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Political betting site PredictIt to shut down after CFTC withdraws approval (predictit.org)
186 points by akelly 14 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 128 comments



This is a huge blow to political discourse. PredictIt has been operating since 2014 with the approval of the CFTC as the largest election betting platform in the US. Today they received notice from the CFTC instructing them to cease operations by February 15th without clear justification for the decision.

One year ago, YC backed betting market Kalshi launched with CFTC approval. They employ a former commissioner of the CFTC as Chief Regulatory Officer, and two weeks ago applied for CFTC approval to have election markets. And half a year ago, the popular unapproved blockchain betting market Polymarket was fined and shut down in the US by the CFTC.

Further reading:

https://twitter.com/NathanpmYoung/status/1555387422510264321

https://www.cftc.gov/csl/22-08/download

https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/the-passage-of-polymar...


In term of political discourse it is/was a good source to verify the validity of some of the more up voted stuff on HN. One top comment a few years ago predicted that the US would abolish election and be a monarchy by 2020. An other that there would be a full scale nuclear third world war in 2019. There were one saying that the US would enter a new civil war by 2021. In each case I checked betting sites to see if such views held enough popular support, but alas I could not find any to bet against.

If people who hold conspiracy theories put down money and lost, maybe that would do more to change how people think than any political debate ever could.


As far as I can tell from hanging out on Predictit for years, it's actually pretty shit at predicting things. That some event isn't something that you can gamble on, or that a particular outcome of an event isn't an option until five minutes before it actually happens, doesn't tell you anything.

> If people who hold conspiracy theories put down money and lost

If people who say that the government claim on X is true had to put money behind it, we'd see a massive wealth transfer from smirking status quo guys to little groups of conspiracy theorists. Half the time (like for example the missile strike on that family of saints as we left Afghanistan), the government line has been disproved before the press release even gets out; easy money.

edit: if anything, Predictit acts as a summary of current media coverage/sentiment.


If you spent time on predictit you would know the conspiracy people aren't rational and lose all their money. They bet in ways that reflect their disjointed understanding of the world.

Not understanding the odds of their bets in general, and getting wrecked on stupid, improbable maga bets about Hillary getting locked up.

Conspiracy people tend to be ultra partisan and believe things with no real evidence beyond they want these things to be true. That doesn't work when they start betting actual money.

There was tons of money to be made long after the 2020 election on whether or not trump would magically become president again.


Out of curiosity, how many "conspiracy people" do you have exposure to/hang out with?

I have made well over 10k betting against them in absurd bets where the odds of trump becoming president months after the election were estimated by them to be much higher than any rational person would think them to be.

I also spend a decent amount of time looking at qanon websites/forums/reading their insane chatter on twitter.

What do you think the odds of Biden being a body double clone are? Many of them think the odds of this are well over 50%.


> edit: if anything, Predictit acts as a summary of current media coverage/sentiment.

This is exactly it; you have some small percentage of people "putting their money where their mouth is" but most of it is people trying to second guess and game everyone else (you could reliably make money trading shares on the news cycle, for example).


Although it doesn't make sense to have prediction markets for truly catasclymic events -- anyone who believes nuclear war is imminent is gonna prefer to buy canned food over prediction market contracts.

Problem with your idea (which is conceptually valid) is that you can buy and sell on Predictit well before the closure of the "market/event". So many people who agreed with a politician or idea (that some event would happen) would still sell early (at 90c/1$) because they could use those funds in other markets.

Worse still - you have people who would pump & dump the market - pushing the contra position (Trump wins 2020) and post comments showing showing holdings supporting contra, and then dump after it gains a significant share. I've heard of some predictit users doing this same operation 5x or more on a single market (an iconic example: Iowa Dem Primary 2020).

So it's all speculation.


Not sure this is good veracity of truth. Most people also predicted Hillary Clinton would win. Given the nature of over/under there is incentives to bet on the incorrect side knowingly

Do you have a source on Kalshi applying to list election contracts?

In general, I agree, looks like regulatory capture by Kalshi.



I also have strong suspicions this is related to Kalshi somehow

Betting on PredictIt has been a side-hobby of mine for the last 5 years, in which time I turned my fun $10 deposit into (just) over $1000. For me, it's a satisfying way of interacting with the news, motivating clear-headedness and accuracy over simplicity and filter bubbles.

The talk about "rational markets" in this thread is well-meaning, but I think it could better targeted toward BetFair and other uncapped foreign markets. PredictIt has a cap of $850 from any individual in any market, which means almost no market is dominated by "sharps" exploiting differences between prices and reality. Sure, PredictIt's prices are often more accurate than the average person's guess, but they still exhibit a lot of small and predictable biases:

- "Yes" positions are more popular

- Pro-Republican positions are more popular

- Cheap, improbable positions are more popular

- Positions confirming simple ideas are more popular

- Positions traders wish were true are more popular

- Things being discussed on the news are treated as more contentious than they are

Ultimately, almost all of my 100x growth just boiled down to finding these biases and maximizing my expected log(return) with them in mind.

I do believe PredictIt was good for discourse. Though it may have ultimately affected a small number of views, the "put-up-or-shut-up" mentality is much closer to the scientific method than media and its tendency to navel-gaze. The domain of PredictIt markets was small, but I often imagine a world which creates this kind of ecosystem for a broader array of scientific fields.

For me, though, this is the end of the line. The 2020 races (with Georgia runoffs) risk being unresolved by the 2/15 deadline, and it's impossible to predict what PredictIt will do then, much less if markets will properly price that in. It's been a fun run, and I'm glad it lasted as long as it did.


The fees that PredictIt charges also make the market highly mispriced. E.g. you can't arbitrage two markets on PredictIt because PredictIt will take a cut of any profits you make in a particular market, without deducting any losses in other markets.

This is true about arbitraging between markets on PredictIt, but I do think the impact of fees on market prices (and on ability to make money on PredictIt) was usually overstated.

PredictIt has two fees: A 10% fee on winnings, and a 5% fee on withdrawals.

The 10% fee on winnings is only on winnings. So when buying a share for 90¢, your $1 won will earn 99¢ and pay 1¢ in fees.

This means in a market with multiple candidates, betting "No" on all of N candidates will always earn you $(N - 1) without fees. That's is a winning bet iff all the "No" shares add up to $(N - 1.1111). In practice, the bias toward "Yes" shares alone is strong enough that buying all "No" shares, even at current asking prices, usually cost between $1.07 and $1.10 less than $N.

So, if you're only buying "No" shares in markets with multiple outcomes, the prices are set close to a point that entirely negates that 10% fee.

And of course the 5% fee on withdrawals is only on withdrawals. If you send the money straight back into another trade over and over, the fee is diluted enough to be irrelevant to any individual trading decisions.


I don't understand where N-1.1111 comes from. Isn't it enough for all the shares to add up to less than N-1 for there to be a profitable bet?

If all no shares add up to S < N-1, then gross winnings will be N-1-S > 0, which when multiplied by 0.9 to get net winnings will still be positive.


From the fees. 90% of a $1.1111 profit is $1.

Notably, you don't need to post $N to make this bet. PredictIt calculates your worst case scenario and holds only that money. A set of "No" shares worth N-1.12, if it existed, would be literally free to hold. Fees are included in that calculation, but also fees are based on the difference between that cost to hold and the return. So yes, profits mean different things in different parts of that calculation in this degenerate case.

A full set of Nos worth N-1 would be a guaranteed loss of $0.10 per share from fees. PredictIt would hold that 10¢ and you would never see it again.


Same, though I went $30 to $180 or some such shit and I didn't keep playing because it locks up the money. Concur with everything you're saying. On PredictIt the black swan was over-weighted.

You can take the suckers' money, but you end up still being a sucker because your money is locked up.

What I find amusing is that they have some Plaid-type integration for deposits but withdrawal still needs this routing number / account number shit.


Deposits are likely more subject to KYC and things like being able to verify that the bank account exists - I imagine, atleast at the surface this might be why you see this

Interesting. I always assumed that republican positions were favored because liberals were hedging their anxieties.

I know many people strongly believe in rational market theories. For these people this sort of betting site isn't just a betting site: it is the mechanism by which they engage in understanding politics and their primary means of political discourse. Beyond that, it is also an incentive for their own political engagement. They have several mathematical models that are strongly suggestive that they are right to have this belief.

From that framing the government should have no authority whatsoever to take action against PredictIt: doing so is a gross violation of natural rights. To me this seems like an error comparable to restricting freedom of religion, detaining someone so as to prevent them from voting, or the burning of an intellectuals book and the jailing of them so as to prevent the spread of their ideas. It seems an abomination.

What is the justification? Just that there was gambling or is there a deeper fundamental problem that I am missing? Gambling to me seems more fundamental to reality than breathing. Everyone engages in it all the time, but we just don't call it that when we think it might be a gambling category which is of benefit to society.

If there is no justification - what paths can be pursued to permanently sunder the governments ability to take this sort of action in the future? I say all this with no sense of judgement for the CFTC; clearly this is within their mandate under reasonable interpretations. Rather, I think other mandates - more important ones - supersede theirs and should be restricting their authority.


While I am a fan of prediction markets, I understood the main argument against them is that they create perverse incentives for people to engage in extreme acts to profit from the outcomes.

I wanted to create markets for things like individual airline flight delay insurance, and a futures market for airline tickets, but all of these are regulated as futures with the same barriers to entry that protect stock exchanges, and there are some rules in insurance about not being able to take out insurance on someone elses' property for related reasons. It's a moral hazard. Betting on politics appears to be framed in similar terms, but the counter arguments would be interesting as well.

I gave up on prediction markets years ago, but if there were a darkweb prediction market for smart contract cryptocurrencies, that would be the most subversively interesting thing to become real in a while.


"they create perverse incentives for people to engage in extreme acts to profit from the outcomes"

So does the very existence of the media, which will amplify any sufficiently gross act of violence to the global auditorium that would otherwise never hear of it, rewarding the culprit with their 15 minutes of fame and possibly inspiring others to do the same.

That isn't a reason to censor journalists, though.


> I understood the main argument against them is that they create perverse incentives for people to engage in extreme acts to profit from the outcomes.

Is that the line of reasoning CFTC is using though?

> if there were a darkweb prediction market

I think this is Polymarket / Gnosis right? Or are you looking for something more obfuscated?


> if there were a darkweb prediction market for smart contract cryptocurrencies

Assuming you mean "using" instead of "for", isn't this Augur? (That said, I haven't used Augur personally; maybe it sucks.) Building prediction markets is one of the more common and older projects for crypto.


There is/was a decentralized prediction market called Augur, on the Ethereum blockchain. I had a lot of fun with it in the v1 days, but after it was replaced to v2 I stopped using it, and I'm pretty sure everyone else did, too.

I am using the prediction market Futuur, I advise a lot, serious company, several markets on the most diverse topics, I'm making easy money there monthly!

Why?

> darkweb prediction market

Dammit, I had forgotten about the whole "hire a hitman while pretending to just make predictions" thing. It probably isn't just a spooky theory anymore :/


You spent a lot of time writing that post and raising questions, but all of the answers are within two clicks of the article.

PredictIt linked to CFTC and CFTC explains their original act and their justification for the withdrawal in extensive detail in documents linked from there.

If you’re actually curious and not just trading outrage for upvotes (I assume not), I’d love to see how your impression evolves in light of the actual facts available to you.


I did read that, but it doesn't address my questions. Actually, it doesn't even begin to answer them.

On one level - you don't even seem to have recognized what I was asking about. I wasn't asking about the justification for this particular decision: you'll note I explicitly mention that this is in the mandate for the organization. So any reading that thinks I'm talking about that is actually just a misreading of my point.

I'm asking if it even make sense to allow the government to prevent discussion of political issues using a mechanism which has some basis in being mathematically rational? It really doesn't seem obvious to me that the government ought to have the power to do so. I'm not asking for the justification for this decision. I'm asking if there is a justification for political oppression of the mathematically minded more generally.

That said - even under the framing that the letter answers the misunderstanding of what I was asking about - I still don't find it to have done so.

The letter is vague with respect to which particular issue they were breaking; it listed the things not which of the things they contested were not the case. The extent to which it is vague is such that even on the linked page PredictIt contends it still has not broken the commitments.

This isn't the extremely specified justification you seem to think it is - at least not to someone who isn't extensively familiar with PredictIt; and apparently given PredictIt didn't acknowledge that it felt it was out of line - it isn't even something that someone with extensive familiarity can easily spot.


Even in the linked PDF (https://www.cftc.gov/csl/22-08/download) I could only find a claim that "The University has not operated its market in compliance with the terms of Letter 14-130" without specifics. Did you find more anywhere?

You could make the same argument about any market. And there is a self-consistent libertarian position that no voluntary economic transactions at all should be limited for this reason. But if you accept any form of regulation, the same arguments apply for regulating any market: historically, many markets have been set up with unfair rules that cheat participants because there is a information imbalance between organizers and participants. The CFTC proactively sets standards of fair play and disclosure to address that gap.

Their letter suggests that they were specifically withdrawing the right of predictt to operate without registration. It seems like the discussion can be advanced by registering.


Thanks. This answer helped me get more clarity.

Gambling is illegal for the same reasons drugs are illegal - the exploitative and addictive nature of it. Unfortunately the populace needs to be protected from itself. One need only look at the gambling addicts in New Orleans to see how unhinged other cities could get.

Vegas and Reno are whole ass cities and they seem just fine. What's your beef with New Orleans?

The reason we have freedom of religion is because when we don't, we get things like holy wars, massacres, and genocides.

It's not because it's some kind of privileged form of understanding the universe. You need to do a lot more work to have your hobby horse hitched to the protections and privileges it receives.


The government has no problem with gambling or lotteries. They only have a problem when their percentage of the action isn’t big enough.

An alternative theory is that this market was providing information that the current regime is looking to suppress: actual popularity of candidates, policies, etc.

Any speech that violates the official narrative is deemed wrongthink and seems to be fair game for law enforcement/regulators.


> An alternative theory is that this market was providing information that the current regime is looking to suppress: actual popularity of candidates, policies, etc.

I don't mean to suggest that this is the intent.

I'm saying it seems to me that something worse than that is the fundamental consequence of the decision. Banning the mathematically rational discussion of politics is actually a bit more extreme than say murdering and burning the books of intellectuals; in terms of attacking truth it does so on a more fundamental level, it is like banning the use of addition as a method of counting - an attack on the very process by which things are known, not just a person. You aren't just murdering one person - this kills an entire category of rational agent; it isn't a ban on knowing a particular fact that is inconvenient. It disallows the seeking in a much more general way.

To try and maybe get across the nature of the violation: this seems to me about as bad as the government declaring that the scientific method was no longer allowed to be used or that people were no longer allowed to have faith. For sure methods of arriving at the truth can be very dangerous, but I don't think it follows from that that the government ought to be allowed to prevent their use for that purpose.

So I'm wondering what I'm missing - or whether there is actually an overstep of authority that ought to be reigned in.


> Any speech that violates the official narrative is deemed wrongthink and seems to be fair game for law enforcement/regulators.

I see enough "democrats in disarray" or shitting on the Biden admin (maybe both justifiably! That's irrelevant for this post) from allegedly left-leaning outlets that this seems incredibly unlikely to be true. If it is, they're entirely failing at it. Or have for some reason decided to focus only on minor players while major players, with 100+x the audience (ask around in the real world and see how many people have even heard of PredictIt), carry on as usual.


"For these people this sort of betting site isn't just a betting site"

just because you choose to assign it some other emotional value doesn't change that the core purpose is illegal

"i'm not burgling, this is how i engage in understanding economics and the primary means of discourse, and the government should have no authority to take action against me"


>just because you choose to assign it some other emotional value doesn't change that the core purpose is illegal

The bigger question here is, why is it illegal? Most rational adults understand that the arbitrary decision to ban adults from "gambling" their own money in certain ways, while promoting gambling in other ways is absolutely ridiculous. Here in New York I can today bet on sports and horse racing from my phone or my computer. I am pilloried with ads to play lotto - perhaps the worst form of gambling with only a 50% return on investment in most games - by the state itself! But it is illegal for me to gamble on a skill-based game like poker or predict-it. It reeks of the authoritarian hypocrisy that is the defining feature of our government on every level.


Sadly I think in modern society we have shifted from having to justify why something should be illegal, and today for many the default assumption is that all activity should be illegal and one should need to justify the value, subjective "goodness", or utility of an activity, business, device, etc for it is be ruled "legal"

>by the state itself! But it is illegal for me to gamble on a skill-based game like poker or predict-it

I think you have hit on the root cause, poker and other games of skill is harder for the government to inject themselves into it, harder to control the odds and revenue (like lottery), etc.


>I think you have hit on the root cause, poker and other games of skill is harder for the government to inject themselves into it, harder to control the odds and revenue (like lottery), etc.

I don't think so. You can just grant a gaming license for a card room. In order to maintain the gaming license the establishment has to pay a yearly licensing fee to the government. That seems pretty straightforward.


they did, in fact, very clearly justify why this should be illegal.

I read the CFTC revocation letter, they do not justify anything unless you have a very loose definition of justify

their letter says "we had X exceptions, we say you failed" That is not justification, that is just accusation. Nothing in the 2 page note provides any actual justification.


> I read the CFTC revocation letter, they do not justify anything unless you have a very loose definition of justify

The CFTC letter says "we made an agreement eight years ago and you never honored it."

If you want the justification, read the original agreement, not the "you broke your promise, no more special privileges for you" notice.

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> their letter says "we had X exceptions, we say you failed" That is not justification

That's correct. You looked in the wrong place. Punishment for failing to honor an agreement is not, generally, where people explain the purpose of the agreement.

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> Nothing in the 2 page note provides any actual justification.

That's correct. You looked in the wrong place.


The original no-action letter offers no justification either, just a series of edicts by the regulators and a comparison to a previous small market.

They start from the assumption that their regulations are good, correct and need, they offer no justifications on why the limits or guidelines are imposed or why it should be regulated at all.

Nothing in any of the letters has anything resembling justification, at best the revocation letter is circular logic citing the no action letter but in neither is anything justified


> The original no-action letter offers no justification either,

This is also not the correct place to look.

The original no-action letter is after the discussion was had, and everyone was already on the same page, so of course that wouldn't be the place where they explained their premise.

Twice in a row you've looked in a place nobody would ever put it, and said "well it's not there, so I guess nobody ever explained it."

This conversation holds no value to me. If you choose to be unable to find this wholly documented thing, so be it.

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> Nothing in any of the letters has anything resembling justification

You've only looked in two places for an explanation, and they're both after the decision, where an explanation would never be.

Once this could be excused as a simple mistake, but you circled back around and did it again with a bright light already shone on the mistake.

Good luck to you.


> The bigger question here is, why is it illegal?

So to be clear, you're asking why unregulated online gambling is illegal?

Because that's something you can look up, you know.

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> Most rational adults

Rational adults are what an internet economist says when they don't want to deal with the real world.

It's like when a physicist says "assume a cuboid cow three feet on an edge."

No, I don't think that I will.

Your attempt to ignore the hundreds of years of law and sociology that underpin this well examined decision with a few fly by the seat guesses about "rational adults" are not actually very compelling.

I find that people on HN frequently fail to understand that the law is a carefully crafted work by tens of thousands of professionals over centuries, that they almost cannot actually upgrade with a hot take.

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> Here in New York I can today bet on sports and horse racing from my phone or my computer.

Hooray for you.

Maybe if you'd like to look into it, you could learn about the New York gambling regulations, and why they don't fit this institution, and why this institution went to the CFTC for an exception.

After that, maybe you can read the CFTC decision, where they said "we gave them a special exception if they followed some rules, and they didn't follow those rules."

When you're done with that, possibly you could explain to me how what you just said was in any way related to what's happening.

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> But it is illegal for me to gamble on a skill-based game like poker

Er, no, it's not. Also, poker is not skill based. You may be surprised to learn that the ordering of the deck is random.

Yes, I know people all over the HN thread are claiming that there's a legal decision based on whether it's skill or chance based in flight, that came down to "it's skill."

I look forward to you citing that decision, because it isn't real. I expect you to attempt to cite Jack Weinstein's 2012 Brooklyn decision. I expect you to cite the New York Times article claiming that a circuit judge found that poker was a game of skill, not chance.

Of course, the Times' coverage quality has been in decline for a very long time.

At the end of that article, you will notice that it says "but the judge put off the decision." You'll notice the article was never updated.

So then you look up the decision. And gee, what do you know? It says that poker is, as is obvious, a game of chance. So do statistical analyses: fewer than 10% of 4 player 5 card draw hands can be changed win-vs-lose by player behavior. Most hands, what you drew is generally whether you win or lose.

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> I am pilloried with ads to play lotto - perhaps the worst form of gambling

It's not gambling if it's not for money, friend.

The ads are playing an ugly game with definitions, and sooner or later they're going to get sued out of existence.

They sell you things that affect your win rates, but you don't actually pay to play, and so under the 1950s law which wasn't written with this in mind, technically it isn't gambling, because even though you can spend money, and even though you can win money, you didn't spend money for the chance to win money.

Their (legally false) argument is that it's like a chess tournament with a prize but no entry fee, which charges for food and refreshments. You can win money, they claim, without spending a dollar, and you only spend money for related enjoyment while you're there.

It's an absurd and false premise, but nobody has bothered to hunt them yet.

Now that Unity is merging with one of the worst malware offenders in the ad market, I kind of expect this to change.

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"Most rational adults understand that the arbitrary decision to ban adults from X in certain ways, while promoting X in other ways is absolutely ridiculous."

what you just said was "if someone else can commit crime, i should be able to too."

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> But it is illegal for me to gamble on a skill-based game like poker or predict-it.

let's just come back to this again.

much like poker is (obviously!) not a game of skill, neither is predict-it.

it's not clear to me what you think "game of skill" means under the law. it doesn't mean "a game that someone can be good at."

a game of skill, under the law, is a game where you have all the information and every choice made is fully under the control of one of the two players.

there was a 15 year stretch where people weren't sure if chess was a game of skill because you flip a coin to see who goes first, and chess has a significant first player advantage.

if a single coin flip before any choices are made means it's potentially not a game of skill, i don't see how you could possibly hold that predicting the future, or poker, are. it seems to me like you're just repeating the phrase because you've heard it, and you don't really know what it means.

one of the problems with attempting to argue the law without taking the time to learn the history is that it very frequently doesn't obey the rules that a casual observer might expect.

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> It reeks of the authoritarian hypocrisy that is the defining feature of our government on every level.

"it's authoritarian hypocrisy that i can't use an unregulated gambling website which failed for eight years to follow the agreement that it made with the government"

lol.


The number of logical fallacies at play are impressive, however I would like to address a couple of points

>>I find that people on HN frequently fail to understand that the law is a carefully crafted work by tens of thousands of professionals over centuries, that they almost cannot actually upgrade with a hot take.

Seems like you have a rather rose colored view, and fall into a Fallacy Of Expertise to believe that because the law was "crafted" over many years by "professionals" that is somehow makes it infallible, or correct, or anything other than what is is in reality.

Which in reality the law is a very flawed patchwork reactionary policies, regulations, rulings, and statutes all crafted by imperfect people many of which did not and do not have "the best interests" of the public in mind when they crafted them, instead have personal power, ego, or personal wealth at the center of their rational for invoking the regulation, ruling or statute into existence

I find it concerning that one would have such reverence for a clearly flawed, abusive, and often unethical institution such as "the law", there is nothing more unjust than the laws the come from "do-gooders" steeped false philanthropy attempting to tell us all what is best for us... What ever the noble origins (if there ever was any) in "the law" it has clearly been perverted by greed, ego, power, and false philanthropy

>"it's authoritarian hypocrisy that i can't use an unregulated gambling website which failed for eight years to follow the agreement that it made with the government"

It is authoritarian that one would need to seek permission from the government to run a website like PredictIT in the first place.


> The number of logical fallacies at play are impressive

Stephen Bond says it better than I can: https://laurencetennant.com/bonds/bdksucks.html

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> Seems like you have a rather rose colored view

Sorry, no, the law isn't my "view," it's just the law.

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> and fall into a Fallacy Of Expertise to believe that because the law was "crafted" over many years by "professionals" that is somehow makes it infallible

I didn't say anything like this. I'm not sure why you think I did.

What I actually said was "people with no legal education who didn't even look up the original design aren't likely to understand things well enough to improve it."

People with actual legal educations who understand the design, of course, can. We make improvements every day.

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> I find it concerning that one would have such reverence for a clearly flawed, abusive, and often unethical institution such as "the law"

I don't have any such reverence. You're criticizing things I never said and which do not correctly model my viewpoint.

I said "you guys didn't even read what this is about, why do you think you're improving it" and somehow from that you heard "the people who wrote this are perfect and flawless."

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> there is nothing more unjust than the laws the come from "do-gooders" steeped false philanthropy

(blinks)

What?

These laws don't come from philanthropy. They mostly come from punishing casinos for cheating people.

Nobody said anything about noble do-gooders or philanthropy.

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> It is authoritarian that one would need to seek permission from the government to run a website like PredictIT in the first place.

Well, no, that's ... that's just what government does, is make rules.


>Well, no, that's ... that's just what government does, is make rules.

This right here highlights the core of the issue, this is exactly whey authoritarians like yourself, and non-authoritarians like myself have a hard time communicating

You can not fathom why anyone would question government authority, and I can not fathom why anyone would not question government authority.

Saying "that's just what government does, is make rules. " is an authoritarian position as well

To non-authoritarians, government authority has limits, its ability to "make rules" is narrowly defined to a very very limited scope.

To non-authoritarians the law should be simply the collective organization of individual rights, and the law shall have no authority beyond that which the individual would otherwise have the authority, the government is to do only what the individual forces have a natural and lawful right to do.

To non-authoritarians any law, regulation, or purpose of government that creeps beyond that is unethical.

>>People with actual legal educations who understand the design, of course, can. We make improvements every day.

This presumes that the original design is desirable and something that should be preserved, it also presumes that there was an "original design" and that everyone that has meddled in the law since has taken the "original design" to heart and faithfully applied that to all future changes, both are provably and demonstrably false assumptions especially in the context of the US legal system which is been fundamentally altered from the original design to no longer have any real connection to that original design

>These laws don't come from philanthropy

Almost all regulatory agencies and the regulations they produce are done so under the premise of philanthropy. I fail to see how these regulations are any different.


He writes: "it's authoritarian hypocrisy that i can't use an unregulated gambling website which failed for eight years to follow the agreement that it made with the government".

You didn't write this, but he quotes around it. We know that he knows that you didn't write this. He quotes the text he paraphrases. So what follows is now his understanding of you.

I want to draw attention to one part of the text. He uses a lower-case "i" rather than an upper-case "I". This means that in his understanding he feels two things about you: 1. You are less than a full human. 2. You are too stupid to spell correctly. Both of these things are contradicted by your own writing. It is clearly visible that you tend to spell things correctly and that you have a sense of self. No one reasonable would contest these things. Which means John isn't being reasonable.

Is it any wonder then that in his next word, he laughs at his caricature of you? No amount of intellect on your part will be capable of persuading him. You are not an intellect to him. You are a thing to laugh at. He already distorts your points in order to allow himself the liberty of attacking his fantasy of your idiocy. Perchance lets say you make the wisest point possible. Something so beautiful that God himself would weep for the brilliance of it. All just men who see it would smile. Ballrooms of people who heard it would stand and clap. We have a good idea of how it is that John would respond to such insight. He would quote his version of you. Then he would laugh at the "it".


You seem to be mass replying to everything I've said

I would like to stop interacting with you, because you announced to a third party that I thought they were subhuman over a lower case letter, and won't stop telling me about your religion

Please stop canvassing me now


Your posts were killed when you talked to me because of your rudeness but no one told you why. I tell you why; you'll hate me for it, but I'll tell you why.

Let me be clear: I make my evaluation not on that single letter, but because of the totality of the post. Just look at your continual rhetorical flourishes:

> Because that's something you can look up, you know.

> Hooray for you.

> You may be surprised to learn that the ordering of the deck is random.

Do you actually think he is surprised? Do you think he is so dumb that he doesn't know that decks have a random ordering? If you don't - why are you acting like you think he is?

You have a tragic mix of great points and rhetorical appeal with the effect of denigrating your conversational partner. You might not actually be like that, but it is how you appear.

As your posts get longer, you seem to become more convinced these rhetorical flourishes are appropriate. That you end your posts with outright

> lol.

Predicated on misquotes - misunderstandings - of what the person you are talking to is saying seeming reasonable to you is a big part of why you are posting things that seem right to you only to have them die. That is also why you come across as authoritarian, because you completely mischaracterize the questions people ask and the points they make in order to laugh at them with the net impact that you make it seem like the political body itself has no right to discuss the way it is governed, not just the criminals, but even the people who will vote in the lawmakers.

It is probably a misreading to think you feel this way, but it is also a consequence of how you structured your arguments.

I'm sorry that when you misquoted someone in order to laugh at them that I focused on the letter i not being capitalized; how silly of me - of course it was a typo - you are now already telling people that you shall be amused at my mistake. My assumption that you would likely laugh at a point while mischaracterizing it seems to have missed the mark so badly as to be laughable to you.


You seem to be mass replying to everything I've said

I would like to stop interacting with you, because you announced to a third party that I thought they were subhuman over a lower case letter, and won't stop telling me about your religion

Please stop canvassing me now


> authoritarians like yourself

Oh jeez, man. If you've gotten to the point of accusing someone of being authoritarian because they said "I don't think the government's going to change the laws because you said you wanted something on social media," then I guess I just don't know what to tell you.

In my eyes, that's right up there with telling people they're fascist for supporting vaccines, or communist for wanting health care reform, or whatever. That just isn't what that word means, and making political insults over relatively mild statements kind of seems extremist and maybe a little confused. In my opinion, that's "it must be a rough life" territory.

I'm a member of the ACLU. I have a hard time understanding what would be more anti-authority, in an effective way, personally. The only reason I'm not calling this "the most confusing of mis-reads" is that the other person told you that I think you're sub-human because I didn't capitalize a single letter during a typo, which I will treasure for weeks, until I forget about it because it'll eventually stop being funny.

C'mon. It's really not "authoritarian" to say "I don't think that'll work."

I feel like all I really said was "the people in power don't change their rules over social media comments," and that what government does is make rules, which they do (most of them are called laws, regulations, or compacts, or treaties, or whatever. We should all probably still be able to sing that School House Rock song, no?)

.

> Almost all regulatory agencies and the regulations they produce are done so under the premise of philanthropy.

When I think of philanthropy, I think of people gifting resources, usually money, to one another, either to help in an emergency, to get their name put on a building, or to get tax credits by supporting the arts, or something like that.

When I think of regulatory agencies, I think of places like the Food and Drug Administration, the Nuclear Regulatory Agency, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Health, the Federal Communications Commission, and so on.

I grant you, some of them are philanthropic. The National Science Foundation, by example, or ARPA/DARPA, or the Farm Credit Administration. Maybe even the US Army Corps of Engineers.

But. Almost all? I don't feel like the National Transportation Safety Board is philanthropic, or the US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, or the Office of Personnel Management, or the National Labor Relations Board, or the FDIC, or the Maritime Commission, or the Department of Labor, or the Office of the Federal Register

By example, regulations.gov lists 43 partner agencies here. That's obviously far from all regulatory agencies - that wouldn't even be one in each state, and every state in the union has a Department of Mines - but still, it's a decent sampling of the big ones. https://www.regulations.gov/agencies

Obviously it's open to debate, but I would personally identify four of those as philanthropic (AID, CNCS, EIB, NSF) and six more as partly philanthropic (DOC, DOL, ED, HUD, SBA, USDA). Whereas our opinions might differ, I'm sure you might agree that my opinion of 10 of 43 wouldn't fit the phrasing "almost all," at least?


No one will read your tedious screed about the delicious taste of the hobnailed boot.

Nobody said anything about the flavor of boots.

I wonder if you realize the source of that phrase. That would be quite a remarkable reference if you made it on purpose.

A screed is a long discourse between two people - typically 20+ pages, whereas this was about a quarter of one - which is taken from a larger work. This isn't a screed, although people who learn from the Google robot-written definition might think that it is.

If you didn't read, it's not clear why you replied. Good day.


Theft isn't people coming together for the purpose of aligning incentives so as to share information with each other while remaining rational. This has far more in common with Truth than it does with Theft. First and foremost, because it was by agreement that they entered into the arrangement - none were forced. Second and also motivating it, because losses are taken in hope: that a better understanding of the underlying conditions is obtained by the whole of the community which is of benefit to even the losing participant.

> just because you choose to assign it some other emotional value doesn't change that the core purpose is illegal

The comment you're replying to is an argument that it should be legal. It's current status as illegal is not a counterargument.


> It's current status as illegal is not a counterargument.

It's like when vegans try to stop you in the grocery store for eating meat, which they say is murder.

It's actually not murder. That's just an emotional value they choose to assign, and I'm not going to jail for my hamburger.

They might tell me that "it's legal isn't a counterargument," but actually, it is.

The comment made claims that something that's illegal should be legal because some people using it understand things through it.

That doesn't really make sense to me. Pick any gross crime, then claim the criminal is using that crime to understand things. It's pretty easy to do this through burglary stories about assembling evidence, or vigilantism stories.

Should that suddenly be legal, due to their motivation? I don't think so, personally.

The law also doesn't.

Nobody looking at this situation has even started from first principles and said "why is unregulated gambling illegal?"

It's actually not very hard to answer that, and the rest falls neatly into place from there.


> They might tell me that "it's legal isn't a counterargument," but actually, it is.

The difference here is that this is a category argument, that is to say it's an argument about what is, whereas the argument about legality is about what should be. Arguments about what is vs arguments about what ought to be are very different things.

Additionally, murder generally has a component of crime associated with it, this is why other forms of killing that are government sanctioned also generally don't fall into this category (e.g. killing during war and government sanctioned executions are generally not murder). The legal status is a fairly decent argument that it belongs in a different category, unless you want to invoke natural law.

But, we should note, that the harvesting of meat is currently legal is a terrible counter argument to an argument that it should be illegal. The current legal status of something is immaterial to an argument about what it should be. If it were a good counter argument, we'd never be able to criminalize anything and we'd never be able to legalize anything that was currently illegal. This is, I suppose, fine if you consider every law to be timelessly perfect, and the system of laws to be complete and never need changing. However, I've never met anyone who believes such a thing.

> Should that suddenly be legal, due to their motivation? I don't think so, personally.

You find the argument, personally, unconvincing. That's fine, and a perfectly legitimate position to take. I also assume it's the majority position within society. But, it doesn't make current conditions relevant to a conversations about how they ought to be.


> The difference here is that this is a category argument

Yes, that is the nature of legality, and not actually a problem in any way.

Let's try to simplify this without hiding behind any half-correctly used thesaurus words, shall we?

1) It's illegal for a reason

2) Things don't stop being illegal just because someone wants them

.

> the harvesting of meat is currently legal is a terrible counter argument to an argument that it should be illegal

You seem to spend a lot of time presuming that someone needs a counterargument.

You haven't made a successful argument yet, and even if you did, it doesn't hold any kind of weight.

When someone explains to you why they aren't very interested in what you said, and your response is "that isn't a valid counter-argument," the net result is that they still won't be very interested in what you said, and the illegal thing remains illegal.

If you want to talk about category arguments, start here: why do you feel that commentary on social media is inherently deserving of weight, and at what point does your failure to garner interest take precedence over whatever your position may be?

.

> You find the argument, personally, unconvincing.

Literally all of society does. This gets discovered every day by someone who really, really wants to explain why the law shouldn't apply to them.

Tassles on the admiralty flag, and all of that.

.

> But, it doesn't make current conditions relevant to a conversations about how they ought to be.

I'm not sure why you believe your statements on your opinions of what "ought" to be should bear weight on what is nationally legal.


> You seem to spend a lot of time presuming that someone needs a counterargument.

Nope. I even said explicitly that just finding an argument unconvincing was enough.

> When someone explains to you why they aren't very interested in what you said, and your response is "that isn't a valid counter-argument," the net result is that they still won't be very interested in what you said, and the illegal thing remains illegal.

Ahh, I see the misunderstanding here. You think I want betting on political events to be legal. I don't particularly care that much about that issue. Though I do tend to lean towards legal by default (pretty sure this is standard liberal policy), you can have this one if you feel particularly strong about it. I want weird internet nerds (decent percentage on this site) to have higher quality arguments.

> why do you feel that commentary on social media is inherently deserving of weight

I don't. Arguing with people on the internet is an entertaining pass-time.

> I'm not sure why you believe your statements on your opinions of what "ought" to be should bear weight on what is nationally legal.

I haven't made any arguments about what should or should not be legal yet. Also the is/ought divide isn't a thing I'm inventing here, it's an old problem defined by Hume (convenience link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Is%E2%80%93ought_problem )


> Ahh, I see the misunderstanding here. You think

No.

.

> Arguing with people on the internet is an entertaining pass-time.

Not for me.


> Not for me.

Then why do it? Do you feel that commentary on social media has some sort of weight?


> Then why do it?

As you should have realized from the previous reply, that was me declining to interact with you further (politely) once I realized you were just having fun arguing, rather than having a good faith discussion.


> I realized you were just having fun arguing, rather than having a good faith discussion.

I object to this characterization. The discussion was entirely in good faith on my end, and it was about exactly what I discussed in my first post (the nature of the state of illegality of something as a counter argument against an argument for it becoming legal).

I also object to the idea that you can't have fun and be acting in good faith at the same time.

I think I must have said something that gave you the impression that the discussion I wanted to have was about something else (or possibly not said something that I should have). Would it be possible for you to tell me exactly what was/was not said on my end that would have helped in this matter? I would like to make sure misunderstandings don't happen again in the future.


Since he mentioned that he is done talking to you and you ask:

> Would it be possible for you to tell me exactly what was/was not said on my end that would have helped in this matter?

The issue is the word argument. You have the technical idea of it in mind or at least something colored by it; he chooses to misinterpret it more akin to anger and fighting. This is an active choice. He isn't doing this because you were being bad faith. He wants to close out the argument with the implication you are morally in error and so he can dismiss you with prejudice, but he wants to do with allowing himself to think himself polite regardless of whether or not that approach is polite. He is practicing self-deception.

You can see him make this choice elsewhere and often. As just one example, in another post he misinterprets the word philanthropy away from the intended understanding. Ironically, I posted something akin to this response explaining that he would do things like this and also claiming he would laugh at his conversational partner; he chose to be amused at me for finding him to be such a person, but explained in his reply that he would have found the person he was talking to amusing if not for me; then he proceeded to misunderstand the word.

The extent to which I anticipate him is largely lost on him or he would not be amused. I find him very predictable. I can see the inductive nature of his approach: if a person appears stupid or morally wrong, then it follows that they have lost the argument. Therefore argue in such a way as to show them stupid or morally wrong rather than to show the structure of his own arguments right. The strategy of picking the wrong meaning for someone's words falls out of this inductive approach.

To me it seems like he wields a sword whose hilt is a blade; he thinks the reason his posts go to dead is because others are attacking him, not understanding who delivers the cuts. If you don't want a misunderstanding the trick would be to have a point that doesn't make sense. That way he can stab it cleanly. Otherwise he'll cut himself on his hilt and then imply the blood on the ground is yours.

Being a hypocrite, he may reply to this saying I'm canvassing him or some similar nonsense; if he does, please note that you were discussing his argument with me and now I discuss his argument with you. If it is true, as he would like to imply, that to discuss the argument of someone else with another is not right, then he is not getting something onerous with my reply: merely what he does to others.


> The issue is the word argument. You have the technical idea of it in mind or at least something colored by it; he chooses to misinterpret it more akin to anger and fighting.

Hmm, I suppose that is possible, or at least I can see how that might cause a misunderstanding. I shall have to give my word choice a second though.

Thank you for the suggestion.


> I'm not sure why you believe your statements on your opinions of what "ought" to be should bear weight on what is nationally legal.

Do you not live in the US? I'm not sure why you would be confused about this. It seems like a silly thing to be confused by.

> Literally all of society does.

This is false.

> why do you feel that commentary on social media is inherently deserving of weight, and at what point does your failure to garner interest take precedence over whatever your position may be?

It was made by humans who have inherent worth which I take to be self-evident? And it did garner the interest I was hoping for - I got answers from kinder people than you who explained things to me in easily understood sentences that I found no flaw with. Ctrl+F "thank". Actually even the idea of garnering interest as the important thing seems kind of suspect to me. That small interaction got the least interest out of all that I've said - yet is the one I'm most glad to have made. I would not be greatly saddened if the only interaction I had was with that single post.


You seem to be mass replying to everything I've said

I would like to stop interacting with you, because you announced to a third party that I thought they were subhuman over a lower case letter, and won't stop telling me about your religion

Please stop canvassing me now


It isn't canvassing for me to engage with you in the sub-thread. Do not forget - originally you were talking to me. Now you might be thinking, well, that doesn't mean you should talk to me in another thread, but recall: You were so rude to me in other replies that your post was killed - I didn't do that, others felt you were that rude. I can't talk to you in the original context.

In other contexts - much like those who found you to be rude, I also found you to be rude to others and not just to me. I commented about it, but I commented about it knowing that if someone just tried to tell you that they were being rude you would find it to be a personal attack rather than a cause for reflection, because you took it that way when someone told you as much in the subthread where you had been talking to me. So instead of stating it generally, I was highly specific. I explained exactly why I found you to be rude rather than leaving you with a mystery as to why your posts keep dying.

If no one tells you why then you'll just end up getting banned eventually. I liked your points, when I moved past the surface of them to what I saw you trying to talk about. I engage with you, because you have a perspective that I find valuable. I am trying to set you up to not be banned by prompting awareness of how you come across.

If you still find me vexing - you've literally been talking with other people about my posts; that you think it inappropriate that I talk with others about your posts is hypocritical.


You seem to be mass replying to everything I've said

I would like to stop interacting with you, because you announced to a third party that I thought they were subhuman over a lower case letter, and won't stop telling me about your religion

Please stop canvassing me now


Appeal to grossness is fallacious. Describing a different situation and claiming it is the same while not having congruent properties is an abuse of abstraction. The substitution method for logically reasoning by analogy is only as strong as the similarity between the situations. This is why I consider the argument refuted when I show that there isn't alignment between Theft - a gross crime - and participation in a betting market, something that people enter into by mutual consent and with hope. The lack of congruence makes the argument fundamentally lacking in validity.

For more on why this I find this to be bad reasoning by analogy see things of this nature:

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/reasoning-analogy/#ForCri...

When the argument moves to the appeal to the law it is also fallacious, for there is not one law, but many. That law is different in different places: in this case in particular it is not the case that the law is universally against betting markets. There are places where it is legal. Moreover the law changes over time. Even in our locational context when you vary time you will find that there were periods in which betting markets were not illegal.

Even beyond that the law regularly allows nuance when it encounters interaction with political concerns: to kill for your country in war is legal, but to do the same outside that political contest is not. To enforce justice in the context of law enforcement is not legal except by those who are appointed. Yet to do so unappointed is not. In democracies since every person is appointed to be a part of the political body such that they vote to influence policies they all have a mandate that allows them to engage in politics - this supersedes the usual laws for much the same reason that a policeman because he has a mandate as a policeman has the right to do things that would be illegal for non-policeman to do.

I want to point out something that seems worthy of attention to me to hopefully reduce your confidence in the strength of the argument. When the argument you advanced says things like this:

> Nobody looking at this situation has even started from first principles and said "why is unregulated gambling illegal?"

The argument did not build up to them. It is not justifying them. They are non-sequiturs. It reads as if it thinks the reasoning is very strong and obviously correct such that it comes across as quite dismissive, but just because an argument contains a word like convincing doesn't mean the structure has the property of being convincing.

To stress how tortured the arguments analogy is - there are gross crimes for which it is legal on the basis that they are used to understand things. What is called homocide when it kills someone outside medical research and what is called the crime of animal cruelty when it is done outside medical research is not equivalent when it is done in the context of medical research.

Admittedly this is not an argument against regulation, but then - I never said it should be unregulated - I asked why we allow the oppression of political discussion in this circumstance.

That the argument includes things like "nobody looking at this situation has even started from first principles" and asked obvious questions does not convince me of the position that the argument asks me to take on. It convinces me that people ought to ask those questions instead of assuming the answers. Except - it doesn't truly do even that, because I consider the claim that no one has ever asked the obvious questions to be a false premise.


> Appeal to grossness is fallacious.

I've already said this once in this thread. Stephen Bond says it better than I can: https://laurencetennant.com/bonds/bdksucks.html


To try and help you understand by analogy, since you've shown you like them: I'm telling you that I find you to be comparing King Heart and Queen Heart to Two Spade and Three Clubs. I'm telling you that the analogy doesn't hold because the properties aren't the same. If you disagree that your analogy is sound you need to share more of your analogy construction so that I can see how you arrived at it. For example if you have the cards King Heart and Queen Heart you can reason by analogy about King Heart and Queen Heart when working with King Diamond and Queen Diamond because the transitional structure for outcomes is the same as you move between each suit. Or in the case of tic tac toe, if you rotate the board, you can argue that the transitional structure terminates in the same outcomes and so the board under the rotation is the same as the board not under rotation. What you are doing in your defense is like saying "KH and QH are the same as 2S and 3S because Elieizer Yudowsky once said that many people didn't think rationally." Perhaps he did, but that doesn't mean you are right and it certainty doesn't convince me you are right.

When you quoted someone else you replaced their words with words they did not say, but intentionally lower-cased an "I" as if to imply they were both stupid and also subhuman. I found this really disgusting. Why did you do that? And why did you laugh at them for words they didn't speak? I call this to your attention, because you in other places comment about how polite you are being. The level of politeness you have shown is not very high. I generally expect young children to exceed it and would be disappointed with them if they failed to do so.


You seem to be mass replying to everything I've said

I would like to stop interacting with you, because you announced to a third party that I thought they were subhuman over a lower case letter, and won't stop telling me about your religion

Please stop canvassing me now


From the official withdrawal letter [1]:

> [Victoria University] has not operated its market in compliance with the terms of [the 2014 letter granting no-action relief].

Nowhere does the CFTC state exactly what the alleged violations where, so we can only speculate. It certainly lends support to the hypothesis that the no-action withdrawal is regulatory capture by a competing prediction market.

[1]: (Forced PDF download) https://www.cftc.gov/csl/22-08/download


This headline is misleading. PredictIt was operating in reliance on a No Action Letter[1]. The CFTC has since withdrawn the No Action Letter. The CFTC _never_ granted “approval” and relying on a No Action Letter always involves the risk that the view of the staff/Commission will change.

[1]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No-action_letter


The gambling angle is straight up dumb, why are they framing it that way? Aggregating information (however true) provides a net benefit in any endeavor, and there has to be a financial incentive to do information arbitrage, that's the whole point, because people would not even worry about it.

The whole thing is that, the media now cannot say that elective x has a 65 approval rate (based on a survey of 6 coworkers) when on Predictit is at 10%.


"Get money out of politics"

also

"It is a shame that a financial incentive to manpiulate elections or to vote for a candidate for any reason except the voter's confidence in that candidate got banned"

I'm not saying I definitely want political bookies banned, but I don't immediately see how it is anything but a detriment to honest decision making in choosing how to respond to issues. Maybe I'll vote to take away some human rights if the election is close and I can make a few bucks?


Prediction markets have a built-in incentive for accuracy that's absent from broadcast news. It's useful to have an aggregate answer to things like "how likely is Russia to invade Ukraine" that is to some degree shielded from the normal filters of partisanship.

Or from another angle:

Changing your individual vote in an attempt to shift the outcome of an election is extraordinarily unlikely to actually make the difference, so prediction markets most likely punish people (with losses) who try to game it with their own votes. If you and a large group of people plan to do this, that will be priced into the market, preventing you from profiting very much.


I think these markets were a few orders of magnitude too small for the latter to happen.

They were definitely operating in an extreme legal grey area. Without a doubt it's straight up gambling. Yet they issue you a normal 1099 at the end of the year. It felt really weird having to claim a "political consulting" business on my taxes instead of just claiming it as gambling income with a W-2G. Not sure how they were ever legally able to operate in the US honestly.


> Without a doubt it's straight up gambling

Not “without a doubt”.

Gambling means a game of chance/luck. Court cases over poker, regardless of which way the decision goes, hinge on whether the Court is convinced that poker is a game of skill, rather than luck.

Predictit definitely did not want to issue W-2G, because that is for gambling income, and their position is of course that their platform is not an illegal gambling service.

I think that it’s pretty easy to argue that consistently winning money on a prediction market is a matter of skill. Just like consistently earning money on the stock market.

Of course, both can be used for gambling.

So if prediction markets are not allowed, why are day trading or stock futures allowed? A casual read of a few relevant subreddits will show that there are a lot of people “straight up gambling” with financial markets.

It’s a real shame that prediction markets aren’t allowed to operate in the US. Markets (of any sort) are incredibly useful.

Disallowing them because you can use them for gambling is throwing the baby out with the bath water.


Prediction markets for sports is reported on a W2-G, and skilled people can consistently make gains doing sports betting.

Stocks are different because they are assets. You get something for your money.


Prediction markets (i.e., cash-settled futures) for interest rates, FX rates, volatility, financial index values, etc., on the other hand, don’t require W2-Gs and are even tax advantaged.

In my country gambling is legal but regulated. And so you can, indeed, bet on political outcomes, subject to certain rules. Just go to a web site, prove you're eligible, deposit money, gamble.

Now, I don't gamble, but in December 2020 I was able to use that platform to "bet" that Donald Trump had lost the US presidential election he lost the previous month. I "won" a bunch of money. Because lunatics had decided facts aren't true, we can just make up whatever we want, and it took a few weeks for that to get knocked down and meanwhile you could just bet against these morons.

As to financial instruments: For a bunch of the instruments you are actually buying something, and these are clearly just fine. If you buy Oil futures or Pork futures that actually literally deliver oil (or pork) and you're holding them when they come due, you're getting oil (or pork). This is probably not what you wanted, but that's what those instruments do, the people who were supposed to be buying them want oil, or pork, and so they're happy, too bad for you.

I agree that some derivative instruments might just be gambling, these instruments are also too risky and poorly understood, so if you say we should ban those with gambling I don't see why not. Again, gambling is legal in my country, and so are these derivatives, but the Americans can choose different, as they have on many things.


> Now, I don't gamble, but in December 2020 I was able to use that platform to "bet" that Donald Trump had lost the US presidential election he lost the previous month. I "won" a bunch of money. Because lunatics had decided facts aren't true, we can just make up whatever we want, and it took a few weeks for that to get knocked down and meanwhile you could just bet against these morons.

Yep. Betting on politics in 2020 was as close to free money as you’ll ever see. On election night, the odds for Texas flipping blue were 70/30. Literally free money.


> Literally free money.

I'm pretty sure that's not what "literally" means :)


> Gambling means a game of chance/luck. Court cases over poker, regardless of which way the decision goes, hinge on whether the Court is convinced that poker is a game of skill, rather than luck.

I think it really just has to have an element of uncertainty. For example one can gamble on chess tournaments. I suppose one can broadly construe an element of "luck" if Magnus somehow botches a game, but it strikes me as something quite different from whether or not one's lottery numbers come up.

As you say, poker is the archetypical example of a skill game with an element of chance. Backgammon is another good example. I would say darts is another example that falls further on the skill end.

> So if prediction markets are not allowed, why are day trading or stock futures allowed?

As noted in another comment on this submission, it appears one can greatly increase the chances of regulators approving an activity by having former regulators on staff. Needless to say traditional finance companies enthusiastically hire those people.


I wonder if some sort of cryptocoin/blockchain alternative could be created, that would be harder to shut down.

It would probably have to be based on having an elected council (with an odd number of members) signing off on the outcome of a market. If people see a bias in their history (which of course should be public), they will factor that into their bids, hopefully discouraging people from getting on the council to make money on their own bids.

And of course the council should be elected with some kind of ranked-choice/condorcet so you tend to elect centrists rather than extremists.


Look up Polymarket

There are also no-money markets like Forecast and the traditional forecasting competitions like GJP and Metaculus


Augur and Kleros might be worth checking out. You can find other neat designs just by trawling arxiv.

Cool! It isn't surprising that someone thought of it before me!

Okay crypto people. For better or worse, here's your use case.


Less about crypto and more about decentralization and web3.

In hindsight, it was obvious.


PredictIt provides useful information to the world, positive externalities. Lotteries are a tax on the poor and innumerate and the governments run them.

> When DMO issued the letter on October 29, 2014, it took a no-action position with respect to the operation of a not-for-profit market for certain event contracts and the offering of such contracts to U.S. persons by Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand without registration as a designated contract market, foreign board of trade, or swap execution facility, and without registration of its operators.

> DMO has determined that Victoria University has not operated its market in compliance with the terms of the letter and as a result has withdrawn it.

https://www.cftc.gov/PressRoom/PressReleases/8567-22

For the "other side". They got a waiver to operate an unregistered securities market, as a non-profit University-based organization. They allegedly did not operate it as they said they would, so they are losing their waiver. If companies want to offer these services, they are entirely within their American rights to do so legally.


This has happened many times before. Why do governments close prediction markets? What sort of problems do they cause?


It may be beneficial to the government that the organized practice of epistemology remains solely with the (trustworthy) media and The (approved) Experts. The internet is enough of a problem as it is for interfering with citizen's perceptions of what is true.

Damn internet always making people think things.

This is terrible. I wish things would go in the opposite direction, with the CFTC allowing futures exchanges such as the CME to trade presidential party election futures.



Thanks for the shout out, didn't expect to see this here! It's hard to find a good data source - getting the lines is easy, but the grading part is hard (or really expensive). Any ideas?

I don't understand why they can't just make them trades based on future political actors. Feels like that's what the futures market is in general - risk betting.

Wow. I almost started working on a project 6 months ago based solely on the fact that PredictIt was able to get that no-action letter from the CFTC.

I'm mildly annoyed that I'll have to pay the 5%.

We need prediction markets. It is evil that government kills prediction market companies. Prediction markets are needed to OUT establishment politicians that are far worse that challengers. (For both sides of the partisan spectrum) It is evil that government kills prediction market companies.

Seems to me they've got things branded incorrectly. Don't make a prediction market. Make a PasteIt.

Think about it, you're trying to get people to process and offer up unknown information, right? Focus on that.

It's bounties for verifiable information. Not predicting, or a game of chance. You pay for information to be brought up that you would never have thought to look for.

If you do it that way, you're completely sidestepping the issue of providing a gambling primitive. You're just incentivizing data collection and dumping. The outcome becomes secondary, the context generated maintains primacy, and I wager what markets are really interested in is looking at highly accurate predictors and trying to infer what channels of information they're privy to in order to expand data observation pipelines.

Unless these "prediction markets" really are just some high brow word for gambling parlors. Then again, I always figured that was all futures and derivatives trading were, yet there is a staunch refusal to classify them as such.


In an anonymous pastebin, there is no incentive for you to provide info that is accurate and complete. Prediction markets give you an incentive to find the right answer.


Doesn't have to be anonymous... Did I unintentionally stumble on a name that implied that?

Non-anonymous makes you even less likely to get true insider info.



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