Gambling and the Media
With the NFL season in full swing, it is time to turn our attention to how the media is going to handle all of this newly-regulated sports gambling in the United States. Before May, the only place you could bet legally on sports was in Nevada, but we all know that people have been betting online at black-market offshore sportsbooks to the tune of billions of dollars.
Broadcasters would never dare to associate themselves with those entities, so discussion of gambling was limited to showing some point spreads during previews and the occasional comment by a broadcaster. Al Michaels and Brent Musburger are two of the most notorious, often mentioning how missed field goals and long touchdowns late in games would have an effect on gamblers.
There have been several announcements over the last few months regarding new sports gambling content, so we thought we would review a few here for you.
The podcasting world has taken the United States (and the planet) by storm in recent years, These days, there are podcasts on just about any topic, and the ease at which they can be produced has given rise to amateur journalists around the country.
Given the nature of the consumption, we have seen several black-market sportsbooks such as Bovada and MyBookie take advantage of the space, buying advertising on many podcasts that are sports-related. For the time being, this seems to be all above board, but who knows how long it will be until these ads have to be pulled.
There are a couple of gambling podcasts that we would like to highlight. Against All Odds is a sports betting podcast on the Ringer podcast network that is an offshoot of a regular segment on the Bill Simmons Podcast. Cousin Sal (of the Jimmy Kimmel show) is a heavy gambler, and he is joined by some of his degenerate friends to discuss all the bets they have made and plan to make along the way.
A new entrant to the podcast industry is GambleOn, which is a podcast more focused on the regulated sports betting industry in the U.S. than on the games themselves. There is some excellent insight into what has been happening in the states that already accept sports bets legally and which states are the next to follow suit.
We can expect many more sports betting podcasts in the coming weeks and months.
Taking the discussion of legalized sports betting to the airwaves is a little more tricky than presenting it in podcast form. First of all, there is the issue of regionality – sports betting is not currently legal in the majority of U.S. states, and while this will change over the next couple of years, the bottom line is that broadcasting a conversation about betting may send and an eager player to an offshore site. Regardless, there has been some recent movement on that front.
This past week, Cousin Sal was rewarded for his podcast work by being given his own show on Fox Sports. This daily, 60-minute live show includes other hosts and guests as well but is focused on the best bets for the evening ahead in all the major sports. This is a huge move by a largely conservative network. CBS has followed suit, launching a sports betting program on their CBS Sports network in September. This program also intends on giving bettors the most information possible to make smarter bets.
So far, ESPN has said that they will take a pass on discussing sports betting on the air or in programming. However, their lead Sportscenter anchor Scott Van Pelt often discusses odds and bad beats on his broadcast. We suspect it won’t take too long for the company to reverse its decision and add some sort of gambling-focused programming.
There has always been a smattering of betting information in the newspaper – usually under the guise of being for fun only, but sports bettors can see past that. We expect that coverage to expand, and while there hasn’t been much in the way of announcements, there is one publication we expect to see in the coming weeks.
The Daily Racing Form has announced the launch of a Daily Sports Betting Form – a way for bettors to get all the pertinent information in print form. We aren’t sure how easy this will be to manage with so many changes happening on a daily basis, but we applaud the company for trying this and looking for more revenues than those that are coming currently from a dwindling horse racing business.
There will no doubt be many more sports betting vehicles launched in the coming months, so have a look back here for more information and reviews as they become available. One thing is for certain: as long as there is legal sports betting in the U.S., there will be “experts” talking about it everywhere.