How does legalized sports betting affect sports media? What is the mood in Vegas? What mistakes should bettors avoid?
This week's SI Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina features interviews with ESPN's Scott Van Pelt and Brent Musburger of SiriusXM's Vegas Sports and Informatin Network, on the historic Supreme Court ruling that made sports betting legal in the United States.
Van Pelt talked about what the ruling means for sports media and whether a slew of gambling programming was inevitable.
"I’d be stunned if you didn’t see us, Fox Sports 1, NBC Sports, CBS Sports, anybody that’s got hours to fill, I’d be shocked if they didn’t take a stab at it.
"But if you’re gonna do it, if you're gonna talk about the topic, then you need to be able to talk about the topic intelligently. "Gambling Twitter" is the most pissed off Twitter of Twitter. Everyone thinks you’re gonna try to sell picks, and anybody who tries to sell picks is a fraud and a charlatan and a crook, so it can’t turn into that because people push back against that."
Van Pelt continued, "The programming I think will happen organically in the sense that you’ll see it bleed into coverage now way less covertly and more overtly. Like, 'Here it is, by the way, this is the number.' I do think the NFL continues to be very hesitant for the time. They’re gonna let others be the ball carrier and as long as they’re hesitant to really embrace it, I think you’ll see networks respect their wishes as it relates to that and not be blatant.
"But the programming is definitely going to happen. Just because A) it’s legal and b) everyone’s got way more hours than they’ve got good content."
“I think it goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway. The whole bad beats and us giving out winners and whatever, people, and it’s not a large segment of the population, but there are people who are gonna say it’s bad it’s a disease. You’re right. If you do too much of it’s bad. Just like alcohol is bad. A beer is fine, but 20 is awful. It’s a topic that I treat for what it is. It’s entertainment. It’s fun. Bad Beats to me if anything it’s saying, why would you ever bet because look how you lose.”
The host of the midnight edition of "SportsCenter" also had a stern warning for those who think this ruling means a windfall.
"The process of putting out picks and documenting picks, if you’ve watched it sort of recreationally and you think, 'Oh well, now I’m gonna bet and I’ll probably win because I have analytics and this and that' -- No, you’re gonna get crushed," he said. "Just understand that. Know that’s the game. It’s entertainment. What are you willing to pay? And as long you get that that’s what it is, then please come jump in the pool. But if you have some wild pipe dream that you’re gonna get rich you’re gonna retire you’re gonna buy a fishing boat, no you’re not."
Van Pelt also discuses whether fringe sports will be helped the most by the ruling, the time he had a terrible run betting baseball, why he loves picking underdogs, why selling picks doesn’t work anymore, why Brent Musburger was ahead of the curve and much more.
Speaking of Musburger, he joined the podcast at the 43-minute mark of the podcast.
The legendary broadcaster revealed what the mood has been like in Sin City this week.
"They’re very upbeat about it," said Musburger. "They think it expands the overall brand of gambling. Vegas is more a convention capital and what these states are about to find out is, gambling on sports is a very small part of a state’s overall revenue. Most of it’s taken in on the slot machines, the table games, the hotel rooms, the food, the shows, things of that nature result in the income here. it’s always gonna be a special destination place. The other thing they were excited about, some of these fellows who work in the sportsbooks, who’ve wanted to move back east or other places in the country, now have an opportunity to get jobs because that’s something else this will provide. You’re gonna need the bookmakers, you’re gonna need the clerks, you’re gonna need those people."
Musburger also explained that live in-game betting has the biggest potential to explode in this new era.
"It’s fascinating, you have to move quickly," he said, before added, "I would not be a really good in-game better because I like my beer and my whiskey when I’m watching the games. But in the UK most of the sports bets today are taken during games and during golf tournaments and things like that. I think that is definitely going to be the growth area."
Musburger also talks about what the ruling means for his VSiN network, why bookmakers will keep things on the up and up, whether he was surprised by the ruling, the chances of a point-shaving scandal, the potential to shop for lines whether bookies are done and his desire to call one more game in the legalized gambling era.
In fact after he dropped one of his vintage, "YOU ARE LOOKING LIVE" lines, Musburger responded to my pitch that ESPN brings him out of retirement this year to call the Las Vegas Bowl. To say he was enthused would be an understatement.
You can listen to the full podcast below or download it on iTunes.
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