I put on my “press” hat after spending Tuesday morning on the “Best Practices for Covering Sports Gambling” panel at the AP Sports Editors conference at the Flamingo in Las Vegas.
I shared how I started my journalistic career in the suburbs of Chicago and dreamed of being the beat writer for The Bears, and how a trip to nearby Arlington Park in 1990, which is unfortunately on its last legs, got me into horse racing and gambling – and eventually turned me on the dark side of sports betting journalism when very few covered the industry. If we had a sports betting writers’ meeting around the turn of the century, we could have held it in my Saturn (how’s that for historical reference?).
However, I also believed that sports betting was a legitimate success, as was covering a team or any other part of the sports world. That’s how I did it in my stints in Daily Racing Form and on my own ViewFromVegas.com Website, ESPN.com and VSiN.com. Although sports betting was only legal in Nevada until the 2018 Supreme Court ruled that all states could decide for themselves, interest in how Vegas Sport saw in relation to futures book odds and individual game lines has always been high.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal sports editor Bill Bradley moderated the panel and praised Brent Musburger for launching VSiN as the first sports betting network in 2017. We were joined by Todd Dewey from the Review-Journal; Patrick Everson, formerly Covers.com and soon to make a new appearance in the emerging sports betting world; and Doug Kezirian of ESPN Daily Wager and ESPN.com/chalk.
We all shared from our perspective how the industry got to this point and how we don’t see its expansion slowing anytime soon. I pointed out that the pandemic slowed growth only slightly, but it is recovering. We have all seen the sporting world change to the point where it is no longer surprising that point spreads flow at the bottom of our television screens, and those odds and the over / unders no longer need to be vaguely whispered to yourself . like Musburger and Al Michaels used to do.
As the football season approaches, we will also see an avalanche of sports betting shows on TV and radio as well as online. It was so exciting to see and hear so many sports writers from across the country interested in dedicating their staff to sports betting coverage in their states – especially where it is legal. But newspapers in other states are also seeing interest in adding at least some sports betting content to their more traditional coverage.
Who is the game
I was thrilled to receive a promo from the New York Post on Monday that said, “Games Can Burn 200 Calories an Hour.” For a long time the casino industry has used gambling as a gambling euphemism and I thought this story must be great news, especially since my wife always makes it difficult for me to spend my entire day at the computer.
So imagine my disappointment when I clicked the link and the actual headline read, “Video Gamers Can Burn 200 Calories In One Hour of Gambling: Studying.” It wasn’t about gambling at all.
I believe that my daily involvement with sports betting is getting me a lot more exercise than any other player I have ever seen. You all know how you feel after watching an exciting game – it’s like you’ve had a three-hour cardio workout! Who will be with me when we get fit for the soccer season?