“Race to Revenue”​ – The Opportunities and Challenges with Sports Gambling and Integrity

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“Race to Revenue”​ –
The Opportunities and Challenges with Sports Gambling and Integrity

SRI, in partnership with Squire Patton Boggs, recently hosted a conference for senior-level North America sports executives engaged in the complex issues that entangle gambling and integrity. The audience included stakeholders from the world of professional sports leagues, associations, teams and venues, amateur athletics/national governing bodies, sports data collectors and authenticators, media companies, gaming operators, multi-national sports marketing and talent agencies.

Several high-level executives from the major professional sports leagues, association, and teams participated in the event including Sashi Brown, Chief Planning and Operations Officer, Monumental Basketball (Washington Wizards), Andy Levinson, Senior Vice President, Tournament Administration, PGA Tour, Ahmad Nassar, President, NFL Players, DeMaurice “De” Smith, Executive Director, National Football League Players Association, Gordon Smith, Chief Executive Officer, United States Tennis Association, and Mark Young, Vice Chairman, Chief Legal and Media Office, ATP World Tour to name a few.

To encourage an open and no-holds-barred discussion with our invited moderators, panelists and guests, we assured attendees that there would be no attribution of comments made during the day. Our “Chatham House” rules propelled a provocative day of discussion, revealing both critical insights and thoughtful recommendations. Much of the focus was on issues that are challenging industry leaders as the “race to revenue” intensifies with the state by state rollout of legalized gambling. Here are a few examples of the learning and recommendations that arose from the “roundtable” topics:

  • The impact of legalized gaming on the changing media landscape

Rightsholder and partners should form a trade association that institutes a genuine education program and ‘moderation’ message and serves as a parallel strategy to leveraging commercial gaming opportunities

  • International anti-corruption lessons for North America application focus

Leagues should explore the cost and implementation of proper suitable manpower and resources as well as pursue a sports integrity oversight board to protect their sports and stakeholders.

  • The rise of player empowerment and the impact on integrity in sports

Integrity scrutiny must extend beyond players to ownership, league/team executives, staff, and administration, broadcasters, agents, data collectors and anyone else who may possess “insider knowledge” and opportunity for commercial gain.

  • Building an alluring consumer “mousetrap” through media and gambling

It is prudent for leagues to pursue shorter media rights deals (two-three years) as the complexity of media partnerships and gambling sorts itself over the next several years.

  • The value misalignment between the revenue pressure of major college athletics, the student-athlete experience, and gaming proliferation

Collaboration and transparency are essential; the government, NCAA, conferences, schools, gaming operators, gaming commissioners, data collectors, and monitors need to form a transparent supervisory board with governance authority on all gaming related issues.

The “alternative conference” format was viewed as a big success and set the stage for further “Chatham House” discussions in the area of gambling and integrity.


About the Author

Glenn Horine
Partner – Head of North American Sports Practice
T: +1 212 203 814 7307

Glenn Horine is a Partner at SRI and leads our North American Sports Practice. Based in New York, Glenn possesses strong industry credibility with over 25 years working in the agency and property side of the US sports market.  Utilizing his experience working at the intersection of the Sports & Entertainment and Media & Technology industries, Glenn consults with clients for senior-level talent solutions, including Board assessments and placement.