No Futures in Elections: Regulators

Photograph by Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images

A Connecticut delegate at the Democratic National Convention on Aug. 28, 2008.

It’s a big election.

Just don’t bet on it.

There may be a future in elections, just no place for futures in the contests.

U.S. regulators have barred a Chicago exchange from allowing trades in derivatives tied to the outcome of the 2012 elections — rejecting it as gambling.

As Silla Brush reports for Bloomberg, the North American Derivatives Exchange had been seeking to offer contracts tied to which political party would control the  House, Senate and White House after November’s elections.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, regulator of futures contracts tied to wheat, oil, natural gas and other commodities, has ordered the Chicago exchange not to list election contracts for clearing or trading.

“We felt strongly that these products met all legal and regulatory criteria for listing,” Tim McDermott, general counsel at Nadex, said in an e-mailed statement, “and that the public would benefit from having these products traded on a well-regulated exchange.”

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