Bush for president? You bet!
By James Arnold
BBC News business reporter
The polls were off-beam, the pundits were caught napping, the press didn’t cover itself in glory – did anyone confidently predict the result of the US election?
The gambling community, perhaps. A glance at the returns of some of the world’s biggest betting exchanges shows that President George W Bush remained a clear favourite with punters right down to the wire.
On the Iowa Electronic Markets (IEM), run by the University of Iowa as a forum for experimental online betting, participants gave Mr Bush a 51.2% chance of re-election on the eve of the poll – a score that tallied precisely with his eventual share of the popular vote, at the last count.
Indeed, electronic gambling is proving so uncanny a predictor of everything from oil prices to football results, that experts reckon it could be harnessed for more wholesome purposes than making money.
Iowa Electronic Markets (IEM)