The Great Debate

The folly of making political prediction markets like Intrade illegal

By Eric Zitzewitz
November 27, 2012

On Monday the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) sued offshore prediction market operator Intrade, prompting it to close its doors to U.S. customers. This will likely kill Intrade in its current form. Non-U.S. customers appear sufficient to support contracts only on major political events, at least based on the modest offerings at Betfair (an exchange that does not accept Americans) and offshore bookmakers. We will likely lose real-money prediction markets on the wider range of subjects that Intrade offered (“Will the U.S. go to war with Iraq?”; “Will we find WMD in Iraq?”; “Will the deficit decline if Obama is elected?”). We will also lose a good platform for the development of new, even more interesting contracts.

The Trojan Horse of cost benefit analysis

January 3, 2012

By John Kemp
The writer is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own.

Speculators abandon oil for the moment

August 23, 2010

Bullishness about the short-term prospects for crude is evaporating among banks and hedge funds, as the market fails to sustain rallies above $80 and girds for widespread refinery shutdowns to work off bulging gasoline stocks.

Senate vote exposes Wall Street impotence

May 21, 2010

Wall Street’s diminished influence in Washington was made plain yesterday when the Senate voted to approve financial reform legislation by 59 votes to 39.

from Rolfe Winkler:

Go for it Gary

March 6, 2010

Gary Gensler -- regulator and, yes, Goldman alum -- has distinguished himself in Washington. As CFTC Chairman, he's fought to impose stricter rules on OTC derivatives and recently proposed rules that would cut the leverage currency traders are allowed to deploy from 100:1 to 10:1. Lest we all forget how dangerous leverage can be when traders misuse it, there's LTCM to serve as exhibit A. In a clear sign that Gensler is fighting the good fight, traders are screaming about the proposed rule. Fantastic.

from Commentaries:

CFTC prepares to recant speculators’ influence

July 29, 2009

johnkempcrop-- John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own --

Like Archbishop Thomas Cranmer before he was burned at the stake for heresy, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) seems about to make a dramatic recantation.