Feeds

Attack of the terror casinos, volume 2

Please step away from the slides

Boost IT visibility and business value

House of Cards The second and final day of The Growth of Gambling and Prediction Markets: Economic and Financial Implications began with a very interesting session led by Ricardo Siu of of the University of Macau about whether or not gaming markets are a productive economic sector in the purely economic sense of that word: namely, are they capable of indefinite and sustainable growth?

The gaming sector is notoriously difficult to analyze due to the fact that casino gaming is typically bundled with a suite of related hospitality services and prices, and costs of the games themselves are uncertain: under a basic profitability formula, a player who gambles $100 for an hour and loses would be treated the same as a player who gambles $100 for 10 hours and loses, although the economic effect on the house is very different.

In short, gambling is not a static product to be sold, but rather an elastic service whose profit margin – the house edge – can only be evaluated in a long term context. Ultimately, the productivity of casino gaming is inseparable from the development that surrounds it, although the casino itself benefits from the technological advances of the world outside.

The gaming sector, which most people consider unproductive or even undesirable, is generally attacked in the press as a drag on local economies, and another paper covered the impact on housing prices of casino development in America since the 1990 census. Somewhat surprisingly, at least to this author, when compared with non-casino jurisdictions casino development has actually raised area housing prices.

Plenary session - when markets attack

The day concluded with three papers covering prediction markets, the first by Robin Hanson, the world's leading proponent of prediction markets and former head of DARPA's notorious "terror casino".

Robin Hanson - futarchist, cryogenic enthusiast, and all around Kool Aid-chugger - is the son of Baptist preacher, and he brings to the cause an eerie religiosity. A former physics student, Hanson admits that he got a PhD in economics so people would take his ideas seriously: truly a cart-before-the-horse moment. One of the original attacks on the "terror casino" was that the market was too thin not to be manipulated, and could steer policy in the wrong direction.

So what would a true believer do? Of course, Hanson's paper claimed that market manipulation actually makes markets more accurate, not less, by increasing the so-called "noise" of the market. Of course, like virtually all the presentations at the conference, this was concocted as nothing more than a laboratory experiment. Real statistics from futures exchange Intrade, for example - a conference sponsor, no less - were few and far between.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.