AP Decides Money Is More Important Than The Editorial Division

The news service has a sports gambling deal that should raise some eyebrows.

Fans of the 1970s television show Happy Days cite one episode when they knew it was the beginning of the end of the show’s run. “Fonzie” jumped over a shark on water skis during the September 20th, 1977 episode. The show began its decline. The Associated Press may not see quite the decline that Happy Days did after the jump the shark episode but the news service has entered into a gambling partnership with FanDuel and there will be a FanDuel widget embedded into every online AP sports story taking readers to FanDuel’s home page. There is nothing wrong with a business and the Associated Press is a business taking sponsors’ money but there should be a wall between editorial and advertising and the AP-FanDuel deal jumped those walls.

The Supreme Court of the United States opened up the sports betting floodgates in 2018 by siding with New Jersey in a case and since then many people have been looking for sports betting partners. The Bally’s Corporation acquired the naming rights for the Sinclair Broadcast Group’s regional cable television sports networks. Barry Bedlan, who is the global director of text and new market products for the AP, said its readers and outlets that rely on the service’s coverage have wanted more sports betting information. It makes sense to work with one of the largest reputable sportsbooks in the United States to provide a consistent, credible reference point for AP and its customers. Media companies have always put out odds on football games even when it was illegal in most of the United States to place bets on games. The National Football League officially fought the legalization of sports gambling yet when CBS’s pregame show in the 1970s featured oddsmaker Jimmy “the Greek” the network brass turned a blind eye. Money talks.

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FILE – In this Nov. 18, 2019, file photo, patrons visit the sports betting area of Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)