The popular however inevitably controversial online betting site InTrade shut down abruptly on Sunday, citing an ongoing investigation and casting skepticism on Irish law in a vaguely worded statement. "With sincere regret we must inform you that due to circumstances recently discovered we must immediately cease trading activity on www.intrade.com," the statement says, detailing that all trading on the site must cease, accounts must be settled and all transactions stopped immediately. There's nothing in the statement that boldly says InTrade is gone for good, and the company ends the statement on an almost optimistic note, asking customers to "bear with us as we do all we can to resume operations as promptly as possible." If they can't figure it out, that means no more betting on election results or Oscar winners or anything fun. Back to boring old cards and horses.
Now, the InTrade shutdown was abrupt but not altogether surprising. The Dublin-based company's been in United States regulators' sights for ages, and last November, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued InTrade for running an informal exchange and accused it of breaking an online gambling settlement. This also meant that InTrade would have to cease its U.S. operations prompted pundits to start wondering when the whole house would come crashing down. But then, just over a week ago, those same pundits started wondering if the new wave of states legalizing online gambling could bring InTrade back to the fun, legal center of things. While nothing is final or really even clear at this point, things aren't looking great for InTrade right now. They are however looking pretty good for Archbishop Angelo Scola, an Italian cardinal favored to succeed Benedict XVI. At least, according to InTrade's numbers they are.