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Betting Market Predicts More Troops to Afghanistan

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:
Oct/12/2009
Afghanistan

If the betting market has anything to say about it, US President Barack Obama will send more troops to war-torn Afghanistan, over 10,000 before December 31, 2009 to be more precise. 

At 75.1, this means the betting market at intrade.com predicts there is a 75.1% chance that this event happens.

A senior administration official says President Barack Obama is prepared to accept some Taliban involvement in Afghanistan's political future and is inclined to send only as many more U.S. troops to Afghanistan as are needed to keep al-Qaida at bay.

Obama planned sessions Thursday with Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Oval Office to continue the intense discussion about the increasingly unpopular war in Afghanistan, according to Associated Press reports.

Shrinking the number of troops in Afghanistan and turning the effort into a narrow counterterror campaign is not on the table, officials say, and neither is drastically ballooning the footprint.

U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, is asking for between 10,000 and 40,000 more troops to the region. 

Prediction markets (also known as predictive markets, information markets, decision markets, idea futures, event derivatives, or virtual markets) are speculative markets created for the purpose of making predictions. Assets are created whose final cash value is tied to a particular event (e.g., will the next US president be a Republican) or parameter (e.g., total sales next quarter). The current market prices can then be interpreted as predictions of the probability of the event or the expected value of the parameter. Prediction markets are thus structured as betting exchanges, without any risk for the bookmaker.

People who buy low and sell high are rewarded for improving the market prediction, while those who buy high and sell low are punished for degrading the market prediction. Evidence so far suggests that prediction markets are at least as accurate as other institutions predicting the same events with a similar pool of participants.

intrade and Betfair are two of the largest online betting exchanges in the world.

Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com 

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