Cantor Spreadfair RIP
Today has been a sad day for political gamblers who have used the Spreadfair spread-betting exchange. In common with some other gambling services from the group this was closed down yesterday and special arrangements are being to deal with the transition.
It seem that there’s no worry about getting any money deposited with them back. The firm’s email says “Any funds that you have on deposit with us remain totally secure and any funds not required to support open bets will be refunded to you immediately.”
What the closure does is to take away one of the best arenas for political gambling particularly on things like the number of electoral college votes in the White House race or the number of seats the parties will get at the general election.
For Spreadfair was an exchange. The bookmaker did not fix the prices – rather it was one punter up against another and your betting was limited only by what other gamblers who were taking an opposite viewpoint wanted to do. The firm made its money from charging a 5% commission on profits and, of course, getting the interest on funds that it was holding.
The Spreadfair approach meant that it did not need to “manage” the markets in the way that the other spread firms, IG and Sporting Index have to. The result was that it got markets up quicker than other firms and usually these were available 24/7
So if you wanted to get on SNP or PC seats Spreadfair was the only place to do it. And its general election market was launched in May 2005 straight after the last contest.
In recent months the Spreadfair offering has had a tired look to it. The site was cumbersome and kept on going down. Also punters seemed to lose interest and there were many political markets where there was simply no liquidity. Things were made worse in February when the firm withdrew all credit betting on politics. So to have a wager you were required to stump up a pile of cash.
It would be great if another betting firm decided to move into this area – for the Spreadfair concept was unique and will be sadly missed.