“I bet you I can get a 4.0 this semester..." would you be willing to wager on your college grades? Apparently, some students are: a website called Ultrinsic is taking wagers on grades from students at 36 colleges starting this month. While I’m not sure how I feel about this idea, perhaps it could add a little incentive for college students to try that much harder to do well in school.
Just like betting on football games or at the casino, Ultrinsic allows students to bet their top dollar that they will get an A, a little less for a B, and so on. In addition, students can also bet that they will fail a class (although I’m not sure why you’d sign up for such a class in the first place) by purchasing what the company calls “grade insurance”. CEO Steven Wolf insists that wagering on grades does not constitute online gambling, which is technically illegal in the U.S. since the wagering on Ultrinsic “takes skill”.
The website operates by first allowing a student to register, upload his or her schedule, and then giving Ultrinsic access to official school records. The site then calculates the odds that a student will achieve a particular grade based on the student’s college history, as well as information about the difficulty of a class, the topic, and any other factors that it can dig up. The student then decides how much to wager up to $25—but that’s just the beginning—with repeated use, the cap increases. Furthermore, Ultrinsic saves the biggest wager and potential payout for freshly graduated high school students who can bet $20 that they’ll finish college with a 4.0. If they are able to do so, the payout would be about $2,000 when they graduate.
While parents of college students might not agree that it’s the best way to spend money, Ultrinsic’s attorneys maintain that the betting is perfectly legal since getting good grades takes skill and students are betting on themselves. Nevertheless, parents probably still won’t agree it’s the wisest thing to spend your money on, especially while broke in college.