Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Casino-hating Philly Paper Now Taking Bets

Now that the fine folks at the Philadelphia Inquirer have done their part to run the world's most respected casino developer out of town and create a toxic environment for anyone even considering opening a gaming establishment in the city of Brotherly Love, what are they doing for an encore?

You'll never believe it.

They're opening up their own casino. Online.


According to the journalism trade publication Editor & Publisher, the newspaper's website, Philly.Com, is the first in the nation to offer online sports betting. From E&P:

In a partnership with FanDuel, a British online betting company, visitors to Instant Fantasy Games can play and win in one-day online fantasy sports games that pay off in real money.

Bettors pick a team from players in scheduled Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association or National Hockey League games that day. If their team wins the fantasy contest, says, there are "instant cash prizes -- win tonight!" Users pay a $5 entry fee for each game and can win as much as $90 a game.

Online gambling is illegal in the United States, but there is an exception for fantasy sports. The difference in the FanDuel partnership is that the fantasy team, rather than performing over the season of a sport, can be assembled for just a single day.

"Thanks to the fantasy sports carve out in the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act, these instant fantasy games are legal in the U.S. -- something that the FanDuel team has been very careful to adhere to," FanDuel said in its announcement of the partnership.

"FanDuel and its partners generate revenue from taking a commission on each game."


"With the much publicized downturn in advertising revenues, could these games, at least in part, save the newspaper industry?" the press release asked.

According to FanDuel, U.K. newspapers are generating "millions of dollars in online revenue" from betting and paid games. With sports betting legal in Britain, newspapers are able to offer more lucrative betting possibilities.

FanDuel claims some players are winning more than $16,000 in a month.

I'm in awe. The very same newspaper that attacked its politicians for attempting to plug budget holes with legalized gambling now wants to using a loophole in the online gaming law to overcome its own dwindling revenues?

These are the same folks who, only two days ago, cackled over Wynn's retreat and declared this:

Making it easier and legal to bet on sports will only create more problem gamblers. It could also undermine the credibility of the games. (See the Chicago Black Sox and other betting scandals involving athletes.)

Right. So the Philadelphia Inquirer says building a brick-and-mortar casino that would create actual jobs and that would take effort for adults to visit would be a scourge on the city. But the Philadelphia Inquirer thinks it's good to go up with a website where people can place bets without getting dressed and on which there's really way of telling whether the gambler is of age or not.

Congrats, Mr. Wynn. You got out of this funhouse just in time.

Also, how is it the Review-Journal hasn't done this yet? Who would you feel better about placing an online bet with, some casino-hating Philly newspaper or a paper with a legitimate claim to the gambling brand known around the world, Las Vegas?

Of course, I know why the R-J's not in on it. Hell, their Online Guy seems to believe today is the first time an advertisement has ever been Tweeted. No, really. This is what he wrote today:

Every day there are roughly 50 million tweets zipping through cyberspace. Until today, none of them were paid ads.

Yes, Twitter's new promoted Tweets thing started today, but had Al Gibes paid any attention (attended?) BlogWorld right here in Vegas last October, he would've known that popular individuals have been taking money for sponsored Tweets for so long that the FTC put out rules about it.

But I digress. It doesn't surprise anyone (anymore) that the R-J's Web operation is run by total incompetents. But it should stun us all that the Philadelphia newspaper jump head first into the very depraved, predatory, evil racket that it has spent years attacking.

More from E&P:

FanDuel said " is proving to be a true pioneer by becoming the first online news publication to use the power of daily fantasy sports games to open up a new revenue frontier."

Yeah. That's what they wanted to be known for.


Dame Edgar said...

you should lay off of al gibes. he's old. he's too easy a target.

Dave Lifton said...

Nice to know it's not just Philly's sports teams that are dirty, unethical bastards.

Anonymous said...

It's not the first time nor will it be the last time. How many newspapers are supporters of global warming and yet have their product delivered by car or truck every single day? How many support higher minimum wages and other employer mandates and then have drivers as independent contractors to avoid those exact costs and liabilities? The NY Times decries executive pay, then gets concessions in Boston and has layoffs elsewhere, and then increases their executive pay by the amount of the concessions in Boston.

Philadelphia made a mistake not wanting Wynn, but that's their mistake and they are allowed to make it. The biggest winners will be Harrahs in Chester, PA, AC for a time, and Sands in Bethlehem. So be it.