That's because OneSeason appears to be the first real-money prediction market operating out of the United States without explicit approval from the CFTC. As of this morning, the site is currently accepting credit cards and Paypal accounts from U.S. citizens eager to buy initial public offerings in baseball, basketball, football, and hockey teams and players, whose values will not be based on game outcomes, but rather determined solely on the basis of public perception of their worth.
Launched today in San Francisco by Michael Sroka, a 27-year-old entrepreneur determined to combine his obsession with sports and his love of trading, OneSeason does not seem to be affiliated with an educational institution. Unlike the Iowa Electronic Markets, therefore, it will seemingly be unable to claim an academic exemption under the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.
Thus, the question is how long the site will be able to remain in operation in the United States accepting real money. From the legal small print on its website, it appears that OneSeason will argue that it is not a gambling operation because its sports stock prices are not based on the outcomes of events. Still, will that be enough to differentiate it from Intrade, which is currently still prohibited by the Gambling Act from accepting American credit cards? After all, OneSeason plans to make its money through trading fees.
Will the CFTC look the other way? If so, it could signal the beginning of a revolution and pave the path for a slew of new political trading and other real-money prediction sites? Let us know what you think.