Gambling continues to be infused into professional sports as sports betting becomes legal in more and more states throughout the country.
It has companies like Disney embracing the gambling component of sports through ESPN and ABC with shows dedicated to discussing point spreads and betting lines.
But the lines continued to be blurred between what is acceptable and not as the two worlds emerge.
Timothy L. O’Brien of Bloomberg noted in a story about Disney/ESPN’s embrace of sports gambling that reporter Adam Schefter recently invested in Boom Entertainment, which creates sports and casino gambling apps and is currently developing “real money gaming products.”
Among the co-investors is New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
This raises some questions for Schefter, who is considered an “NFL Insider.”
As O’Brein notes: “Schefter’s sstock in trade are football scoops such as new contracts, trades, injuries, starting line-ups and the other gossipy stuff that gives viewers a sense of who’s up or down, and who might win or lose. That information is also valuable to gamblers— or anyone who might own, say, a sizeable stake in a newfangled gmabling company interested in digital sports betting.
“Viewers, and Schefter’s 8.5 million Twitter followers, might end up wondering whether he will shade his opinions or bury important information if directly or indirectly has money riding on games and athletes. It gives a whole new meaning to ‘NFL Insider,’ but ESPN seems unconcerned.”
O’Brien wrote he reached out to ESPN about any potential conflict of interest policy existed involving Schefter’s involvement with Boom Entertainment, but the network declined to comment.
ESPN also declined comment to O’Brien’s inquiry if it felt any social or business lines were getting cross amid the sports betting boom.
This is not the first time Schefter has been viewed as having a conflict of interest.
As Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk pointed out, Schefter held a spot on the advisory board of Don Yee’s Pacific Pro Football League. Yee represents several NFL clients, including Tom Brady.
Ultimately, Schefter stepped down despite ESPN stating that his involvement did not violate company policies.