the process." IMNSHO,
the nest has already been soiled, and the only effect would be to kill
the unwanted phonecalls around suppertime, as I said before. The media
would eventually flock to the more-accurate poll, even if it involved
the dreaded crass freemarket capitalism of people willingly gambling.
>This doesn't track the polls, which typically ask who the potential voter
>would vote for rather than who they think will win the election.
Indeed. Also, a prominent candidate (this time) told devotees (last time)
to give wrong answers to pollsters when called. While it's still possible,
this behavior is much less likely with real money (though with his kinda
dough, distortions would be possible for him -- & profitable for others).
>Percentage of popular vote to Dem candidate: 47
>" " Rep " : 44
>" " Other " : 12
>Note that there may be an opportunity for arbitrage when numbers don't add
>up to 100;
Last time there was supposedly an arbitrage opportunity between odds in
Moscow and those in London [Now THAT'S my kind of bet;) -- I can't lose]
according to a W$J article on the subject from years ago. 20 minutes on
Alta Vista this morning reveals nothing like this available, Ladbroke's
links are hardly there, and I don't know the names of any other bookies
in London, or any at all in Moscow. The closest thing was a (braindead)
"George" magazine article and a few sites lamenting the lack of possible
Presidential gambling. AV didn't even reveal the confusing US university
site where some gambling is (or was) going on. Perhaps English c-punks
can help us on the odds for all candidates, including the longshots. I
think publicity from freeing up this information might be more favorable
than publicity about things like porn or Assasination Politics, and the
process of setting up a site that reveals the odds in semi-realtime from
London/Moscow should not be too difficult, especially if actual gambling
is not conducted on the site.