Would Sports Betting Save US Newspapers?

from the there's-a-gamble dept

This one is from a few weeks back, but I just saw it. Apparently, Mort Zuckerman, owner of the NY Daily News has an interesting (and somewhat different) idea on how to save newspapers: have them be able to take sports bets via their websites. This isn’t currently legal, but he thinks it would work:

There is something that can be done, and the federal government ought to do it: allow sports betting on newspaper Web sites. That would save every newspaper in America. The New York Times.com could do it. Plenty of British papers do this; for them it’s a crucial part of their net revenue stream. I know a major newspaper in London that makes $15 million a year from sports betting alone.

I think it’s a lot better of an idea than a paywall (though, Zuckerman likes the paywall idea, but tellingly notes, “I’ll be the second or third to do it. Not the first.”), but I’m not sure why a newspaper is any better at doing it than other sites. Perhaps because they have the sports reporting, but it’s not clear how that’s really unique to them. On top of that, given the way the US gov’t treats online gambling as being something somewhat close to pure evil, combined with the powerful casino lobby, it’s difficult to see this actually getting anywhere.

Filed Under: , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Would Sports Betting Save US Newspapers?”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Designerfx (profile) says:


I thought the reasoning behind banning online gambling (even beyond the bogus reasons) was that it was considered preying on the disadvantaged? So why would we suddenly want to allow that again?

I mean hey, I think the online ban is ridiculous, but this isn’t a solution either really.

I’d read paper newspapers again if they started fact-checking, reporting on events without bias, and actually doing things the right way (you know, using their freedom of speech, fighting for the people, etc). However, that’ll never happen and hasn’t for years, so good riddance.

Anonymous Coward says:

no. if the news media is allowed to be a sports book then you will no longer be able to take the journalism seriously. The reporters have locker room access and with locker room access comes the ability to see the athletes up close and truly understand injuries, clubhouse dynamics, etc. They would have an unfair advantage in setting spreads and controlling the lines by who they hype up in big matchups.

fogbugzd says:

Would only work if...

This would only work to save newspapers if they managed to do a better job of taking bets than other sources.

I can’t imagine how this could be enforced as newspapers being the only ones allowed to take bets. If that was tried, other sites would spring up that barely meet whatever requirements need to be met to be considered a newspaper.

Newspapers have a natural advantage in that they are a traditional source of news about sports. However, do they have the ability to build and hold a community? History suggests that this is not something that they are good at.

In addition, if one area is generating most of the revenue, management is going to shift its resources into supporting that area. In the long term newspapers would become little more than sports rags, and they probably would spend even less than they do now on investigative reporting and local news.

Doctor Strange says:

It’s as much of a viable business model as any other option where they become something that’s not a newspaper. Like a T-shirt sales company, or an online community/social hub, or a vendor of smoked salmon that uses some of the profits to subsidize their journalism hobby.

They’re not going to be any better at these things than anybody else, and probably worse since they’d have to shed their existing organizational inertia.

Anonymous Coward says:

Why does anyone care to save newspapers anyway (besides newspapers). They are environmentally unfriendly and don’t meet the technology expectations of many of their potential readers. If they go away, it isn’t like we won’t have news and journalists any more… my proposal would be to consolidate newspapers (let capitalism take it’s course effectively) and get on with it already…. let’s be realistic. How long will we need/want a physical paper and others can do better with enabling the delivery process with technology online.

Ben Robinson (profile) says:

Misleading Staw Man

The UK national newspapers that run online gambling operations are very much the tabloid end of the market like The Sun and The Star. These papers can’t really be compared to something like the New York Times. None of the serious newspapers like The Guardian, The Times and The Independent run online gambling websites.

There is a http://www.sunbingo.co.uk/

but there’s no http://www.guardianbingo.co.uk/

People who gamble online are largely the same demographic that read the tabloid newspapers, not the demographic that read the New York Times. If the Guardian started an online gambling site it would probably damage it’s core reputation as a serious newspaper.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:


“On top of that, given the way the US gov’t treats online gambling as being something somewhat close to pure evil, combined with the powerful casino lobby, it’s difficult to see this actually getting anywhere”

That won’t matter. Zuckerman is wining and dining with policy makers as a member of both the CFR and Trilateral Commission. Plus you can see the telltale signs of eventual American adoption of the program by it being tested out in Britain first, somewhat successfully, followed by its use as an example to the American people.

This isn’t a possibility. If Zuckerman is talking about it like this, he’s doing the litmus(sp?) test to make sure EVERYONE doesn’t freak out at the notion. I give it a year before you see this program piloted after being pushed through by one of the elected or appointed government officials in the same groups as Zuckerman.

Chris (user link) says:

Don't see it

Unfortunately, I as a sports bettor, do not see the legalization of online sports gambling for at least three or four more years. However, there is more and more traction and it is gaining ground.

Poker will be the first to become legal, as with the help of ESPN and other media outlets, poker is now viewed as a game of skill and chance, and doesn’t include the social outcasts of sports betting. The World Series of Sports Handicapping or the Hilton Contest needs to be placed on TV and viewed to the world, showing a different side of sports bettors. Only then will betting on sports begin to become socially acceptable.


Sports Fan (user link) says:

Sports Betting is Good For The Environment

1rst off the U.S. Constitution and The American was Founded on The Principles of Not Interfering in “Personal Liberties” and a Grown Person of Legal age Wanting to Bet On a Sporting Event is a Personal Liberty Issue.So i Don’t Know Why They try and Interfere with Internet wager Sites Has Long as People are of Legal Age like it was said above it “saves trees” !!

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...