ESPN Launches First Gambling-Focused Show — And It’s Only The Beginning

Posted By Grant Lucas on May 31, 2018 - Last Updated on August 6, 2018

Apparently ESPN’s least favorite movie from the 2000s is “Waiting.”

Less than three weeks since the U.S. Supreme Court opened the door for legalized sports betting across the country, the Mothership already launched a new show surrounding the industry.

“I’ll Take That Bet”

ESPN’s gambling-related show “I’ll Take That Bet” made its debut Thursday evening.

Produced by The Action Network in conjunction with ESPN, the program rolled out on the ESPN+ streaming platform. Shows will be posted several times each week between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET, and they will also be available on demand.

Each 15-minute show will feature a pair of betting experts from The Action Network. Both will pick 10 bets and will be made in a fantasy sports draft style. Hosts include:

  • Chad Millman, a former editorial director at ESPN
  • Matt Moore, an NBA reporter
  • Paul Lo Duca, a former MLB player
  • Geoff Schwartz, a retired NFL payer

It was not as though ESPN rushed this show to the stage. Network executives said planning began at least a month before the May 14 SCOTUS ruling.

Expect more of this in the near future

With SCOTUS striking down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act earlier this month, 19 states are rushing to pass legislation to regulate sports betting.

As that market is becoming the hottest ticket, it should not come as a surprise should more programming such as “I’ll Take That Bet” creep into the TV Guide.

That said, ESPN getting the green light for this show is somewhat astounding. Consider that the network’s owner is Disney, a contributor of more than $4 million to an anti-gambling constitutional amendment that was proposed as a way to embargo sports betting altogether.

Still, sports betting revolves around the second screen. The vast majority of bettors rely on second-hand information. They value expert opinions and use that advice when placing wagers.

That alone creates something of a win-win-win situation: Watch for entertainment, “Hey, I called it” or “Guess they know what they’re talking about,” and a natural scapegoat — the “experts” — when a wager goes awry.

Also Read: Is VSiN A Sports Betting Model For Mainstream Media Companies?

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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sports writer who has covered the high school, collegiate and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield and Oregon State athletics, the Portland Trail Blazers and golf.

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