Before December 1, 2009, no one knew that Cantor Fitzgerald was planning to launch box office betting.
This column broke the story after Howard Lutnick, the head of CF, told me about it in passing. The Drudge Report, our favorite website, picked it up and linked to us.
Since then, all hell has broken loose. Congress is now involved. There’s a bill to prevent box office betting winding its way around Capitol Hill.
Now comes word that Cantor Fitzgerald’s benign non pro site, Hollywood Stock Exchange, has laid off most of its staff. No doubt the expense of defending this very poorly thought out idea has cost Cantor too much money. What a shame.
Cantor suffered an unimaginable tragic blow when its offices were part of the World Trade Center disaster of September 11, 2001. Lutnick’s own brother died in the horror. Since then, CF has had to rebuild.
Betting on the box office was not the way to go. The chances for potential bad faith activity were just too high. I said it from the beginning on December 1st. I said to it Howard Lutnick. Fantasy betting, yes. But real betting: no. It’s not going to happen.
By the way, for what it’s worth, trading on both Mel Gibson and Tom Cruise is sharply down this week.