While many people sweat out their returns in the real stock market every day, there are a variety of virtual stock exchange games that allow the players to feel the roller coaster ride of the market without any real money at risk. These virtual stock exchange games often award prizes such as money, trips or big ticket items for the players who perform the best during the game. While it is unethical, there are ways to cheat at virtual stock exchange games online.
In theory, many people just have one stock portfolio in their real lives. While they may have 401(k) plans or other retirement accounts that have money invested in the stock market in some manner, most people generally have just one investment account in which they trade stock. Therefore, when you play a virtual stock market game, it is considered unethical to operate more than one account. Why? Because this allows you to take both ends of the trade. For instance, if you feel a stock may rise or fall sharply, you can go long, or short that stock in two different accounts. Whichever way that the stock actually moves, you will benefit. This will make one accounts successful, while the other account will be worthless. Many virtual stock exchange games disqualify players who have multiple accounts for that very reason.
If you are in a closed circuit virtual exchange stock market game, it means that there are a limited number of players. If the stocks in the game are "virtual" (meaning they are not actual companies traded), then their prices will be tied to the demand created within that game. If certain players collude with each other, they can drive a price of a stock way up quickly. Then, when the stock is at the very top, the players who have colluded can "sell" their shares all at once causing the price of the stock to drop quickly. This leaves the last guy who purchased the stock "holding the bag" as they say. Think of the same way penny stock scams operate where people bid up the price of a penny stock and then pull their money out all at once.
The SEC, or Securities and Exchange Commission, requires that companies that are publicly traded do certain things such as file quarterly reports and hold conference calls detailing the companies' health. It is incumbent upon every investor to do his own "due diligence," however, players in a virtual stock exchange game can thwart other investors by mis-directing them with false information. Many of these players also communicate on chat boards, which is part of the social aspect of the game. If you want your opponent to make a move to buy or sell stock, you might provide him with false information about a company. The further you go with creating false news articles, or releases, the better the chance that your opponent might take the bait. While this might not work for a huge company such IBM or Apple, if a player is holding a smaller company, he might be into the hype.
- stock image by Michael Shake from Fotolia.com