Sports Betting and Sports Journalism – The Time has come

As the full scope of the regulated sports betting market comes into focus in the United States, there will be many ancillary businesses that will blossom and bloom. One of which is a whole new market of gambling journalism (editor’s note: this is exactly what our site is about -making sure you are on top of the latest news in the industry). No longer will you be looking to 800 numbers and offshore sites for your betting information. In this new day and age, it should be out in the limelight along with the lines themselves. Let’s discuss gambling journalism in more detail.

The OGs of sports betting journalism

Even though U.S. sports betting is only now going to be legal outside of Nevada, it has been a horribly kept secret that Americans have been betting on sports for decades. One obvious example of this is that one of the major television networks used to employ the services of a bookmaker in its pre-game show. Those of you reading this of a certain age are sure to remember Jimmy the Greek discussing betting lines openly on a pre-game NFL show in the 1970s and 1980s. Now, back in those days, there were no online sportsbooks for players to make bets, so this was an admittance and acceptance that illegal sports betting was happening at the local level. Jimmy the Greek is long gone, but his partner in crime during those years, Brent Musburger, kept that conversation alive during his play-by-play broadcasts. There were many instances where Musburger referenced betting lines during late scores in games, and it was clear that he wanted to be more a part of the action. He has fulfilled his wish in his later years, having launched the Vegas Stats & Information Network, broadcasting out of the South Point Casino. Having gotten a jump on the U.S. regulation, we should expect to hear his name across many of the airwaves state-by-state as regulated sports betting moves across the country.

Taking Sports Betting to Bristol

ESPN has had a long-standing relationship with sports betting, especially when it comes to football. Chris Berman, who hosted NFL Countdown for two decades, donned his “Swami” personal to make selections based on the point spread for years. Now, this was definitely a nod to the gamblers out there, otherwise why would he be taking points in any of the games.

Pushing sports betting even further into the limelight in the last few years is Scott Van Pelt. Van Pelt, one of the only original Sportscenter anchors left working at the mothership in Bristol, is an unabashed proponent of legal sports betting in America. On his midnight edition of Sportscenter, he often hosts a segment based on bad beats in the sporting world – teams that late in games sealed the fate of gamblers despite the odds stacked against them. Those of us in the gambling world have been very appreciative of the efforts of Van Pelt in this regard, and it is now crossing over into the general gambling industry. Van Pelt will serve as a keynote speaker in the Sports Betting track at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas in October. He will be speaking on the impact of the regulated sports betting market on the U.S. sports leagues.

Gambling Networks in the Future?

It is difficult to say where the convergence of sports betting and journalism will lead, but if Daily Fantasy Sports is any indication, then we can expect to see a significant amount of sports betting content to be delivered to us in the near future. Already, podcasts like Against All Odds are bringing gambling on sports to the mainstream, and it seems only a matter of time before ESPN repurposes one of their networks for a gambling-focused network. There is a lot of information that players are looking for and traditional media continues to be a source of that knowledge. We fully expect to see a glut of new content in the next few months, especially as larger states like New York and California legalize sports betting.

One thing that we can be sure of is that for every Brent Musburger and Scott Van Pelt, there are dozens of broadcasters and journalists who have kept a finger on the pulse of sports betting in the U.S. and given the number of ways we can ingest media these days, it won’t belong before each of them have their own soapbox with which to sway your gambling thoughts and decisions.

We are always on the hunt for great gambling content – if you know of a podcast we should be promoting, or a handicapper that seems to need more exposure, we encourage you to send us an email and let us know!


Our in-house expert for all things regulation, Jackson covers all major recent developments across US states relating to gambling laws & legislation.