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  1. #1
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    Default iPredict - just a National Party or rightwing propaganda tool?

    While reading Nicky Hager's "Dirty Politics" book the other day, I saw it confirmed that at least one National Party stalwart (Cameron Slater) deliberately uses ipredict (Victoria University's political betting website) to boost the chances of a preferred event happening. The important thing to note here, is that anyone can suggest the topics that iPredict runs bets on. Once set up, just a few players (or one) can make a convincing impression, with not much cash involved.

    Nicky Hager made that comment, that a lot of politically minded people seem to place undue relevance on the iPredict numbers, when they can be pushed around easily sometimes. Cameron Slater was effectively being paid by aspiring National Party safe electoral seat candidates, to do this betting.

    The iPredict site itself, says that the rule of numbers means that anyone trying to game the system will be pulled back by the other participants. That sounds like true economic theory, a great model, but what happens in real life I wonder?

    Does anyone on this thread have any experience with the site?
    Last edited by elZorro; 17-08-2014 at 01:52 PM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by elZorro View Post
    While reading Nicky Hager's "Dirty Politics" book the other day, I saw it confirmed that at least one National Party stalwart (Cameron Slater) deliberately uses ipredict (Victoria University's political betting website) to boost the chances of a preferred event happening. The important thing to note here, is that anyone can suggest the topics that iPredict runs bets on. Once set up, just a few players (or one) can make a convincing impression, with not much cash involved.

    Nicky Hager made that comment, that a lot of politically minded people seem to place undue relevance on the iPredict numbers, when they can be pushed around easily sometimes. Cameron Slater was effectively being paid by aspiring National Party safe electoral seat candidates, to do this betting.

    The iPredict site itself, says that the rule of numbers means that anyone trying to game the system will be pulled back by the other participants. That sounds like true economic theory, a great model, but what happens in real life I wonder?

    Does anyone on this thread have any experience with the site?
    All parties play that game. Have a look at the conservatives.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by fungus pudding View Post
    All parties play that game. Have a look at the conservatives.
    I'm sure they'll be betting on getting above 5%, or on winning one seat. Fairly predictable. ACT in Auckland, the same. Those bets will be fiercely protected until the election. Going on the 2011 election, iPredict will bring out press releases once a day or so, closer to the election. At the moment they're only once a week.

    Labour and National have a far more wide spread of bets that they'd have to cover - every electorate, the party vote shares, etc. And then the personality bets add to that.

    When you buy bets on most of these wagers, you'll see that there are very even-looking spaces between the bet values, and usually they are in clean multiples of 1 or 10 bets. These are mostly computer generated. You buy these off Victoria University, the bets cost them nothing, and in amongst it there will be some real buy/sell bets from other participants. If the wager has very steep-looking changes in its timeline or it's flat-lining (bets cannot be searched backwards for more than 3-4 weeks) then there are not many people betting on that wager. Similar to shares.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by elZorro View Post
    While reading Nicky Hager's "Dirty Politics" book the other day, I saw it confirmed that at least one National Party stalwart (Cameron Slater) deliberately uses ipredict (Victoria University's political betting website) to boost the chances of a preferred event happening. The important thing to note here, is that anyone can suggest the topics that iPredict runs bets on. Once set up, just a few players (or one) can make a convincing impression, with not much cash involved.

    Nicky Hager made that comment, that a lot of politically minded people seem to place undue relevance on the iPredict numbers, when they can be pushed around easily sometimes. Cameron Slater was effectively being paid by aspiring National Party safe electoral seat candidates, to do this betting.

    The iPredict site itself, says that the rule of numbers means that anyone trying to game the system will be pulled back by the other participants. That sounds like true economic theory, a great model, but what happens in real life I wonder?

    Does anyone on this thread have any experience with the site?
    I play on the site. Liquidity is poor but generally if you price things wrong with large enough volume you do get slammed. And it reacts very quickly to new news. Hagars book and launch had an effect pushing National from about .83 to where it is now at .78.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for reminding me ..forgot about the 500 bucks sitting there

    Now how shall I spend (invest) it
    Last edited by winner69; 25-08-2014 at 09:16 PM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by winner69 View Post
    Thanks for reminding me ..forgot about the 500 bucks sitting there

    Now how shall I spend (invest) it
    I had a look at the rules, some important ones.

    No. 1. Each person is only allowed to open one iPredict account. Very important. Not allowed to have control over another account.
    No. 2. Each person is only allowed to have $2500 invested at the most, in a given 6 month period. This means they can sell some bets and buy others, but the net cash going into the iPredict account can't exceed $2500 over 6 months.
    No. 3. If you reach this limit, then you have to wait for the anniversary of your first payment into your account for the previous 6 months, and whatever that payment was, you can then bring in more funds to that level. This means that the few punters who are working hard to change the wagers around, will be putting in $2500 at the start of each 6 month period to have the most flexibility. It's not so important for new entrants now, because the election is only 5 weeks away.

  7. #7
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    There are now about 7964 traders on iPredict. Sounds impressive? Some have returns on investment of over 1000%, but just 30 of them. However, in terms of Net Worth, those players don't tend to rank highly. "Economist" is one who does.

    Currently, the biggest net worth trader is "MBW", on $22,000 odd. It drops off sharply. There is a predictable bunch of traders with a net worth near $2500, but by the time we're down to the 100th trader in terms of net worth, that figure is just over $600. Which means that the top 100 traders have about $300,000 of value invested in the site wagers.

    When iPredict state that their results are the culmination of over 7000 traders, that is not strictly correct. I would think that the top 100 "investors" would be the major force on the results. There are plenty of iPredict traders who don't seem to bet much, and generally there are under 100 traders on the site at any one time.

  8. #8
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    I think it's time to have a look at who is behind iPredict. The software has probably been written at Victoria University, one of the aims being to offer a predictive service for businesses. It would have cost a bit to develop and maintain. Part of the rationale for having the shadow computer-generated buy/sell bids is to add liquidity to the wagers, and in theory enough punters wade in to each pool so they can reduce that.

    Ipredict Ltd is 100% owned by Victoria Link, in turn owned 100% by Victoria University.

    The directors of Ipredict Ltd are:

    Prof Lewis Evans, Professor of Economics, Victoria University, based in a Lambton Quay building opposite the Beehive. He would be an Economist then.

    Ian McIntosh, Manager of Research and Commercial & IP, based in the research office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor's office, Alan MacDiarmid Bldg, Wellington.

    Prof Neil Quigley, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), MacDiarmid Building, Victoria University. Was Professor of Monetary Economics.

    Prof. Quigley is interesting, in that he is still actively involved in two think-tanks in Canada.

    One is called The Institute for Policy Analysis, University of Toronto.

    The other is called the C D Howe Institute, Toronto. This think-tank is apparently right-wing.

    He also has numerous important positions, besides being on the board of Victoria Link. He's on the board of Treasury Advisory Group, and a director of the Reserve Bank. Most of these positions have been taken up in the last few years.
    Last edited by elZorro; 17-08-2014 at 05:19 PM.

  9. #9
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    W69, I'm getting around to it. I'm like Cameron Slater, drip feeding the info. Only I intend for all of it to be true.

    The picture I'm building up is of some well-resourced people, backed by a University, developing a great looking website and betting database, for political events. By the election of 2011, the iPredict website was being featured on Stratos TV, and it ended up being the most accurate poll prediction for the elections.

    As I said, each week leading up to the elections the iPredict website has a time-line drawn across it, and a text report is generated. This is then spilled out to the media, and it doesn't get picked up much by the press until very close to the elections. Electoral candidates and MPs pay a lot of attention to it before then, though.

    It has come to my attention that there has been a change in how those weekly reports are closed off.

    Have a look at a report close to the 2011 elections.

    http://pacific.scoop.co.nz/2011/09/i...nats-above-50/

    At the end of each of these reports up until the 2011 election, the text was:

    iPredict is owned by Victoria University of Wellington. Details on the company and its stocks can be found at www.ipredict.co.nz The company is providing full election coverage this year, with contract bundles for the party vote and for every electorate race in the country now available for trading, along with other contract bundles on a wide range of economic, political and social issues. The weekly political snapshot is taken at a random time each week to avoid market manipulation by political parties or activists. This week’s was taken at 9:10am today.
    So, the closeoff time is random, and there is direct mention that it avoids market manipulation. We are not told who actually closes off the report, but you'd assume it was someone at Victoria University. I'm happy with that.

    In 2014, iPredict started on a new series of reports, starting back on #1.
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO140...n-update-1.htm

    Now the note on the bottom of the report says:

    iPredict Ltd is owned by Victoria University of Wellington. Details on the company and its stocks can be found at www.ipredict.co.nz. The weekly political update is prepared by Exceltium Ltd on a pro bono basis.
    Note that the actual time the report was closed off, is not given. This was corrected by report #2, with no other changes.

    Here is the latest report, we're up to #30.

    http://community.scoop.co.nz/2014/08...tion-update-3/

    The final comment is:

    iPredict Ltd is owned by Victoria University of Wellington. Details on the company and its stocks can be found at www.ipredict.co.nz. The weekly political update is prepared by Exceltium Ltd on a pro bono basis and is based on a snapshot taken at a random time each week. This week’s was taken at 7.53 am today.
    Exceltium, Exceltium, where have I heard that name? It is a relatively small firm, majority owned by Matthew Hooton.

    Pro Bono means:
    Pro bono publico (English: for the public good; usually shortened to pro bono) is a Latin phrase for professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment or at a reduced fee as a public service. It is common in the legal profession and is increasingly seen in architecture, marketing, medicine, technology, and strategy consulting firms. Pro bono service, unlike traditional volunteerism, uses the specific skills of professionals to provide services to those who are unable to afford them.
    Pro Bono Publico is also used in the United Kingdom to describe the central motivation of large organizations such as the National Health Service, and various NGOs, which exist "for the public good", rather than for shareholder profit.
    Which is great for Victoria University, but isn't that a bit like having a fox in charge of the henhouse?
    Last edited by elZorro; 17-08-2014 at 07:09 PM.

  10. #10
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    The latest 3 news Poll ... GAME ON ( poll taken before The Book launch) one very worried John Key.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by winner69 View Post
    The Hooten connection has been public knowledge for a while and debated in political circles

    Keep digging ....other interesting connections

    Looks like centrebet in Oz haven't opened betting yet. The betting over there on a bigger scale always projects the outcome weeks out
    W69, that's all I've got, except I note that Cameron Slater has mentioned this situation before, in his blogs. Presumably he's betting on one candidate, and Matthew is betting on another.

    Oh, and one other observation.

    Sometimes, there are major unusual iPredict bets placed just five minutes or so before the closeoff. These bets can be in strange areas, the sort of bet that you can't expect to win much with, but which will pull down another part of the same pool. Funnily enough, they are always to the benefit of National or the right.

    If I see any more of these occurring, I will make sure I take screenshots of those, and in any case all of these events will be on the transaction records, if Victoria University would like to check how the pro bono reporter has been going.

    One solution in the best interests of the democracy of NZ, would be to change the site and personnel where this closeoff is done, to a more neutral setting.
    Last edited by elZorro; 17-08-2014 at 06:26 PM.

  12. #12
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    Matt Burgess was the manager of iPredict in 2011, and here are some interesting figures about how the predictions market site was going then. It won't be too different now.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/ar...ectid=10760913

    Whale Oil on Hooten and iPredict.

    http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2014/05/ma...promote-mates/
    Last edited by elZorro; 17-08-2014 at 07:11 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by winner69 View Post
    The Hooten connection has been public knowledge for a while and debated in political circles

    Keep digging ....other interesting connections

    Looks like centrebet in Oz haven't opened betting yet. The betting over there on a bigger scale always projects the outcome weeks out
    Winner,they have been running a book for quite a while now, and I have got some bets on already with them. Last week they closed the book, I think with the Hagar book etc being out.
    They started 3 months ago at about 1.25 National, 3.50 or so Labour. This shortened into 1.10 National, 7.00 Labour about 2-3 weeks ago (I took some Labour at 6's) then they went out again to before the closed they had National 1.20, Labour 4.00. Am awaiting with interest what their new book will be when it opens.

  14. #14
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    Tom Waterhouse has Nats at $1.16

    Foregone conclusion

    https://www.tomwaterhouse.com/electi...prime-minister

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by winner69 View Post
    Tom Waterhouse has Nats at $1.16

    Foregone conclusion

    https://www.tomwaterhouse.com/electi...prime-minister
    You mean Australians know more about our politics than we do?

    I see what you mean about other partners -

    Matthew Hooton jacked up a deal with UMR, but Victoria still owns the site itself.

    All the iPredict bets are now handled by a staffer in the Exceltium offices, since 2012. Matt Burgess was also right-wing, he got himself a job working for Bill English.

    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/%E2%80%...-umr-ck-112469

    Radio interview for iPredict, early this year.

    http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/player/o...ict2014-update
    Last edited by elZorro; 17-08-2014 at 08:46 PM.

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