A new website is taking wagers from American college students who want to bet on their own grades. Just as Las Vegas sports books set odds on sporting events, Ultrinsic will pay top dollar for A's, a little less for the more likely outcome of a B average or better, and so on. Students can also wager they will fail a class by buying what Ultrinsic calls "grade insurance." The site is taking wagers from students at 36 colleges nationwide starting this month.
The CEO insists the company isn't engaging in online gambling, which is illegal in the United States, because wagers with Ultrinsic involve skill. "The students have 100% control over it, over how they do," he says, calling it an investment, not a bet. Students give Ultrinsic access to their records, and it calculates odds based on their history, the difficulty of a class, and other factors. "There's definitely a lot of variables," says the CEO, "but the biggest variable is how much effort the student wants to put in."