After the holidays, we will officially enter the next election year. It may seem like it's been going on for years, but there's still almost a year to go.
People will make their predictions on who they think will win. Now though, more formalized betting is being touted by the Chicago-based North American Derivatives Exchange, or Nadex. Nadex proposes allowing on-exchange trading for people who would like to predict with their pocketbook the outcome of the next presidential election and which political party will control the U.S. House and Senate. The application has been placed before federal financial regulators.
No problem, right? Well, don't bet on it. In fact, the submission raises concerns. The new financial reform law was abundantly clear that gaming wasn't a legitimate function for regulated markets. This type of betting on elections is illegal in Nevada, and they know what betting means.
The 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform overhaul not only prohibited gaming contracts, but also banned event-based derivatives deemed to be contrary to the public interest. The law further prohibits any such contracts that are tied to terrorism, assassination or war.
Would we really want legalized betting on acts of terror? That's not the stuff for serious federal regulatory oversight.
Congress didn't wanted us to get into the gambling or entertainment business. The U.S. financial markets are serious risk management venues that help facilitate the economic engine of our democracy and determine the prices consumers pay for just about everything from a mortgage to milk. We shouldn't trivialize the importance of these markets.
Our financial markets weren't designed for gaming.
Bart Chilton is a commissioner on the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.