Gift Card Lotteries – Official Contest Rules

NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. The SciCast College Bowl Contest (the “Contest”) is sponsored by SciCast (the “Sponsor”), having an address of:

George Mason University
C4I Center
4400 University Drive
Fairfax, Virginia 22030.


ELIGIBILITY:

CONTEST OPEN ONLY TO THOSE WHO ARE 18 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER AT TIME OF ENTRY. THE CONTEST IS VOID WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. The following individuals are also ineligible to participate in this contest: employees of SciCast and any officers, directors, investors, agents, and representatives of SciCast and their parent, subsidiaries, or affiliates, including any sponsors and affiliates and advertising and promotion agencies of SciCast (“Ineligible Affiliates”). This restriction also applies to any immediate family members (defined to include parents, spouse, or children) of those Ineligible Affiliates, and to any person residing in the same household as any of those Ineligible Affiliates. The contest is also not available to any Users previously removed from the Service by SciCast. An individual is only eligible to win gift cards of less than $600 in value per contest. SciCast reserves the right at its sole and absolute discretion to limit the number of contests you may participate in at any given time.

CONTEST PERIODS:

The Contest will occur from July 20th at 12:00 AM ET, 2014 to August 24th, 2014 at 12:00 AM ET.

HOW TO ENTER:

Prior to or during the Contest Period, visit https://scicast.org/ and either register or log into your account. Completely and accurately submit the required online member registration form, including a reliable email address. Then make forecasts in order to receive virtual points.

You may only use a single account at SciCast during the duration of the Contest Period. If you already have an Account, you do not need to create a new Account to participate in the Contest.

Please note that by registering an Account, you will be subject to all notices posted on the Site, including but not limited to the Site’s Informed Consent and Privacy Policy.

By entering the Contest, you agree that your Portfolio and any other information provided by you or collected by Sponsor in connection with the Contest may be used by Sponsor in accordance with Sponsor’s Privacy Policy.

Sponsor expressly reserves the right to disqualify any entries that it believes in good faith and in its sole discretion are generated by macros, scripts, other automated means, or other processes that do not represent the honest opinions of the User at the time the entries are made. Sponsor additionally reserves the right to disqualify all Accounts submitted by a user if Sponsor determines, in its sole discretion, that such user attempted to register multiple Accounts for the Contest, regardless of whether such attempts were successful, or if the user is taking any other action that interferes with or undermines the Contest.

By registering for the Contest, you agree not to allow any other person to use or access your account for any purpose. You are responsible for maintaining the security of your Account information, including your password.

By registering for the Contest, all entrants agree to abide by these Official Contest Rules.

HOW NOT TO PLAY:

Sponsor reserves the right to penalize, suspend, disable, and/or destroy the account of any entrant that it suspects has engaged in any negative or cheating behavior, including:

– Registering more than once, creating and/or managing more than one account.

– Coordinating one’s trading activity with any other entrant(s).

– Providing incomplete, not-current, false, or inaccurate data in the registration form.

– Engaging, or planning or threatening to engage in any activity which may result in restricting or inhibiting any other entrant from using and enjoying the Contest, including, but not restricted to boycotts, law suits, computer attacks, and harassment.

– Using third party software robots, scripts, or any other automated system to participate in the Contest.

– Engaging in any kind of transaction meant primarily to transfer virtual funds from one account to another.

– Engaging in any kind of purposefully losing behavior.

– Using the discussion forums to spread unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane or indecent information of any kind, or any message negatively inclined in any way towards Sponsor, its partners, staff, or other affiliated parties.

– Using the discussion forums to transmit any kind of advertising.

– Engaging in any trading, order submission, or forum post that might serve to manipulate market prices, including attempts to create or maintain artificial prices, volume, or trends in any contract(s).

In cases wherein Sponsor identifies market manipulation, the gains and losses from all trades that Sponsor determines to be involved in such manipulation may be reversed and entrants participating in such manipulation will be subject to permanent disqualification. In any suspected or actual cases of proscribed activity, the nature and timing of penalties and all other determinations will be entirely at Sponsor’s sole discretion and may be applied without prior warning.

PRIZES:

A minimum of eighteen (18) prizes will be awarded and announced after each lottery in the Contest Period, with each Winner receiving a Gift Card for which the proprietor will be at the Sponsor’s discretion. Requirements for each prize and amount of prize will be described on the Contest recruiting announcement on the SciCast weblog at https://blog.scicast.org/.

Decisions of the Sponsor are final and binding with respect to all matters related to the Contest. In no event shall the Sponsor be obligated to award any prizes other than the Prizes specified in these Official Contest Rules. The Prizes are non-transferable and no substitutions are permitted. Winners shall be responsible and liable for all federal, state and local taxes on the value of the Prizes. To receive a complete list of winners or a copy of the Official Contest Rules, within six (6) months after the end of a Contest Period, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to:

SciCast
George Mason University
C4I Center
4400 University Drive
Fairfax, Virginia 22030.

Specify winner’s list or rules on your request.

PRIZE SELECTION:

Winners will be selected after the end of each Tuesday and Thursday during the Contest period after all trades are processed, all points are calculated, all corrections (if any) are made, and all site maintenance is performed.

Subject to confirmation of eligibility and compliance with these Official Contest Rules, Winners for each Contest Period will be decided by lotteries based on performance during the contest. On Tuesdays during the Contest period, performance is defined as the number of comments in the online forums and forecasts during the eligible days, and on Thursdays during the Contest period, performance is defined as portfolio value on the forecasts during the eligible days. On Tuesdays during the Contest period, Entrants with higher numbers of comments and forecasts have more chances to win prizes. On Thursdays during the Contest period, Entrants with higher portfolio values have higher chances to win each prize.

The Contest will be conducted under the supervision of the Sponsor. The decisions of the Sponsor are final and binding in all matters relating to this Contest. Winners will be notified by email; provided, however, that Sponsor reserves the right to determine an alternate method of notification. Winners must claim their Prize within 30 days after the date of notification of such Prize. A Winner’s failure to respond to the Prize notification within the specified 30 days will be considered such Winner’s forfeiture of the Prize and an alternate Winner may be selected from the pool of eligible entries. If an entrant is found to be ineligible, an alternate Winner may also be selected from the pool of eligible entries.

In the event of a dispute regarding the identity of the potential Winner, the potential Winner will be deemed to be the person in whose name the applicable Account is registered, and proof of being the authorized account holder may be required. Decision of the Sponsor as to the identity of the entrant shall be final.

PORTFOLIO VALUATION AND SETTLEMENT:

The value of a Portfolio is equal to the number of points expected to be gained or lost by an entrant over all his or her forecasts in the prediction market. The expected change in points is computed with the set of event outcomes when event outcomes are known and the set of prediction market estimates of the probabilities of event outcomes collected at a randomly chosen time following the eligible forecasts when event outcomes are not known.

Whenever possible, settlement of the outcomes underlying the contracts will be sourced to official publications. When such publications are unavailable or inapplicable, major media outlets, if in agreement, will collectively serve as settlement source. In the case of any disagreement, ambiguity or differing interpretations among such sources, or of disputed outcomes or any other valuation-related issues, Sponsor reserves the right to make final and binding decisions on all matters, and such decisions will not be subject to appeal.

A forecast question can settle early if its outcome becomes clearly knowable in advance of the settlement date, contract-specific rules allowing. Sponsor may extend expiration of a forecast question if an unanticipated condition causes an outcome to be unknowable as of the expiration date.

DETAILS AND FORMULAS:

Lottery

In the days directly following each Tuesday and Thursday during the Contest period, up to of 20 prizes will be awarded by lottery, a maximum of 160 prizes. In the days directly following August 15th, 2014, up to 60 prizes will be awarded by lottery for each of the four (4) previous Tuesdays and Thursdays during the Contest period, a maximum of 480 prizes.

For Tuesdays during the Contest period, lotteries for gift cards are based on activity that is the sum of the number of valid comments in online forums and the number of valid forecasts on questions. Each activity earns the Entrant a share in the lottery for prizes.

For Thursdays during the Contest period, lotteries for gift cards are based on portfolio value that is the sum of expected point changes across forecasts across possible event outcomes. An entrant’s chance of winning each prize is his or her portfolio value relative to others:

formula1

where

Vh is a portfolio value,

V* is a single entrant’s portfolio value,

h ranges over all entrants,

and I() is an indicator function that is equal to one (1) if the inequality is true and zero (0) otherwise. Because negative portfolio values are possible but negative chances are not, negative portfolio values are assigned weights of zero (0).

Portfolio Value

Your portfolio value (for a given contest day) is the sum of the expected asset changes from all of your forecasts on that day. That is, your final portfolio value for a given day is

formula2

where

j ranges over the forecasts on a day in the Contest period,

i ranges over the possible outcomes (aka answers or possible states)

qi is the selected market probability

pij was the market probability before your forecast

pij was the probability to which you changed the market

The use of qi makes this an expected value, using the market probabilities at a randomly chosen time after the forecasts for the expectation. Daily awards will be made using a market snapshot at a random time on the next calendar day or next business day (our choice). At each award session, all expectations will be taken with respect to the same snapshot.

Unlike Available Assets, your score fluctuates with the market. Short-term fluctuations in portfolio value do not have much meaning, so for the final lotteries following August 15th, 2014, each Entrant’s values will be averaged over a series of randomly selected times as early as August 16th at 12:00 AM ET, and no later than September 1st at 12:00 AM ET.

Notes:

The possible outcomes i are defined on the full joint space that has been allowed by linking related questions. If you did not use assumptions when forecasting on a question, then your expected value is based only on the market probability for that question. If you made an assumption, and that assumption has not resolved, then your expected gain (or loss) is tempered by the market probability of the assumption failing to hold.

The constant ‘100’ above is the market liquidity parameter. SciCast has held that fixed, but it might change for some questions. Such changes would be noted in the questions’ Background.

GENERAL CONDITIONS AND RELEASES

Limitations on Liability

By entering (including making a forecast or completing any tasks that might make you eligible to win a prize), you agree to indemnify and hold harmless SciCast from any claim or cause of action arising out of your participation in the contest. Registered Users will continue to receive correspondence as selected in registration. SciCast’s time clock shall be the official clock of the contest. Any entry obtained outside of authorized, legitimate channels, not in compliance with these Official Rules or made via robotic, automated, mechanical, macro, programmed or like method will void all such entries and disqualify any entrant using such methods. SciCast reserves the right to disqualify any person found or suspected of tampering with the entry process or the operation of this contest, to be acting in violation of these Official Rules, to be acting in a non-sportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. If, for any reason, the contest is not capable of running as planned by reason of, but not limited to, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes which SciCast deems could corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness or proper conduct of this contest, SciCast reserves the right at its sole discretion to cancel, modify, suspend, or terminate the contest and select the winners from among all eligible entries received prior to the action taken, or as otherwise may be deemed fair and equitable by SciCast, in its sole discretion. SciCast shall post notice of such action at https://blog.scicast.org or by email to the addresses provided by registered participants. Any attempt by an entrant to deliberately damage the website or undermine the legitimate operation of this contest may be a violation of criminal or civil laws. Should such an attempt be made, SciCast reserves the right to seek damages from any such individual to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law and/or to take other actions deemed necessary by SciCast in its sole discretion to protect its rights. Each entrant agrees to indemnify, hold harmless, and defend SciCast against any and all third party claims or demands and all related liabilities, damages, settlements, costs, and expenses (including but not limited to, reasonably attorney fees) arising out of any act, or omission of entrant or violation of these Official Rules.

SciCast assumes no responsibility for lost, late, mutilated, incomplete, stolen, misdirected, illegible or otherwise unacceptable entries, or for any computer, telephone, cable, network, satellite, electronic or Internet hardware or software malfunctions, failures, delays, interruptions or garbled or jumbled transmissions, or service provider/Internet/web site accessibility or availability, traffic congestion, or unauthorized human intervention that might interfere with your entry to or participation in the contest. SciCast website availability during the Contest Period will be at the sole and absolute discretion of SciCast.

IN NO EVENT WILL SCICAST, ITS LICENSEES AND OR THEIR PARENTS, AFFILIATES, SUBSIDIARIES AND RELATED COMPANIES, THEIR ADVERTISING OR PROMOTION AGENCIES OR THEIR RESPECTIVE OFFICERS, DIRECTORS, EMPLOYEES, REPRESENTATIVES AND AGENTS, BE RESPONSIBLE OR LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES OR LOSSES OF ANY KIND, INCLUDING DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL OR PUNITIVE DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF YOUR ACCESS TO AND USE OF THE SCICAST INTERNET SITE (scicast.org) OR THE DOWNLOADING FROM AND/OR PRINTING MATERIAL DOWNLOADED FROM SAID SITE. WITHOUT LIMITING THE FOREGOING, EVERYTHING ON THIS SITE IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR NON-INFRINGEMENT. SOME JURISDICTIONS MAY NOT ALLOW THE LIMITATIONS OR EXCLUSION OF LIABILITY FOR INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES OR EXCLUSION OF IMPLIED WARRANTIES SO SOME OF THE ABOVE LIMITATIONS OR EXCLUSIONS MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU. CHECK YOUR LOCAL LAWS FOR ANY RESTRICTIONS OR LIMITATIONS REGARDING THESE LIMITATIONS OR EXCLUSIONS.

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6 thoughts on “Gift Card Lotteries – Official Contest Rules

  1. Pingback: SciCast Recruitment Announcement | The Official SciCast Blog

  2. sflicht

    [Crossposting my comment from https://scicast.org/#!/questions/747/comments/safe :]

    It’s a pretty good mechanism, with the market expectation used for determining accuracy being chosen at a random snapshot on the day after the forecasts inquestion are made. But it still incentivizes “one day of stubbornness” — forecast on Thursday boldly enough to get a good score but conservatively enough to have a point reserve to defend the position on Friday. (Then allow the market to correct on Saturday.) Would this count as “Engaging in any kind of purposefully losing behavior”, and thus be grounds for disqualification?

    [Added: dvasya observed in response, correctly I believe, that this tactic is self-limiting and thus not a particular cause for concern.]

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    1. ctwardy

      Some “stubbornness” is an expected response to this incentive structure, and is allowed. But as noted, any obvious attempt will create a strong incentive for others to counter you. Also, the larger payout at the end (~Aug 15) will use an averaged expected value: gaming that would be even harder.

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      Reply
  3. Jessie Jury

    The SciCast Team has modified the details of the upcoming special after deciding that a more reasonable payoff scheme awards 20 prizes the day after eligible activity and 60 prizes near the end of the special based on the same eligible activity. The rules of the lottery for gift cards have been updated to express this change.

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