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Intrade, the  online betting site, has shut up shop. The Irish based company allowed customers to bet on a wide range of non-sporting events including U.S. elections and the Academy Awards. Yesterday the firm said it had ceased trading while it investigates possible financial irregularities.

Intrade has been in trouble for several months. Late last year, U.S. regulators dealt the company a potentially fatal blow when the Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued the firm to stop it from taking bets from American customers, who were the main users of the site. Americans were banned and visitor numbers plummeted. Observers in Dublin say this is the likeliest reason for the company’s closure:

“Most people are drawing a straight line from their problems with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to the closure of the company today” says Peter Flanagan , a business reporter with the Irish Independent. 

It’s not yet clear whether Intrade will re-open. If not, its loss will be lamented not only by gamblers -- academics  and journalists prized the site as a novel and effective way of predicting diverse outcomes ranging from a North Korean missile launch to the identity of the next Pope

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