PredictIt Betting Exchange Biggest Loser During Election Night, Bettors Furious
Posted on: November 4, 2020, 01:23h.
Last updated on: November 5, 2020, 11:16h.
PredictIt crashed during what should have been its busiest night in the platform’s history. The company is the lone legal betting exchange in the United States
Americans are prohibited from legally betting on political outcomes. No state — not even Nevada and Las Vegas — has permitted its sports betting operators to offer odds on politics.
PredictIt, however, operates legally in the US by way of its “no-action” relief letter issued from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The CFTC is an independent agency of the federal government that regulates the derivative markets.
With a record turnout, along with record mail-in voting, election night was a historic rollercoaster ride of emotions. It appeared early in the night that President Donald Trump was on his way for another four years in the White House. That changed later, as more votes came in favor of Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
Betting activity was fervent. But for PredictIt, it resulted in the betting exchange going offline for hours.
Political bettors on the PredictIt exchange were enraged when they went to buy or sell shares of the 2020 outcome and found the site inaccessible.
“PredictIt staff are working diligently to repair an issue and bring service back as soon as possible,” PredictIt tweeted around 8:30 pm ET on election night. “We appreciate your patience and understanding.”
The site was completely down for more than four hours. And it’s down again today.
You’ve had four years to prepare for this day. Four whole years. It the single most important and most profitable single day of business in your whole year, yet you guys still managed to screw this up,” tweeted PredictIt bettor Greg Ledet. “Fire every single member of your network or cloud staff that let this happen.”
Casino.org reached out to PredictIt, but the site has not responded. Casino.org has repeatedly cited PredictIt betting odds throughout the 2020 election, and the network usually promptly responds to our questions. Not this time.
As of 4 pm ET, Nov. 4, PredictIt remains offline. No markets are accessible.
The hashtag #predictitlawsuit is becoming a thing on Twitter, with some asking if they can actually sue the exchange. “PredictIt insiders making off with some nice profits,” one Twitter user alleged.
“PredictIt can we please get an update?” pleaded another. “This is ridiculous.”
Political Betting in US
Numerous major media outlets were citing the 2020 betting odds throughout election night. But the pundits seemingly had little in-depth knowledge of how the betting actually works.
Along with PredictIt, the 2020 betting odds on the US election predominantly come from the UK and Europe. Bookmakers there are permitted to offer political betting, and the action was record-setting.
More than $1 billion was wagered through legal channels, and likely much more at offshore books, which aren’t regulated and do not typically disclose how much action they’ve received on an event.
UPDATE: John Phillips, co-founder of PredictIt, sent the following email hours after this article was published. His statement is below:
In the lead up to this year’s election, PredictIt made significant upgrades and substantial investments to increase the capacity of the platform’s performance. Just as we saw historic levels of turnout in the election, we also saw historic levels of activity on our site, including high levels of bots and technology scraping that overburdened our enhanced capacity.
As a result, traders experienced increased lag times and outages. We understand that this was incredibly frustrating to our trading community and we deeply share their frustrations. We are investigating all of the causes behind the disruptions to our platform, are monitoring system accessibility and performance continuously, and are aware of intermittent disruptions at this time, which we are taking ongoing steps to address.
I ask for your patience as we are attempting to rectify the situation. I will report back to you when I have an update.