A just-for-fun stock exchange that lets users gamble on the ups and downs of Hollywood is turning into a real exchange with real dollars at stake.
"Buy shares of your favorite actors and their new movies. Watch their values rise or fall based on their success. Prices soar with a blockbuster opening at the box office and plummet with a bomb no one went to see," according to the site.
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As of today, deals are made with Hollywood Dollars. On April 20, all that will change.
Cantor Fitzgerald, which owns HSX, released this statement on its website:
Cantor Exchange expects to receive final approval of the exchange's market and clearinghouse applications from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission by Tuesday, April 20, 2010, and will commence trading of Domestic Box Office Receipt (DBOR) Movie Futures contracts shortly thereafter
Cantor president Richard Jaycobs told the Hollywood Reporter that the response has been stellar so far.
"The number of people who visit movie theaters each year and form opinions about a film's success is in the tens of millions. We believe that's the reason the public response to this product has been very positive," he told the newspaper.
Now that real dollars are up for grabs, there are serious consequences for insider trading, notes TechCrunch's MG Siegler:
And while the target audience is film fanatics, they're also targeting Hollywood industry types, though warns that anyone doing any kind of insider trading is subject to prosecution just as with any other market.
HSX, which is headquartered in Los Angeles, was founded in 1996.