American Roulette 

Where presidential politics meets Celebrity Poker Showdown

Where presidential politics meets Celebrity Poker Showdown

If you’re looking for a bizarre barometer of the Democratic primary—one that, oddly, may prove more reliable than most—check out the Web site of the World Sports Exchange (www.wsex.com). This fearless little venture offers nothing less than a futures market on the candidates.

Regulated by the gaming commissions of Antigua and Barbuda—Rebecca Paul’s next destination?—the site features gambling on just about all sports. But it’s the political component we find interesting. Yes, you can actually buy shares in the candidates’ futures. And because people are actually laying down cold, hard cash on these chances, the site may reflect the candidates’ prospects more honestly than the usual phone polls or spin-doctor blather. It’s one thing to say Wesley Clark looks like a hot ticket. It’s another to back your prediction with $50.

As of Friday afternoon—the market gets updated each minute—John Kerry was by far the most valued commodity, with John Edwards a distant if surprising second. Howard Dean came in an even more distant third. Clark is way back in fourth. And you’d have an easier time recouping your investment in Gigli than selling your Joseph Lieberman futures.

That loud thump you heard? Probably the guy who sunk his 401K into Dick Gephardt.

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