Ever since I learned about Martin Shubik’s “dollar auction” game from Howard Raiffa, the larcenous part of my soul has wondered whether there might be a way to implement it in real life without going to jail.
It’s called “Swoopo.” It masquerades as an auction site, but each bidder is charged 75 cents for each bid, and a bid only pushes up the price of the item by 15 cents.
[At least, I don’t think you can go to jail for this; it ought to be illegal, but I can’t figure out what actual law it violates. The operators seem to be frank about the mechanics, so there’s no misrepresentation and therefore no fraud in the legal sense. And I don’t think it’s technically “gambling,” either. Open to correction on this point from those who know.]