A lot of political junkiesparticularly those on Wall Streetlove to check out TradeSports, a Dublin-based betting market. There, they can see the latest odds on U.S. elections as well as the chances of various events taking place, such as capturing Osama bin Laden or airstrikes against Iran and North Korea.
But since early September, TradeSports has faced a scrappy U.S. competitor, the Washington Stock Exchange. The WSX was started by David Perry, who runs Consensus Point, a Nashville-based software consulting firm that helps companies set up internal prediction markets. And as Perry told me in a chat this morning, "Politics is the killer app for prediction software." Plus, Perry adds, he felt there was a need for a comprehensive betting site that tracked dozens upon dozens of political races and policy choices as well, such as how the Supreme Court might rule on a particular case. Right now the WSX has a few thousand traders playing with pretend money. (Studies show that using real money in betting markets isn't that important.)
And how is today's vote shaping up? "Not a good a day to be a Republican," Perry says. As I write this, the WSX shows the GOP with an 11 percent chance of holding the House and a 69 percent chance of retaining the Senate. I also noticed a few other interesting trading patterns in some of the most hotly contested Senate races: Shares of Virginia Republican George Allen seem to be tanking, while those of the GOP's Rick Santorum (Pennsylvania) and Michael Bouchard (Michigan) have definite upward momentum. Among Democrats, the stock of Claire McCaskill (Missouri) has made a big move to the upside, as has that of Ben Cardin (Maryland).