Movie Futures Trading Ban Inches Closer in Senate

Ban included in combined Wall Street reform bill that reached Senate floor Monday

Last Updated: July 20, 2010 @ 4:21 PM

Congress has moved a step closer to banning trading of movie box office futures.

The ban has been incorporated into the final version of Wall Street reform legislation now on the Senate floor.

The legislation calling for the trading restriction is not its own bill but part of a broad package of Wall Street reforms submitted by the Senate Agriculture Committee.

That larger bill conflicted with a second reform package also before the Senate, submitted by the Senate Banking Committee.

Over the weekend, a group of senators — led by Senate Banking Committee chairman Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and Agriculture Committee chairman Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark. — negotiated on a final bill that would draw from both proposals.

That final language was distributed on Monday, including the ban on movie futures.

It bars the Commodity Futures Trading Commission from approving any trading for “movie picture box office receipts (or any index, measure, value or data related to such receipts), in which contracts for future delivery are presently or in the future dealt.”

The ban of movie futures trading was added by Lincoln to the Agriculture Committee bill after the Commodity Futures Trading Commission approved a trading plan by Media Derivatives on April 16. The commission also approved a second plan by Cantor Fitzgerald on April 21.

The commission, however, has only approved the idea of movie futures trading in concept. Both financial organizations now must get the actual contracts approved by the commission.

It must act by June 8 on Media Derivatives’ request and by June 28 on a similar request from Cantor Fitzgerald.

The Senate was expected Monday to formally begin debating the legislation, but Republicans and Democrats, hoping for further compromise before moving forward, temporarily blocked debate.

A Senate vote on the Wall Street reform legislation could take place as soon as next week. The Senate bill still needs to be combined with the package of reforms the House passed late last year.

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