Jake Banks | 23 May 2019

disneyDisney CEO Bob Iger is either completely oblivious about the inner workings of the corporation that he heads up; which is in itself a story to be revisited at some point in the near future; or the family-friendly entertainment giant’s big boss is just do desperate to stick to his original claim that Disney has no interest in ever becoming involved in any form of gambling or betting, that he’s now resorted to ignorance, and in some instances outright denial and dishonesty. Disney recently acquired a 4.99% share in broadcasting giant 20th Century Fox; a corporation that happens to own major shares in fantasy sports and betting operator DraftKings.

And then of course, there’s the ESPN-saga. Not only does the network show daily sports betting features (Chalk being one of the more prominent prime-time examples), but it also recently acquired shares in Caesars Entertainment. And this is no silent or invisible partner either. Thanks to the partnership, ESPN now calls the Vegas Strip its new future home.

The sports broadcaster and the gambling and entertainment giant recently revealed some details about their new collaboration; one that will allow the pair to combine their collective experience in sports and in betting in new and exciting ways. Caesars Entertainment’s Hotel & Casino will in 2020 become the home of an ESPN-branded sports betting studio.

ESPN Heads For Vegas

Iger had earlier on in the year pointed out that whilst ESPN; a big-time broadcaster of global sporting events; may provide information that could be classified as “being useful to sports bettors”, this certainly did not mean that the broadcaster had any intention to become actively involved in the promotion of sports betting or gambling.  Someone really should tell Bob Iger that nothing says gambling quite like Vegas.  

Clueless Or Hidden Agenda

Disney obviously has more than just a single hidden agenda of its own. It’s hard to believe that the same band of men (and women) that now owns major shares in DraftKings the ones who had not too long ago made a big deal out of lobbying in favor of a law that would in future require voter-approval for the expansion of any gambling company Florida.

So just to recap in a clear and concise manner: Disney now owns major shares in DraftKings and in ESPN. The million-dollar question is whether Disney knows that it does and moreover, whether its aware of what it’s supposed to be doing with its toys.