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Monday, June 28, 2010

Hollywood Studios Attempt To Stop Movie Futures Market, by Greg Tingle - 29th June 2010

Entertainment insiders, movers n shakers, and star gazers, Hollywood has caught the gaming and gambling bug, while some factions are pro, some con. The old guard is generally looking to protect their turf. Legal eagles and Hollywood movie moguls have been hitting the phones and using their political clout in attempt see things go their way. Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment may have deals with the likes of PartyGaming, but that doesn't mean they are a lock for Hollywood movie exchanges. Media Man and Gambling911 embed themselves in the action...

Hollywood's old guard movie studios are on the brink of winning their battle against the movie futures markets, with United States legislators likely to outlaw such trades within days.

At last count 6 Hollywood studios are pushing to see movie betting banned and canned (in the bin, not in the can)... in movie speak.

Currently movie futures contracts allow and facilitate speculators to bet on the box office success or failure of a particular film. The first of these new era contracts, for the Matt Dillon and Chris Brown flick Takers, was approved by the United States Federal regulator over a fortnight ago and the new Sylvester Stallone film The Expendables was due to be approved by the regulator. Sly "Rambo" Stallone is quietly fired up say insiders, but the old guard is looking to put ice on his fire. Stallone and mate, Arnie, have had a taste of the Hollywood - gaming connection previously with both the Rambo and The Terminator Hollywood slot games that are offered via PartyGaming, in play for free or play for money options. StudioCanal greenlighted Sly's PartyGaming deal a few years ago. Orion Pictures Corporation was originally behind The Terminator deal. Orion still operates today, but it is now an in-name-only subsidiary of MGM. They acquired Filmways and The Samuel Goldwyn Company, but they do not own Samuel Goldwyn Films. In the past years other entertainment brands such as Marvel Entertainment followed suit into gaming and gambling, usually with good to great success, by CryptoLogic had mixed results, with PartyGaming blitzing them for service, gameplay, credibility, affiliate program offerings and overall stability. Marvel best adapted to the igaming world say analysts.

Movie Slot Games: Movie Betting Next? Legal Eagles Fly...

The powerful Motion Picture Association of America has been lobbying lawmakers to outlaw movie futures, arguing the market would be easily manipulated and skew the public's perception of movies before they open. The association firms believes rival studios could potentially sabotage films by betting against them.

Trading would be based on the amount of money a movie takes in during its opening weekend. The exchange would set the initial odds for contracts, but those odds would change based on the bidding of investors. An investor who buys a contract with longer odds takes on greater risk and the potential to earn more money.

Example?...an "investor" may think a movie will make at least $75 million in its first weekend. The exchange finds an investor who thinks the movie will fall short of that mark and the two investors enter the contract together. When the movie receipts come in the one who is correct gets a % on top of their investment based on the odds received. The other loses their investment! It's put your money where your mouth is maties.

At the weekend, it emerged that a ban on movie futures is in an amendment to President Obama's financial reform Bill, which is likely to be passed by Congress. Two box office futures markets, the well publicized (thanks to The Hollywood Reporter, Gambling911 and Media Man) Trend Exchange and Cantor Exchange, had intended to launch "soon".

Last week, the mastermind or 'Evil Genius' if you will, behind Trend Exchange, Robert Swagger, vowed to launch to market even if the ban was passed and fight the Government in court on the grounds the regulator had already granted approval. But an MPAA spokesman said the ban makes it retrospective to June 1 - before the regulator issued the approval. Legal eagles best or worst nightmare... add it to the legal bill hey.

Academics, Professors And Smart Cookies Weight Into Debate...

Associate professor Barry Burgan, head of the business school at the Australia's University of Adelaide, advised a movie futures market would provide valuable information about which films were likely to succeed (or fail). "Only one out of a large number of films produce returns and if you can provide ways to predict that better you can improve the outcomes," he said. With his odds analysis, little wonder Hollywood old guard are not so keen.

Media Man is currently seeking comment from Marvel Entertainment and New York based media entrepreneur, Mort Zuckerman. Zuckeman has previously pointed to online gaming and gambling as a way for U.S newspapers and mainstream media companies to stop their bleeding, following the adaption to a business model adopting to gaming, be it slots, poker, bingo, sports betting or a combination, following the UK media experience. In the meantime Australian newspapers and media firms, Daily Telegraph, and Fairfax Media (Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Brisbane Times, WA Today etc) keep ramping up their gaming, igaming and sports betting involvement.

Aussie casino king James Packer remains keen on his Premier Media Group stock. Premier Media Group also enjoys ties to the sports betting world via Fox Sports, and Packer mate Tom Cruise just happens to sometimes stay at Crown Casino and is featured in the PartyGaming title Mission: Impossible. Coincidence Not! Comon' James and Cruise, shake them up in Hollywood... I'm an investor (in Crown) you know. Got to keep the investors happen. Just don't tell us its impossible, and if need be, speak to Richard Branson who just launched Virgin Gaming, following his success of Virgin Casino (not available to Aussies or Yanks yet). PartyGaming is keen to ramp up more Hollywood involved (and do deals with Crown Limited). Last year PartyPoker referred online poker players to the Aussie Millions Poker Championship in Melbourne, Australia, and the promo worked a charm. We all made money right? Yep. Thanks in advance.

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Wrap Up...

The argements for and against the betting on film releases are many. It's fair to say that the legal eagles on both sides of the equations will pulling out all the stops to see the ideal outcomes for their prospective clients. Hollywood betting... good, bad or neutral? Tell us in the forum, and Tony Clifton and Howard Stern (King Of All Media), we invite your contribution... and everyone else. Your feedback will be taken on board by the powers that be at Gambling911 and Media Man, at a time when The Expendables look to kick booty, and Max Mad 4 is looking to weigh into the Hollywood betting wars. Would you bet against Stallone or Max Max!

Media Man and Gambling911 are website portals covering entertainment, gambling, gaming, sports, politics and much more. Punters, as always, know the odds and have fun.

*The writer is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. Gaming is just one of a bakers dozen of sectors they cover.

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