Chicago Bets on the Box Office

Movie fans can predict the success of a film and possibly win some money

By Aixa Velez
|  Saturday, Mar 13, 2010  |  Updated 5:42 PM CDT
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Devoted movie fans who pay close attention to the box office can now take put their money where their mouth is.

The first of two proposed movies futures exchange is headed to Chicago and should be up and running by mid year.

Trend Exchange is a new online futures market that will allow anyone, in essence, to bet on whether a movie will be a hit or a flop, reported The New York Times.  This new exchange is waiting for approval, which should take place by March 24, meaning gamblers should have ample time to weigh in on the next Batman flick.

In the meantime, the exchange has set up shop here in Chicago with 22 employees. 

Why Chicago if it’s Hollywood focused?  Because of the expertise that has grown up around the city’s other big exchanges, said Robert Swagger, CEO of Veriana Networks LLC, to Crain’s Chicago Business. Chicago hosts two of the largest futures exchanges in the world in the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade.

Veriana Networks LLC is the venture-capital group backing and building the movie futures exchange.

The way the exchange works is the bettor trades $1 for ever $1 million they expect the movie to make.  If a movie were expected to make $100 in its opening weeks, a $100 contract would earn the bettor $50 should the movie sell $150 million in tickets.

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