Friday, November 30, 2007

Felix Simon talks gambling markets...I think

From his blog market movers:

Online poker, it's a bitch, what with being illegal and all. What we really need is a legal way to lose lots of money online, using an addictive videogame-style interface. Enter eToro: where Reuters 3000 meets Nintendo Wii!

There's some kind of genius here. FX trading has historically been practiced by a combination of well-paid sell-side professionals and a few delusional stay-at-home day-traders who think they can beat the market. What's been missing from the market is inveterate gamblers who don't particularly mind losing money so long as they think there's a chance they can win.

Until now. With eToro, you can see a screen where three or four different currencies compete in a footrace. Or play a different game, where two currencies have a tug-of-war match. Whatever game you choose, your commissions are guaranteed to be stratospheric:

When a user registers for a real money account, that account is actually opened at one of two foreign exchange trading brokers, RetailFX or IFX Markets. eToro decides which broker based on where it expects to make the most commissions on trades the user makes.

Remember, that's a good thing, because if you sign up your friends for eToro, you can get 25% of their revenues! Hurry! Before this utterly ridiculous idea inevitably goes belly-up!

--It's true that online gambling should be legal...the reason. All that you end up doing is spending unnecessary tax dollars on enforcement that doesn't work, while at the same time you forgo millions of tax dollars that could be made from revenues. The U.S. made a big mistake not allowing online gambling. Instead all the companies started up in England, and they will now be hard to de-thrown. If it were legal in the U.S. all the companies would have set up in Vegas where the brand loyalty and experience is...oops.

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