Carolina Panthers Owner Says Sports Betting Is Bad, Also Thinks It’s Good

Posted By Adam Candee on July 30, 2018
David Tepper Sports Betting

Trust what I say, not what my hedge fund does.

David Tepper (pictured) hopes you’re watching his mouth move instead of his hands calling up his ETrade account. (That’s what hedge fund bosses use, right?)

Last we heard from the new owner of the Carolina Panthers, Tepper reached into his gut to share a “feeling” that sports betting will drive down NFL TV ratings.

That being the case, we can only guess Tepper wants nothing to do with legal sports betting. Gambling clearly is going to hurt the NFL’s primary revenue stream and shrink his $255 million check from the league.

Hedging his bets

Everyone keep staring at Tepper’s mouth. Definitely do not look at Appaloosa Management, Tepper’s hedge fund. Nope, do not read this article about what stocks Appaloosa loaded up on in the last quarter.

You read it, didn’t you? Dave’s not gonna like that. That means you saw Appaloosa:

  • Buy 5.8 million more shares in Caesars Entertainment last quarter
  • Expand its stake in MGM Resorts by 74 percent last quarter to 4 million shares
  • Purchase 1.35 million shares in Boyd Gaming in recent months

Tepper fears the impact of legal sports betting on his $2.2 billion investment so much that he spent millions to expand his casino holdings. Imagine how much money Tepper shells out on something he thinks will help his businesses!

Perhaps Tepper believes legal sports betting will both help casino companies and hurt TV ratings. Could more people bet on the country’s most popular sport and then not watch the games on which they wagered?

Of course they could! Nobody I know watches the NFL with any action on it. They just tune in for the articles.

Tepper qualifies as a Certified Rich Guy, a self-made billionaire who first purchased an NFL ownership stake in 2009. CRG status buys you some leeway to say something about business that makes little sense. Tepper built his wealth by swimming against the mainstream current and doing it well.

His CRG friends do not agree with his take on sports betting hurting TV ratings, though. After the Supreme Court decision to repeal PASPA, fellow team owner Mark Cuban said owners should expect their franchise values to double because of legal sports betting. If so, congrats in advance to Tepper for making another $2.2 billion!

Rupert Murdoch also carries a CRG platinum card. Last year, Fox spent $3.3 billion for five years of Thursday Night Football. Combined with its Sunday NFC package, the network will pay $1.75 billion per year to broadcast the NFL for the next half-decade. Murdoch apparently does not see NFL TV ratings sinking under the weight of sports betting like Tepper does.

Let’s hope Cuban and Murdoch have it right for Tepper’s sake. His hedge fund is counting on it, even if he isn’t.

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Adam Candee

Adam Candee is a veteran of covering sports business and news in Las Vegas. Adam arrived in Las Vegas in 1989, and is a former editor and reporter at the Las Vegas Sun and KLAS-TV.

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