So, I signed up for inTrade to lay down a dollar on my pick for the Nobel, and ran into a wall when trying to deposit money through credit card. Apparently, one needs to fax (or scan/email) the following before they accept a credit card:
(i) driver's license.
(ii) utility bill.
(iii) credit card and credit card statement.
Let's see. I don't have a utility bill, and neither do most students in residence - the university is paying for that directly, and we remit the university. I don't have a credit card statement; all my banking is done electronically, though I suppose I could print something off.
However, not very many people are going to feel comfortable faxing all that information off to Ireland, myself among them. As such, I may be an inTrade member, but I will not be participating in the market.
This kinda scrutiny is somewhat unprecented. Ebay/paypal, amazon, chapters, etc, etc - none of these people require nearly this much. And all are willing to give credit card refunds, lest one point out that the ability to remove money from inTrade makes a difference.
The alternative to inTrade, the Iowa Electronic Market, is much too simple. There's simply not enough selection. You're basically confined to presidential candidates and the Fed.
Conclusion: I now place much less faith in prediction markets, which with these barriers cannot accurately represent a good sample of the population.