Monday March 11,2013 : ONLINE PROP BETTING SITE CLOSES DOWN
InTrade cites possible "financial irregularities".
The Ireland-based online prediction betting company InTrade has abruptly shut down its website, citing financial irregularities which Irish law requires the directors to immediately address.
In a statement, the company advised bettors:
"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: email@example.com"
The closure comes only months after last November's announcement by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) that it had filed civil complaints against The Prediction Market Limited (Intrade) and Trade Exchange Network Limited (TEN), Irish companies based in Dublin, with offering commodity option contracts to U.S. customers for trading, as well as soliciting, accepting, and confirming the execution of orders from U.S. customers, all in violation of the CFTC’s ban on off-exchange options trading.
The complaint also accused InTrade of breaking an online gambling settlement.
The complaint alleged that the companies jointly operate an online “prediction market” trading website, through which customers buy or sell binary options which allow them to predict (“yes” or “no”) whether a specific future event will occur.
Industry observers noted that if Intrade cannot resolve its issues it means "…no more betting on election results or Oscar winners or anything fun. Back to boring old cards and horses."
Analysts wondering whether the US complaint would result in InTrade losing so much business it would have to shut down were balanced by others who saw the individual state moves toward legalised online gambling in the US as a positive development for the company.
However, the numbers don't lie, and according to at least one monitoring agency InTrade's unique visitor stats declined from 287,000 in November following the CFTC action to 67,000 in December 2012, and have since languished further.
The news is unlikely to help virtual currency provider Bitcoin, who's currency was accepted on InTrade.