US Senators Express Concerns Over Legalizing Election Betting
A group of US Senators has voiced strong opposition to the proposals to legalize election betting in the United States, citing potential risks to the integrity of electoral processes. The issue arose after private predictions firm Kalshi approached the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) with plans to offer event contracts related to the outcome of US elections.
Senators raised concerns
In a joint letter addressed to the CFTC, the Senators raised concerns that Kalshi’s plans could potentially violate CFTC rules governing certain event contracts. The current CFTC regulations prohibit event contracts that are linked to gaming or activities considered unlawful under state laws. The Senators believe that allowing for-profit entities like Kalshi to offer event contracts on political events, such as election outcomes, could pave the way for a large-scale gambling market on elections.
The Senators, including Chris van Hollen (Democrat – Maryland), Jeff Merkley (Democrat – Oregon), Sheldon Whitehouse (Democrat – Rhode Island), Edward Markey (Democrat – Massachusetts), Elizabeth Warren (Democrat – Massachusetts), and Dianne Feinstein (Democrat – California), argued that such a move could lead to interference in elections, eroding the trust in the democratic process and potentially allowing financial interests to unduly influence politics.
“Undermining the voices of voters”
The letter emphasized the potential ethical concerns, such as political insiders leveraging non-public information for personal profit, and the risk of billionaires leveraging their financial power to both place bets and contribute to specific candidates or parties.
The Senators expressed worry that the legalization of election betting could undermine the voices of voters, lead to disenfranchisement, and exacerbate distrust in the political process. They urged the CFTC to reject Kalshi’s proposal to ensure the integrity of the US electoral system and prevent any potential negative impacts on the democratic process.