Parker Spitzer Ratings Bomb: Online Gambling Industry No Pity

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
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Parker Spitzer

The heavily touted new CNN program Parker Spitzer completely bombed in the ratings with its Monday night premiere, something many long time online gambling aficionados were quietly hoping for (nothing against Kathleen Parker). 

Forget the “hooker scandal” that ultimately resulted in Eliott Spitzer stepping down as New York Governor in 2008.  The online gambling community can thank Spitzer for forcing PayPal out of the sector back in 2002 when he was that state’s Attorney General.

Spitzer aggressively pursued PayPal and a handful of banking institutions that dealt with online gambling payment processing.  eBay, which purchased PayPal, agreed to pay a hefty $10 million fine and prohibited its customers from using PayPal’s services for online gambling transactions in the U.S.

"This agreement continues the work of my office to enforce the law prohibiting illegal gambling, online or off line," Spitzer said at the time, making him one of the growing industry’s most outspoken opponents on the local level. 

One year later, the Internet gambling firm BetOnSports, entered into a million dollar plus arrangement with the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) that promoted its wagering services on the sides of buses and atop taxi cabs,

much to the chagrin of Spitzer who sat by helplessly.

With Spitzer’s actions against online gambling more than 8-years old, there hasn’t been a whole lot of calls to boycott his new program.  Much of today’s multi-billion dollar industry was just getting its feet wet at the time. 

With regards to the new show’s ratings, it drew a meager 454,000 total viewers, based on Nielsen numbers.  That was dead last in the cable news 8 pm time slot. 

A network spokesperson said on Tuesday:  “We are pleased with the quality of the show and over time we think viewers will be drawn to the more thoughtful discussion and lively debate that Kathleen and Eliot have to offer.”

The show replaced Campbell Brown, who left CNN due to low ratings.  In the interim, Brown’s show was replaced with Rick Sanchez’s prime time version of “Rick’s List”.  He got his walking papers from CNN Friday after blasting network executives on a radio show, implying that the cable news network and much of the media was run by Jews. 

Jagajeet Chiba,  

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