from the taking-a-chance dept
Despite the war on online gambling in the US, a few brave companies continue to search for loopholes allowing them to operate. The most recent one to get our attention was Betcha.com, which offered a platform for peer-to-peer wagers. The only catch was that the losing party wasn't technically compelled to pay the winner, a caveat that the company felt would allow it to operate legally. Authorities disagreed, however, and the site was promptly shuttered. TechCrunch points to a new mobile-oriented site dubbed Swamble that hopes to make a market in non-financial wagers. So, for example, instead of betting $20 on the outcome of a football game, the two parties could wager something else, like a free week of yard work for the winning party. While the authorities may not have much of a problem with these arrangements (though who knows?), it's hard to see the company faring very well. Non-financial wagers are going to have a very narrow appeal. For people who do like the arrangement, there's very little need for an actual service to facilitate such bets. The company says that in the future it will add a private financial wagering system, away from the peering eyes of the law, but if a thriving betting platform does take off, it's hard to imagine the government not getting involved in some way.