[ExI] follow-up for online betting

spike at rainier66.com spike at rainier66.com
Mon Feb 17 17:41:36 UTC 2020



As an update to a previous comment I made a coupla weeks ago regarding online betting, I will offer the condensed version of that post.


Former ExI poster Robin Hanson invented an early version of online betting with play money in about the mid 90s, plenty of ExI-ers played it.  I was a shining star in that because of a math trick I discovered.  Robin predicted in about 1999 that real-money online ideas-futures betting would happen, and he owned a lot of YES stock for that.  The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act failed that year and Robin won that bet, being as he introduced the first online ideas-futures game for real money.  So Robin arranged to win his own bet.  He became a self-made play-money billioneh.  Then he went to work as an economics professor (for real money (“real” as in currency or legal tender (but not necessarily a lot of it (one usually does not get rich on a professor’s salary (although the job is said to have marvelous fringe benefits.))))))


We noticed back in the play-money days of the late 90s that political betting was very popular.  Eventually the online betting is focused almost entirely on that and generally will not deal in sports betting, which was the focus of anti-gambling legislation to start with.  Sports betting enables cheating.  But politics welcomes all cheating with open arms, so… political gambling is not only accepted, it is… noichad.  


US primary season, 32 candidates, most YES bets are in the single digits, people pick their faves, buy 1000 shares for say… fifty bucks, with the notion that should their favorite win in the first primary, they would send the 1000 bucks to that candidate for his or her remaining primary season.


The first primary was a week ago last Tuesday and it was a close tie between two guys whose names I do not recall, so let me nickname them Beavis and Butthead.  In this commentary a disclaimer is necessary if the commentator owns shares in either candidate.  I don’t, so I am a disinterested observer.  Rather I am in interested observer with no real-money at stake.  So I make the opposite of a disclaimer, which is logically a claimer: I have no money at stake.


OK then, it was so close between Beavis and Butthead that after 12 days… we still don’t know who won that, and the site on which I bet still hasn’t paid anyone on that bet.


This led me to speculate with enough confidence that I would be willing to bet that my online site will never pay on that bet.  I read their rules carefully and realized that it is worded such that they can delay payment indefinitely.  Result: they never pay that one at all.  Alternative: they take their own rules very literally and pay the very few shareholders of… candidate Bennett.  Reasoning: in the rules is found the comment {if this that an the other conditions exist, then}… the winner of the Iowa caucuses will be deemed to be the candidate with the first alphabetical last name…”


The first alphabetical last name of the 32 candidates is Bennett, who no one ever heard of outside of (and perhaps including some inside of) his immediate family.  Consequently few online betting people every bought any shares of Bennett, instead investing heavily in Beavis and Butthead shares.


My new prediction: they will never pay on either Beavis or Butthead, but might eventually dole out a paltry sum on Bennett shareholders.


This leads all the way back to the failed Gambling Prohibition Act, which ended up with the legal equivalent of the government will not stop online betting, but will do nothing if the online casino cheats or doesn’t pay.


Fun part: ordinarily the sum of the YES votes is 1 dollar.  Makes sense: if the sum of the YES votes drops below a dollar, one can buy a YES for every candidate, somebody wins, return 1 dollar, free money, ja?  Nein.  Part of the bet is that the online casino will pay.


Right after the first US caucus, the sum of Butthead and Beavis was slightly over a dollar.  We know one of those two has to win, ja?  Nein.  The sum of Beavis shares and Butthead shares was 95 cents yesterday, which is a way of expressing about a 5% chance the online casino will never pay (or will by Bennett holders.)


Ain’t this grand fun?





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