WASHINGTON, D.C.— Dennis Kelleher, Co-founder, President, and CEO, issued the following statement in connection with KalshiEX, LLC’s (Kalshi) lawsuit to overturn the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) Order rejecting Kalshi’s self-certified political control event contract:
“It was a sure bet that Kalshi would file a lawsuit to overturn the CFTC’s well-grounded, thoughtful, 23-page Order rejecting Kalshi’s backdoor attempt to unleash gambling on U.S. elections through so-called event contracts. As that Order, CFTC Chair Behnam’s statement, Better Markets’ comment letter, letters from Senators and Congressmen, and most of the 1,378 public comments make clear, Kalshi’s proposal violated numerous provisions of the Commodities Exchange Act. Moreover, at a time when there are already historically high concerns about the integrity of our elections, the CFTC properly evaluated the multiple fatal flaws in Kalshi’s self-certified contract and decided that it was a clear violation of public policy as well.
“Derivatives markets overseen and regulated by the CFTC are vital to and impact every American, from the price and availability of their breakfast cereal, lunch sandwich bread, gas for their cars, and oil to heat their homes. Those markets exist to help commercial enterprises (physical producers and purchasers of products) protect themselves from financial risks and determine fair prices for what they buy and sell. While limited speculation is allowed to facilitate that trading among the commercial enterprises, these markets are not intended or designed for retail traders or to be casinos for wild speculation-only bets. The markets are supposed to support the people and businesses who actually make, sell, and buy things. That’s why the law places limits on how much people can speculate, or gamble, in those markets. The CFTC is mandated to ensure that the markets do not suffer from excess speculation, which disrupts markets, harms producers and purchasers, and is decidedly detrimental to consumers. Kalshi’s proposal was unquestionably inconsistent with those mandates and objectives.
“With at least hundreds of millions and more likely billions of dollars being bet via Kalshi’s proposal and with the rise of low-cost social media and artificial intelligence, allowing betting on U.S. elections would almost certainly lead to election interference, abuses, and other illegal conduct. Gamblers will almost certainly try to influence political outcomes to ensure winning bets, as is increasingly seen with gambler interference in other activities. Even a small amount of money spent on negative ads can have a big impact on close races, local elections, and primaries with low voter turnout, especially if these ads are shown right before an election when there’s no time for an opponent to respond. Incentivizing election interference is the last thing this country needs right now.
“Kalshi’s lawsuit therefore lacks merit and we look forward to supporting the CFTC’s Order.”
Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies—including many in finance—to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit www.bettermarkets.org.