The worlds of finance and betting have a surprising amount in common. Other than being two of the internet's most successful business models, any broker will tell you that investing in the financial markets is just like gambling on the horses (except with someone else's money). This is particularly true of people who make their money from the hour to hour movements in the market (called "day trading") where the announcement of a cut in US interest rates can be see in terms of being a straight bet on if the markets will move up or down.
However the arrival of www.betonmarkets.com marks the most recent and, possibly most radical revolution in the worlds of finance and betting. Many of you will already be familiar with the London based "Spread Betting" companies. However Betonmarkets is unique in that it actually allows you to buy "Fixed-Odds Bets" on market movements; in a very similar way in which you would buy a fixed-odds bet on a sporting event. For example you can build a bet and will be told that to buy the bet to win USD500 you will need to pay USD124 - for example.
The huge advantage here, over investing directly in the markets, is that you are told of the likely payout of your bet before you pay for it and, similarly, have the maximum amount that you can lose limited to the purchase price.
How To Play
Although this may sound a little complicated, in practice it is very simple. With bet types ranging from Double Ups and Double Downs to the more exotic sounding Barrier Range and Double Touches, and with a choice of markets including Foreign Exchange Rates, Stocks and Indices, there is a bet type for almost any anticipated market movement.
For example, if you have a strong feeling that the Dow Jones index will be above 11,200 in 5 days you can select "indices" and Bull/Bear, from the website menu. Then select the amount you are looking to win (and it can be anything from USD10 to USD5000), the number of days after which the market must be above the target level, and finally you need to set the target level. You then click on "Calculate the cost of this contract" and the system will automatically inform you what this contract costs to buy. Thus you may need to pay USD46 to buy a contract that will pay USD100 if the Dow Jones index is above 11,200 in 5 days time. The money come from you account which you will have already opened and credited with funds.
This is already a huge innovation to the world of financial speculation. However another novel twist that Betonmarkets add is that they allow you to also sell your bets back to the site. So, for example, if the next day the market moves in your favour to 11,150 the site will automatically price your contract, as it would a new contract, and might estimate it as being worth more (for example USD76). You may then decide that you are happy to sell it at this higher price instead of waiting to see if it wins. Conversely if the market moves in the opposite direction, down to 10,900, the site will give the contract a lower value, of, say, only USD12. You may decide that you would prefer to sell the bet now and lose only USD34, instead of risking losing the full USD46 if the bet reaches its expiry date and loses completely.
The site includes masses of information to make you life easier by including up to the second charting and market data. In fact everything you need to make informed bets on the market.
Betting on the financial markets is a huge amount of fun. We are surrounded by market news and it only makes sense that we should be able to take a punt on the markets in the same way we do with sports. And unlike traditional investment it has the advantage that here you are given a clear idea of the risk associated and the maximum loss you can incur. But just remember that, like any form of gambling, only bet with what you can afford to loose and remember that there is no such thing as guaranteed return on the markets.