Ralph's Reviews: The Media and Sports Gambling

It has become obvious that sports has become a money grab for big industries, and everyone wants a piece of the pie. In fact, ESPN and FOX Sports respectably have joined some of the most popular fantasy football websites currently available. Sports networks for the longest time tried to distance themselves from sports gambling, but it has grown in popularity so much that they are now open to participating. It is not just fantasy sports, but it also includes college football and many other sports that now consume the world of sports with gambling. 


I will use fantasy football as an example, many do not consider fantasy football as gambling, but you could certainly make the argument. I admit I participate in fantasy football. Both in a free league and a money league. I do not have a problem with traditional fantasy football. The problem I have is with these websites that get in on it and run the daily or weekly fantasy leagues. The difference in a traditional fantasy league and a league not being traditional is... in a traditional league you are locked into a league and a team for an entire season. You have to commit to it, of course for fun, but you know what you are getting with a traditional league. With a weekly or even daily league you risk putting money in with a smaller probability of winning the reward since the number of players is greater in volume. I can assure you more players end up losing than winning in non-traditional leagues. Rather you win or lose the non-traditional websites/leagues make money off you either way. With a traditional league in my opinion you know more up front about what your chances are and how it works. Daily and weekly fantasy football is just a gimmick as far as I am concerned. I consider daily and weekly football gambling. I do not consider traditional fantasy leagues gambling because there is an option to play for free if you wish not to play for money. That is the difference between the two in my opinion.


Sports gambling in general has been around about as long as sports were invented. Horse racing for example... It is just until now that the media and big corporations have gotten in on it. Some people have no problem with the media promoting gambling, and some do. For me I do have a problem with the media promoting gambling. I heard an interesting perspective from a sports talk show where a caller called in. My takeaway from the caller was that it is not right for the media to introduce gambling to kids. I agree, if you just wanted to innocently watch a game with children in the room you should be able to enjoy the game and the competition of the game without the media shoving gambling in your face. It seems every sports network and or channel cannot go minutes or hours without some sort of ad for fantasy football gambling. It is way past crossing the line.


In regards to college football betting and or gambling it gives more people interests in games that they would surely not be interested in if they were not invested financially in the game. Does that make it right? No! 


Continuing to discuss the all in approach of the media on sports gambling, the best example of the media embracing sports gambling was the opening game of the 2015 NFL season which featured the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers. In a game which had already been decided by the score, a touchdown was scored by a Steelers receiver in the closing minute. This is when a Commentator referenced that some people would care greatly because of the score relating to the points spread. This was the first blatant reference to sports gambling during a telecast. Even ESPN's new Sportscenter night show with host Scott Van Pelt features a betting segment titled 'Bad Beats' where they look at spreads and scenarios that cost Vegas and others bets on games. 


I think there is room for spors to talk gambling, but in my opinion there is no room to discuss gambling during live games.