The popular however inevitably controversial online betting site InTrade shut down abruptly on Sunday, citing an ongoing investigation and casting skepticism on Irish law in a vaguely worded statement. "With sincere regret we must inform you that due to circumstances recently discovered we must immediately cease trading activity on www.intrade.com," the statement says, detailing that all trading on the site must cease, accounts must be settled and all transactions stopped immediately. There's nothing in the statement that boldly says InTrade is gone for good, and the company ends the statement on an almost optimistic note, asking customers to "bear with us as we do all we can to resume operations as promptly as possible." If they can't figure it out, that means no more betting on election results or Oscar winners or anything fun. Back to boring old cards and horses.
Now, the InTrade shutdown was abrupt but not altogether surprising. The Dublin-based company's been in United States regulators' sights for ages, and last November, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued InTrade for running an informal exchange and accused it of breaking an online gambling settlement. This also meant that InTrade would have to cease its U.S. operations prompted pundits to start wondering when the whole house would come crashing down. But then, just over a week ago, those same pundits started wondering if the new wave of states legalizing online gambling could bring InTrade back to the fun, legal center of things. While nothing is final or really even clear at this point, things aren't looking great for InTrade right now. They are however looking pretty good for Archbishop Angelo Scola, an Italian cardinal favored to succeed Benedict XVI. At least, according to InTrade's numbers they are.
Full Statement from InTrade
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.
During the upcoming weeks, we will investigate these circumstances further and determine the necessary course of action.
To mitigate any further risk to members’ accounts, we have closed and settled all open contracts at fair market value as of the close of business on March 10, 2013, in accordance with the Terms and Conditions of our customers’ use of the website. You may view your account details and settled account balances by logging into the website.
At this time and until further notice, it is not possible to make any payments to members in accordance with their settled account balance until the investigations have concluded.
The Company will continue the maintenance and technology operations of the exchange system so that all information is preserved properly.
We are not able to provide telephone support or live help services at this time, please contact the company by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We appreciate your custom and support over the years. We are committed to reporting faithfully the status of things as they are clarified and hope you will bear with us as we do all we can to resume operations as promptly as possible.
The Board of Directors of Intrade the Prediction Market Limited