What Happens When The Publisher is a Casino

Last year I was happy to receive a gifted subscription to The Athletic, a subscription-based sports outlet. It has some fine writers. Now they’ve partnered with a sports gambling company, BetMGM. Nando Di Fino:

From the day we started the fantasy sports section, I’ve gotten one question, repeatedly:
“Why Chris Vaccaro?”
But a close second is, “When is The Athletic going to get into sports betting?”
My friends, the answer is … “today.”

You might think that just means they’ll provide coverage targeted towards gambling, but no, it’s worse:

As you may have seen pretty much everywhere, we’ve partnered with BetMGM. This was not, by any means, a short process — I think it’s been about eight months in the making. I want to assure you that your overall experience on The Athletic will mostly remain unchanged. And in most cases, it’ll get much better and deliver way more value.

[…]

So whether you want to tinker with our models before you place a sizeable wager, read some columns and simply enjoy the insights because it makes you a smarter fan, or maybe you’re like me and want to try a $3 longshot parlay across a few sports that will pay back $213.10 — we’re here for you. And we’ll be here in the comment sections for your feedback, questions, concerns, or general razzing of bad advice. (Try as we might to avoid it, there will be bad advice. That I can promise.)

I don’t doubt that most, if not the majority, of money that funds publishing is corrupt because it is impossible to earn a dollar under capitalism without stepping on someone else, but it is difficult to imagine a more brazen hijacking of the process of reporting than explicitly joining, and thus foisting your readers directly into, gambling.

Incredible but maybe not entirely surprising for an outfit that was originally born out of the notoriously libertarian Y Combinator start-up program.

I’m very curious what writers for The Athletic who aren’t making bank on this deal think about the situation.

Author: Jack Slater

A Philadelphian living in Hawaii. You can follow or contact me on Twitter where I'm @NuclearSlater, via the contact page, or via e-mail to zjs@zacharyjackslater.com. Find out more about Nuclear Monster here.

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