MSNBC's Chris Hayes Latest to Call Out 'Constant Gambling Propaganda' in Sports Broadcasts

Written by:
Alejandro Botticelli
Published on:

"I know it makes me sound like a curmudgeon, but the *constant* gambling propaganda now integrated into every professional sports broadcast is really gross."

That quote was courtesy of MSNBC's Chris Hayes, who is now celebrating ten years in the coveted 8 pm ET time slot.

Banning the activity is a no-go.  Sports betting in the US is here to stay, and Hayes understands this.

"Fine with it being legal, and even ads but something about integrating it into the broadcast itself that really feels wrong."

Our own Thomas Somach brought this up a few weeks back when broadcasters mentioned a game that had resulted in an obvious bad beat for some gamblers.


That was the March Madness game between TCU and Gonzaga.

"They (the Bulldogs) were up by four with the ball with 0.7 seconds left when TCU fouled them," Somach noted.  Gonzaga made both free throws to go up by six, now covering the spread."

What happened next sent shivers up Somach's spine.

"There was a huge cheer from the crowd, much louder than from any other prior basket."

Somach's conclusion: "Obviously a lot of bettors in the crowd had Gonzaga."

But it was far from over.

"TCU then in bounded the  ball and made a three point buzzer beater from half court so Gonzaga ended up winning by three and not covering.

"Avery (Johnson), the color commentator on the TV broadcast then says something to the effect that 'a lot of people are disappointed with how that ended but I’m not gonna touch that'."

Those responding to Hayes' Twitter comments tended to agree with his assessment.

Charles C.W. Cook tweeted:

"I agree. It’s really annoying when you’re just trying to watch sports or a movie or the local news or the Oscars or a commercial for insurance or even kids TV, and this other thing that you don’t care for is perpetually integrated into the broadcast."

Kenneth P. Vogel offered up yet another example.

"The degree to which gambling has infiltrated sports & sports media is remarkable to even people inside these industries, which are now inextricably linked to sports betting.

"Witness Jeff Van Gundy’s reaction to a @DraftKings in-game promo read by @ESPN’s @NBA studio broadcasters."

Long time industry gaming luminary Sue Schneider advised her Twitter followers not to take Hayes ' comments for granted.

Remarkably, we are seeing a seismic shift in how some European countries are now approaching gambling tie-ins with sports leagues following decades of tolerance during a time in which the mere mention of a betting line in the US during a sports broadcast drew sharp criticism.

Just last week it was announced that the Premier League clubs have collectively agreed to withdraw gambling sponsorship from the front of their matchday shirts by the end of the 2025-26 season.  This decision comes in the wake of mounting pressure from regulators.

What's happening in US sports might not have been the original intent but the outcome was predictable.

Christopher Halpin, the NFL’s Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy and Growth Officer, said back in 2021 that networks can reference betting lines in pregame shows, "but only to help contextualize game analysis or a broader storyline".

We've gone from that to announcers expressly stating how sports bettors and sportsbooks were impacted by a particular last minute play.  Nothing good could come of that.

And where has the American Gaming Association (AGA) been this whole time?

They've finally come out of the woodwork to announce a new conduct code abolishing sportsbook deals with colleges, three years too late.

The now defunct University of Colorado Boulder’s 2020 deal with PointsBet included a $30 referral bonus every time someone signed up on PointsBet with the university’s promo code and placed a bet.

So far the AGA remains mum when it comes to betting mentions during broadcasts. 

- Alejandro Botticelli, Senior Correspondent

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