Chicago Olympic Market Might Have Value, Says Reitz

A credible source of information about Chicago's chances of hosting the 2016 Olympics would have value, says columnist Bill Barnhart. Local real estate developers, hotel operators, employment agencies, vendors of products and services to major events and others have a direct stake in whether or not an Olympics is staged here. Politicians and civic leaders presumably would want to know whether the city's bid has a chance, so that they wouldn't throw good money after bad. An auction market centered on whether Chicago will win could provide that information, even if there were no huge payoff for hedgers or speculators, said finance professor THOMAS RIETZ at the University of Iowa, a board member of the popular Iowa Electronic Markets. The Iowa market limits wagers to $500 but has an enviable track record in picking the winners of national elections. "Our goal is to aggregate information, which is a different goal than being able to hedge the economic risk associated with something like this," Rietz said. "I don't think it's an outlandish idea."

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