Intrade Suddenly Folds, Citing ‘Financial Irregularities’

CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 16: A female bookmaker counts cash as horse racing fans place bets on the Cheltenham Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival 2012 on March 16, 2012 in Cheltenham, England. Several 100,000 racing enthusiasts were expected at the four-day festival, which ends on today and is seen as many as the highlight of the jump racing calender. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

InTrade, the Ireland-based betting site that allowed users to wager on everything from U.S. elections to the weather, suddenly ceased its operation on Sunday, citing (in a statement on its homepage) "circumstances recently discovered," that "may include financial irregularities." But it did not explain what those irregularities might be. Nor did the site give any indication of whether this shutdown would be permanent or if it might come back to life sometime, simply promising that "during the upcoming weeks, we will investigate these circumstances further and determine the necessary course of action."

InTrade had already kicked off U.S.-based users after the Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued it for violating securities laws and commodity trading laws late last year. But this time the company cited Irish law as requiring it to settle all customers' accounts, cease all banking transactions, and cease all exchange trading. However, it can't make payments until the investigation is over, so while those online accounts are settled, their owners likely are not.