The business of sports gambling expanded this week with another state, Iowa, jumping into the sportsbook industry and ESPN signing a deal with a Las Vegas casino. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a gambling bill into law and now the mechanism that will allow sports gambling in the state will be built with state residents probably getting into a casino to wager on a game sometime this summer and certainly by the start of the football season. Iowa has 19 casinos that can open sportsbooks and there will also be an online component. Additionally, Reynolds signature has opened up the door for sports fantasy leagues in Iowa. Iowa will be joining Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and New Mexico as states with sports gambling. Arkansas is supposed to join that group as well after voters said yes to a sportsbook in that state. It appears Tennessee’s sportsbooks will go online on July 1. Online betting is all that is available in Tennessee as there are no casinos in the state.
Meanwhile, television networks are also getting involved with sports gambling. Sinclair, which intends to buy the Walt Disney Company’s 21 regional sports TV networks and acquire a lot of sports inventory, may include a sports betting in play element in game telecasts. FOX Sports has become partners with a sportsbook. Add the Walt Disney Company’s ESPN to the list of media groups that are partnering with a casino or being part of the action. ESPN has a deal with Caesars Entertainment and will feature an ESPN studio show at the LINQ Hotel in Las Vegas. ESPN will also have a sports-betting-themed content area and the Daily Wager, a sports-betting-related show. Disney may promote a family friendly image but gambling money is money and Disney needs that money.