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Intrade Works the Percentages

20 August 2002

By Robert Flahive

Intrade plc of Dublin is offering a new angle on its online wagering platform through the launch of a site that caters to British bettors.

The site, registered with the U.K. government at, works like a stock market or futures exchange. Intrade Chairman and CEO Ronald Bernstein said it's "similar to a betting exchange, except instead of using fixed odds or digital odds as the language, it uses percentage prices."

He added, "A digital odds bet at 2.5 is the same as a fixed odds bet at 6.4, and in percentage terms, that is the same as saying there is a 40 percent chance of winning."

Bernstein believes Intrade's use of percentages-style of odds simplifies the process for the customer.

"We just take out all the translation. If there is a 40 percent chance of winning, then you can risk EU40 to make EU60," he explained "Just like an in-running bet, people all over the world continue to put prices up and trade based on how a player or team is performing."

Instead of wagering money on the player, users either buy or sell contracts, a pre-determined, exchange-standardized agreement based on the outcome of a specified event.

The exchange has two styles of contracts, the "PIX" and Totals Contracts. PIX contracts are percentage representations of potential outcomes of sporting events, which are priced "futures style" using a point scale ranging from 0 to 100. A 100 price would be a positive outcome, meaning a win. A zero price would be a negative outcome and not a win. The exchange also lists traditional "Totals" contracts, using financial exchange-based principles. Totals contracts are simply priced to reflect the total goals, points or runs that will be scored in an event. charges a slight exchange fee per contract lot traded independent of the amount staked or profits earned. This enables the exchange to foster a fair, transparent and liquid marketplace.

Intrade's different way of bookmaking brings along with it a different kind of audience.

"Because we have built our platform on how stocks are traded, we wanted to appeal to the city trader," Bernstein said. "We cater to those who understand how the stock markets or the commodities markets work, offering them the opportunity to trade sports the same way they do their day jobs."

The fluctuations in customer volume and the number of contracts show that people are starting to take notice of Intrade in the service.

Through a partnership with Yahoo!, the company used the World Cup as stage for showcasing its product.

"A year ago we had about 3,000 contracts per day at and we have doubled our customer base over the World Cup period," Bernstein said. "Our volume now is about 10,000 contracts a day, which represents about EU100,000 of risk."

Intrade's World Cup fantasy trading, launched during the tournament at, introduced Internet users to the company's unique style of betting. The venture, a joint promotion with Yahoo!, enabled customers to get familiar with Intrade's software in a free-play environment.

The company's original site,, is geared toward an international customer base. It was launched in March.

Intrade Works the Percentages is republished from

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