Some students say gambling on grades provides an incentive to ace their classes.

Some students say gambling on grades provides an incentive to ace their classes.

Higher-education officials might have some concerns about a new web site, called Ultrinsic, that is taking wagers on grades from students at 36 colleges nationwide starting this month.

Just as Las Vegas sports books set odds on football games, Ultrinsic will pay you top dollar for A’s, a little less for the more likely outcome of a B average or better, and so on. You can also wager you’ll fail a class by buying what Ultrinsic calls “grade insurance.”

CEO Steven Wolf insists this is not online gambling, which is technically illegal in the United States, because wagers with Ultrinsic involve skill.

“The students have 100 percent control over it, over how they do,” Wolf says. “… The underlying concept is a little bit more than just making a bet — it’s actually an incentive.”

Parents might disagree, however, that it’s a smart way to spend money — never mind whether it’s legal. And a California gambling law expert says they might be right, once you take into account the factors besides skill that contribute to academic performance.

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About the Author:

Meris Stansbury

Meris Stansbury is the Editorial Director for both eSchool News and eCampus News, and was formerly the Managing Editor of eCampus News. Before working at eSchool Media, Meris worked as an assistant editor for The World and I, an online curriculum publication. She graduated from Kenyon College in 2006 with a BA in English, and enjoys spending way too much time either reading or cooking.