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PredictIt.org Review by Professional Gamblers: Worth Your $$$ & Time?

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PredictIt.org Brags and Beats

  • Accepts American customers USA Tiny Flag
  • Wide menu of political events covered
  • Site has approval of government officials
  • High fees on profits and withdrawals
  • Low $850 cap on maximum position in a contract
  • Few events listed other than politics
  • No Bitcoin support
  • Scarce promotions and no loyalty program

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PredictIt.org is an innovative platform that lets you attempt to guess the outcomes of various events and win real money if you're lucky or good. It somewhat resembles a traditional offshore sportsbook albeit one that's focused almost exclusively on political events rather than football, baseball, Olympics, or any of the other traditional contests carried by bookmakers.

Besides the types of contests listed, there are other significant differences in the way PredictIt works that set it apart from normal internet betting sites. Rather than accepting odds set by bookies, you trade shares with other users, and these shares pay out full value or expire worthless upon maturity depending on whether or not the result you had hoped for actually comes to pass.

Because of the way the platform is structured, the site is not breaking U.S. gambling laws. It's not considered in violation of futures trading laws either, and the operators of PredictIt, Victoria University of Wellington, have actually secured a no-action letter from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission approving of the site's operations.

Still, along with these undoubted advantages come certain drawbacks, which mostly revolve around the restrictions PredictIt must adhere to as well as additional fees that are levied on winnings and withdrawals. In order to keep you fully informed as to what this predictions portal has to offer, we have composed a thorough PredictIt review below containing both the positive and negative aspects of the site.

PredictIt.org General Overview

Key to the entire “not gambling” justification used by the principals at PredictIt is the way shares work at the site. Rather than accepting a line set by an oddsmaker, like at a traditional sportsbook, you instead buy and sell shares in events with other users. Thus, there's no middleman and nobody making a profit directly off your picks.

Where most of the action happens at PredictIt is in the “Markets” tab of the website. When you click on this area of the site, you will be presented with a list of all the markets available to bet on. There are several categories you can browse through, or you can use the default view to list all events. You will see the values at which both sides of the events are trading along with the total volume of shares traded on each market.

Markets on PredictItMarkets Available on PredictIt.org

PredictIt is heavily focused on the U.S. political scene, but there are several international markets too, like predicting the next leader of an E.U. nation to be given the boot by the electorate and the current leader of North Korea remaining in his position by the end of the year.

Buying Shares

After identifying a market and/or contract that you would like to buy or sell, you can click on that prediction option to see more about the costs associated with it.

Janet Yellen ContractPrediction Market for Who Will Be Named Treasury Secretary

In the example above, we have chosen to take a position in the “Who will be the Senate-confirmed Treasury Secretary on Mar 1” market. We have Janet Yellen selected. It will cost at least $0.81 to buy a Yes share.

We can see that there are 2,589 shares available at this price. If you wish to purchase more than this amount of shares, then you would have to pay at least $0.82 for the additional shares.

PredictIt lets you specify the maximum price you're willing to pay and the number of shares you wish to acquire. However, your buy order will first be fulfilled with the cheapest available shares before proceeding with more expensive ones. If there are not enough shares available to completely fill your order at or below the price you have set, then the remaining portion of the order will stay open and might be completed later on if someone opts to sell cheaper shares. You can cancel open orders before total fulfillment if you wish.

To continue with the purchase, click the blue “Next” button. The system will show you an overview of your order although it is possible to bypass this confirmation screen. Press “Submit Offer” when ready.

Buy Offer on PredictItBuying Shares

If you have placed an order at a price that people are currently willing to trade at, it should only be a few seconds before you see a “Shares Traded!” message containing an overview of your transaction. If you have set a price a bit lower than what the market values the shares at, then it might take a while for your order to complete.

You can go to your Dashboard for an overview of your open positions:

PredictIt DashboardPredictIt Dashboard

Selling Shares

Selling shares works in a similar manner. You must possess shares of a specified contract in order to sell them, and PredictIt will endeavor to exchange your shares for the highest possible price anyone is willing to pay. Short selling is not possible on PredictIt.org.

After the date or occurrence specified in the rules takes place, winning shares will pay out at $1 each, and losers will expire worthless.

Multi-Contract Markets

Some shares are for single-contract markets – that is, an event where only two outcomes are possible typically Yes or No to a certain event happening. Others have multiple possible winners, like markets for predicting who will occupy a given position or office on a specified date.

If multiple contracts are listed, then you can buy and sell the Yes and No shares for more than one of them. At most, one of the contracts will see Yes graded the winner. For all the others, No will be the winner.

Because multiple choices will result in No being paid out, your risk might be reduced if you hold several No positions in the same market. When you buy more shares, PredictIt only debits an amount from your account sufficient to cover your worst-case loss given the number and types of shares you hold in a market.

This means that you might be able to buy shares without having to pay their total face value. Similarly, when you sell shares in a multiple-contract market, you may unwind your positions in such a way that your maximum possible liability increases, and the appropriate amount will be subtracted from your cash balance.

You may encounter the confusing experience of selling shares yet having less cash available after completing your sale or buying shares while somehow increasing your cash balance at the same time. It's important to realize that both of these counterintuitive results are possible depending on how your investments are allocated in correlated contracts.

Illiquid Markets

One of the problems with PredictIt is that many markets have few trades going on, and this leads to pricing inefficiencies. If all shares were priced fairly, then the sum of prices of the Yes and No positions for a given contract ought to add up to exactly $1 because this is precisely the sum that will be eventually paid out when the contract resolves. However, sometimes these two sides of the same coin add up to well over $1, which indicates that one or both options are overpriced.

Let's take a look at the market for “Who will be the Senate-confirmed U.S. Trade Representative on Mar. 1” for example:

Illiquid MarketThe Market for U.S. Trade Ambassador Has Low Liquidity

Here we can see that the best offers on the leading candidate, Katherine Tai, are $0.38 for Yes and $0.67 for No. This adds up to $1.05, so $0.05 is basically disappearing into the ether. For the second-place option, Jimmy Gomez, the total cost of a Yes and No share is even worse at $1.09.

Prices like these signify that the market is too illiquid for fair prices to establish themselves. There still may be value here if it is only one side of the contract that's mispriced, but unsavvy buyers could find themselves overpaying for their shares by quite a bit.

Fees

Whenever you sell shares and make a profit or hold them until they're redeemed at a $1 value, you will be charged a 10% fee on the gain. This fee is levied on every position separately, which is much worse than if it were applied to your total profits overall.

For example, suppose you deposit $1,000 and then buy 1,000 units apiece of two separate types of shares at $0.50 each. Your total investment is $1,000 (($0.50 x 1,000) + ($0.50 x 1,000)).

One of your selections goes on to pay out in full at $1 per share for a $1,000 payday ($1 x 1,000) or $500 profit. The other one is a failure: You hold it until completion when it becomes worthless, and you are out $500. You have broken even on your two trades.

However, the $500 in profit you made on your winning trade is subject to the 10% fee ($50), so you will really walk away with only $950 remaining in your account. Despite booking results that canceled each other out, for a net zero outcome, you have nevertheless lost $50.

On top of this, there's a 5% fee on withdrawals whether you win or lose. Continuing with our example, if you elect to cash out your remaining balance of $950, you will be hit with a fee of $47.50, and the sum that will be sent to you is $902.50. Your “breakeven” performance will have ended up costing you $97.50!

Creating an Account

If you're undeterred by the disadvantages of trading at PredictIt.org, then you may want to create an account. You can instead sign in with your preexisting Facebook or Twitter credentials. In the run-up to the 2020 U.S. Presidential Elections, many users reported Facebook logins failing, so it may be best to create an account directly on the PredictIt.org website.

To begin, go to predictit.org and click on the “Sign Up” button in the top-right of the website. Then enter in an email address, a password, and a username.

PredictIt Account CreationComplete This Form to Open a New Account

On the next screen, you will be prompted to type your name, date of birth, and home address. Then submit the form, and your account will be instituted.

PredictIt.org will attempt to ascertain the veracity of your data by comparing it with government databases. Thus, if you wish to fly under the radar by keeping your personal info hidden, then you will not be able to complete the PredictIt account registration process.

Restrictions and Limits

The Victoria University of Wellington, in New Zealand, has had to comply with certain limitations on the way it runs PredictIt in order to remain in the good graces of the U.S. authorities. Its operations are for educational and research purposes, and PredictIt is a not-for-profit endeavor. As part of the university's research commitments, data about the trades and prices on PredictIt.org is made available to researchers around the world for free.

More relevant to individual traders, however, are the caps on total participation and investment. A maximum of 5,000 individual traders can deal in any one contract, and the maximum investment one person can make in any given contract is set at $850.

Participation at PredictIt.org is limited to U.S. persons only. This includes U.S. citizens, regardless of where they currently reside, as well as residents of the United States of America. Should a customer amass a net profit of $500 or more in a year, then PredictIt will issue a Form 1099 for tax purposes.

Deposits

To make a deposit, click on the “Deposit” icon near the top-right of the window. The credit card deposit form will appear in a box:

PredictIt.org Deposit FormMaking a Deposit

Enter in your credit card details and the amount you wish to deposit (minimum $10). Then click “Review and Confirm” when ready. You will be asked a final time if you're sure that you want to deposit. Click “Confirm & Deposit” to finalize the transaction.

We experienced difficulty in getting our credit card deposit to go through. We tried with two different cards and received an error both times. Finally, on our third attempt with yet another card we were successful.

PredictIt does offer a couple of alternative deposit methods for those who prefer not to use credit cards or whose transactions are declined. You can bring cash to a participating retailer, including 7 Eleven and CVS, and send the funds to the organization through a service known as PayNearMe. It's also possible to transfer USD Coin crypto-currency (USDC) to your PredictIt account balance.

Withdrawals

Cashouts at PredictIt.org are performed via ACH bank transfer and check. You cannot request a withdrawal until 30 days after your first deposit. In addition, as mentioned elsewhere in this review, all withdrawals are subject to a 5% fee.

ACH withdrawals are processed twice a week and can be sent to either your checking or savings account. Once your payout request is approved, you should see the funds in your bank account within five business days. You can only keep one bank account on file with PredictIt at any given time.

Be aware that making a withdrawal from PredictIt may cause some of your open orders to be voided if your new account balance would be insufficient to cover them all. You should also remember that this is a fully legal site, and therefore, you'll be responsible for paying taxes on your wins. PredictIt will forward the appropriate tax paperwork to the IRS, and you will receive a 1099 tax form if you win more than $600 in a year.

The paucity of withdrawal methods and high fees might leave you disappointed. If this is the case, then you can explore faster-paying organizations in the monthly offshore gaming payout report.

ID Verification

Before completing your deposit or withdrawal, you might be required to complete an identity verification process. It's not exactly clear what triggers the need for verification. PredictIt's tech partner Aristotle International provides it with age and identity verification solutions, and so an inability to confirm your identity through Aristotle's databases is probably the reason for demanding that you upload ID documents.

To begin this procedure, choose the “Account” item in the top menu bar, and then go to the “Account Details” tab. Then under “Identity Verification,” you will see the option to Upgrade your verification status. Press the button, and the Identity Verification Upload window will appear.

ID VerificationIdentity Verification Form

You must send in a valid form of photo ID, like a driver's license, passport, or military ID. If your identification does not show your current address, then you also have to supply an address document, like a phone bill or utility bill.

PredictIt.org Interface

From the main Markets lobby, you can sort the events available by trading volume, price change, newness of the market, and expiration time by adjusting the “Sort By” criteria. You're able to change the timeframe over which these criteria are applied: the current day, the past week, the past month, or all time. It's also possible to select predefined keywords and see matching results.

By default, you will see prices for two contracts per event on the main page. This is fine for simple binary choices, like “Will there be a recount in Wisconsin? (Yes/No).” However, some markets, like “Treasury Secretary on Mar. 1” have the possibility of multiple realistically viable winners.

Detailed Market Information

You can see more info on a particular market by clicking on it. For events with more than two selections possible, here's where you can see all the possibilities and their prices.

Candidates for Treasury SecretaryProspective Treasury Secretaries

Further down the page, the rules for the market are summarized, and you can click a link to have the full rules displayed:

Rules for a PredictIt MarketMarket Rules

Below this, you can see a graph of the historical prices for contracts within the market. It's possible to adjust the timeframe covered by the graph as well as toggle between line and candle formats.

PredictIt GraphHistorical Price Graph

All the way at the bottom of the page, there's a comments section filled with information, gossip, trash talk, and conspiracy theories submitted by actual users. This is a pretty neat feature that isn't found at most sites where you can bet on events although some of the more strident comments can get a bit tiresome to read after a while.

The “Trends” screen, accessible from the top menu, provides a rundown of the latest happenings on the PredictIt site. Here you can examine the newest markets opened for trading, the shares with the largest gains and losses for the past 24 hours, the contract with the most turnover for the day, and popular comments. There's also polling information included in this section of the website, like congressional and presidential job approval figures.

PredictIt TrendsTrends

Leaderboards

If you want to secure bragging rights, then you can attempt to place on the leaderboards at PredictIt. There are separate leaderboards for each trader level (apart from the initial Novice level) and another leaderboard for all levels.

Your trader level is determined by the number of shares you have sold for a profit over the course of your entire account history. Each leaderboard shows the traders who have achieved the highest return on investment.

PredictIt LeaderboardsLeaderboards Track the Most Successful Traders

Both trader levels and leaderboards are provided for entertainment purposes only although PredictIt has stated that leaderboards was one of the most frequently requested features. There are no tangible benefits for advancing in trader level or topping a leaderboard.

You can opt out of leaderboards if you wish from the “Settings” menu in the “Account” tab. Then your username will no longer be shown on the leaderboards.

Account

As the name might suggest, you can access various functions related to your PredictIt account within the Account menu item. This area of the site is divided into five sections.

Account Screen at PredictItAccount Display at PredictIt.org

The “Wallet” area is an alternate mechanism for adding money to your balance other than through the Deposit icon in the top-right corner of your browser. It's especially useful for those who wish to fund their accounts via PayNearMe or USDC rather than a credit card. It's also possible to submit a cashout request from here too.

The “History” view shows you previous transactions you have made. “Account Details” contains your name, email address, and other personal data. “Settings” lets you opt out of leaderboards, adjust your notification preferences, and permits you to link your Facebook and Twitter accounts. “Help And Support” includes various articles and FAQs as well as a contact form to get in touch with support.

Promotions

There are no promotions advertised on the website of PredictIt.com. Perhaps this is in keeping with its non-profit, academic philosophy. Nevertheless, after we signed up for an account, we shortly received offers in our email inbox. They were deposit matches for between $15 and $50, and they all expired within a few days.

We can only speculate as to whether these same deals are available to all new customers or whether the bonuses (if any) are tailored to each individual. If you decide to begin trading on PredictIt, we advise you to wait awhile before depositing in case you can snag some free cash from one of these email promos.

Other Gaming

If you need a break from buying and selling political shares, you might be wondering what other kinds of entertainments beckon from PredictIt. Unfortunately, there are no other forms of real money gaming to be had here.

Even if the higher-ups at the site wished to expand into other kinds of wagering products, they would almost assuredly be unable to do so without exposing themselves to legal action. PredictIt.org occupies a tenuous and somewhat unclear legal situation, and any attempts to introduce additional wagering products would likely scupper the arrangements it has with the federal government.

If you want to enjoy casino gambling, like blackjack and slots, then you can read a list of the top U.S.A. online casinos. If poker is more your game, then check out this thorough guide to internet poker for Americans.

Customer Support

PredictIt.org has a unique way of doing things, if you compare it to the way most gaming sites work, and so it's normal for users to encounter issues or have questions every now and again. Fortunately, support personnel are ready to lend you a hand.

You can navigate to a contact form by clicking a link on the bottom of most pages, or you can go to the “Account” section of the site and choose “Help And Support.”

PredictIt Contact FormCommunicate With Support in This Window

To send an email instead, use the support[at]predictit.org address. If there are markets that you would like to see added, you can instead email markets[at]predictit.org. There's also an email address to which you can send general feedback: feedback[at]predictit.org.

PredictIt is active on several social media channels. It may be useful to reach out to them there if you're unable to get a satisfactory answer through normal means:

If you're the type of person who likes to read and find out answers for yourself, then you can access the articles in the “Help And Support” area of the “Account” menu.

Finally, there is a set of community forums where regular users can help each other and exchange information. Unusually, there don't appear to be any links to these forums from within the PredictIt.org site itself. However, you can go directly to the forums by clicking this link.

PredictIt ForumsPredictIt Community Forums

If you access the forums while logged into your account, they will be displayed as part of the “Account” interface with a menu on the left. You can still browse these forums even if you're not logged in, and they will instead appear in a more intuitive layout.

Traders' Opinions

Though we place primary emphasis on our own first-hand experience when writing all our reviews, there are benefits to seeing what others have to say. Our interactions with any site cannot possibly encompass everything that's going on, and so we look to reports from others to capture anything we may have missed. To that end, we have gathered below a selection of comments from real-life users of the PredictIt.org framework:

Comment About PredictIt on 2+2
Reddit Comment About PredictIt
Comment on PredictIt at SportsBookReview
Negative Comment About PredictIt

Conclusion

PredictIt.org has carved out a solid niche for itself with an audience that can't get enough of making political predictions and backing them with their own money. Indeed, the list of political markets is more extensive than at virtually every other site. However, this is a very narrow field of competence, and it excludes sports, entertainment events, financial predictions, and several other categories of bets you can make at online sportsbooks.

Even for die-hard politics wonks, there are serious problems with PredictIt that render making a profit very difficult. Hefty fees and restrictions on the amount that can be invested in any single contract mean that the site is very tough on sophisticated traders who cannot successfully exploit their edges to full advantage.

Mainstream offshore bookmakers, on the other hand, typically have betting maximums that extend into the thousands of dollars, and almost none of them levy fees on winnings or withdrawals. Though their political sections are seldom as robust as PredictIt's, they have all manner of other events you can wager on, like football games, horse races, eSports matches, and celebrity-related props.

We highly recommend Bovada and BetOnline as internet destinations that host well-rounded betting products. Bovada has a 50% up to $250 sports betting bonus (75% up to $750 with Bitcoin). The welcome offer for new sports customers at BOL is 50% up to $1,000 (100% up to $1,000 with crypto-currency). Both sites have additional bonuses for casino and poker gaming too.

To learn more about these reputable U.S.A. online sportsbooks, read the detail-heavy Bovada review and BetOnline review. For additional info on places to bet on sports online, consult this list of trustworthy internet bookmakers for Americans.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you're still a bit uncertain about aspects of PredictIt.org and its operations, then look below. We have collected some of the most frequently asked questions about this organization along with their answers.

Yes, the site is a perfectly legitimate operation. The people behind PredictIt are researchers at the University of Victoria Wellington in New Zealand and fully adhere to the laws of that jurisdiction.

Yes, although a few might disagree, the site believes that it is acting in full accordance with U.S. law. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has even issued a no-action letter stating that PredictIt is not violating the law.

Even though it is based in an offshore location and seems to offer betting services, PredictIt is not in the same category as traditional international bookmakers. It uses a model wherein individual participants are trading shares with each other rather than accepting odds set by the house. Moreover, the markets available concern political occurrences rather than the athletic contests usually offered by sportsbooks. These differences, along with certain other restrictions that PredictIt complies with, are enough to keep it from running afoul of any federal statutes.

There's no publicly provided telephone number for PredictIt support. Instead, customers can receive help from an agent by filling out a contact form on the website or by emailing support[at]predictit.org. You can also attempt to connect with the company through its Twitter profile or Facebook page.

Although PredictIt was founded by researchers in New Zealand, it maintains an office in Washington, D.C. The full street address is:

PredictIt Inc.,
205 Pennsylvania Avenue SE,
Washington, D.C. 20003

Yes, you are fully responsible for paying any income tax you owe on your winnings from trading at PredictIt.org. Unlike at most online gaming firms, PredictIt actually files 1099 forms whenever a customer makes $600 or more in profit in a single calendar year.

For the purposes of calculating the net profit, PredictIt includes the 5% withdrawal fee whether or not the funds have been cashed out yet. Thus, the figures reported by PredictIt may not tally up exactly with what you calculate unless you take this into account.

In a word, nothing. From the terms and conditions of PredictIt.org:

iv. The Website is not a stock exchange, and there are no controls on market manipulation or trading on the basis of "inside information". You confirm that you fully understand the risks that this entails, or, if you do not understand these risks, you agree to obtain appropriate independent advice before using the Website.

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