The legalization of gambling is creating plenty of opportunities for fans — and for media — to put skin in the game. And to take some flesh out of it.
ESPN Daily Wager host Doug Kezirian (pictured in the foreground) won nearly $300,000 through BetMGM by betting on Tyson Campbell becoming the first safety selected in the 2021 draft.
Via Todd Dewey of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Kezirian made a variety of wagers totaling $3,500, with odds as high as 100-1.
Listed by most sports books as a cornerback, BetMGM had Campbell on the board as a safety. When he went with the first pick in round two to the Jaguars, Kezirian ended up with the first safety selected — and he pocketed $297,800.
The bets were placed via self-serve kiosks at the Bellagio.
Presumably, Kezirian’s wagering violated no rules at ESPN. (Otherwise, he surely wouldn’t be publicizing it.) Although his job doesn’t make him privy to inside information, other ESPN employees may have had such knowledge. It’s a dynamic that cries out for clear rules and regulations, and checks and balances, regarding the activities in which network employees can and can’t engage, especially when those employees work for NFL partners.
Looking at it more broadly, the situation shows how wagers unrelated to the outcome of a given game could be corrupted by inside information. For events like the draft, when one or more employees of a team know what a pick will be, that information easily can be misused if shared with others, regardless of whether the person who shares it knows that someone else will act on it.
It’s a critical component of the league’s overall efforts to ensure full and complete integrity when it comes to the ongoing proliferation of legalized wagering, and it’s imperative that the league devote the time, resources, and creative thought to identifying the various things that would spark a scandal.