Why Hollywood Doesn't Want You Betting on Hollywood

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Vanity Fair

Why Hollywood Doesn't Want You Betting on Hollywood

Robin D. Hanson | Apr 12, 2010

When last we heard about scrappy financial-services firm Cantor Fitzgerald , it was proposing to turn the play-money Hollywood Stock Exchange into an actual stock exchange. As early as April 16th, bored production assistants and institutional investors everywhere might have been able to play Studio Chief: the Home Game, by betting on the box-office performances of the weekend’s films, and probably losing their shirts. But then Hollywood woke up and realized the Financial Apocalypse would be coming soon to a theater near them. (Another exchange proposed by Veriana Networks doing pretty much the same thing but for institutional investors only also awaits a decision from the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission on Friday.)

In a show of unity as rare as a herd of cats voting to pass health care reform, the Motion Picture Association of America led studios, guilds, and theater-owner organizations in writing a letter last week to the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission in D.C., warning that such an exchange would be little more than an elaborate gambling den with Date Night as its cock-in-the-fight. What could possibly be so bad about betting on the weekend box office that studio chiefs, theater owners, and labor unions everywhere have momentarily stopped stabbing each other in the backs to oppose it? We’ll try (and fail) to explain after the jump.

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