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August 2, 2023

Senators Join Growing Call for CFTC to Reject Proposal to Allow Gambling on U.S. Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Senators Jeff Merkley (OR), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Edward Markey (MA), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Chris Van Hollen (MD), and Dianne Feinstein (CA) sent a letter to the CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam opposing KalshiEX LLC’s (Kalshi) proposal for self-certified political control event contracts. The Senators join Better Markets and hundreds of policymakers, advocacy groups, experts and citizens who have called for the CFTC to reject Kalshi’s proposal to gamble on US elections.

“We applaud the Senators’ leadership in calling for the CFTC to reject this dangerous proposal and threat to our democracy,” said Dennis Kelleher, Co-founder, President, and CEO of Better Markets. “The important markets regulated by the CFTC were not established to be a gambler’s casino but to facilitate the delivery of essential goods to Americans by enabling commercial entities to manage the price risk associated with their productive commercial activities. Kalshi’s event contract will serve none of these critical functions. Indeed, just the opposite: it will pose serious threats to investors, markets, and our democracy. While Kalshi is trying to use the backdoor of the CFTC to sneak its election gambling proposal through, it’s clear that when presented with the facts, citizens, organizations, and members of Congress alike see the risks and dangers from bets of as much as $100 million per trader on our elections.”

The Senators wrote in the letter: “There is no doubt that the mass commodification of our democratic process would raise widespread concerns about the integrity of our electoral process. Such an outcome is in clear conflict with the public interest and would undermine confidence in our political process — we urge the CFTC to deny Kalshi’s proposal.”

Last week Congressmen Sarbanes (MD-3) and Raskin (MD-8) also opposed Kalshi in a letter to the CFTC. “No one should be able to wager the rights and opportunities of millions of individuals for his or her personal gain. Elections free from interference, abuse or the corrupting influence of money are in the public interest, as is the prohibition of activities that could reasonably incentivize individuals to interfere with our electoral process,” they wrote.

In addition to Dennis Kelleher’s op-ed on these issues in The Hill here, Better Markets filed a detailed comment letter opposing Kalshi’s proposal and a joint letter from numerous organizations also opposing the proposal. Finally, Better Markets responded to Kalshi’s touting the support of a disgraced political consultant/FTX and Sam Bankman-Fried ally/and admitted election gambler here. Kalshi’s also touted the support of a crypto lobbyist who was a former staffer to Sen. Markey, who is now definitively rebutted by Sen. Markey’s opposition to Kalshi as noted in the letter above.


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

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