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"Real Sports" goes deep on team ownership's dive into sports betting

Team owners and league officials have "gone all in" on sports betting despite a time when they once "claimed to oppose gambling," according to HBO's Bryant Gumbel. The net's Jon Frankel said in today’s legalized gambling environment, it "can be hard to tell where your local sports arena ends, and the casino begins.” Monumental Sports & Entertainment Chair & CEO Ted Leonsis said of partnering with Caesars, “This is the fastest-growing new business in Washington D.C. and it's unfolded the way we were expecting.” Leonsis: “It'll make sports programming even more valuable because you're much more engaged. It used to be there'd be a blowout in the game and everyone would tune out. Now you're watching to the end to see what your bet will be.”

GUARDING AGAINST POTENTIAL ISSUES: Frankel touched on the dark side of gambling, noting since the "sports betting boom began, phone calls to gambling addiction hotlines have skyrocketed.” Frankel asked Leonsis, “Could you foresee a situation in which one of your loyal season ticketholders gets themselves into gambling trouble and turns around and says, ‘If he hadn't had a sportsbook in his arena, I never would have gotten myself into trouble and it's your fault.’” Leonsis: “I'm sure that something like that could happen. But Caesars is the provider of the services, and the odds, and the book. They're the ones who would be managing, ‘How much money could this person bet?’ If you're gambling too much, there's an algorithm that says they'll shut you off" (“Real Sports,” HBO, 1/25).

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