Don’t be surprised if you see Mickey Mouse in a Vegas sports book, beer in one hand betting slip in another, cheering and cursing on an NFL Sunday afternoon sometime very soon.
Disney made a big announcement on their earnings call Thursday, confirming that they were about to get serious about sports gambling, specifically with ESPN. CEO Bob Chapek told investors their initial hesitation to try to grab a chunk of the sports gambling pie was gone. They feel they identified an opportunity and they are ready to pounce.
“It’s driven by the consumer, particularly the younger consumer that will replenish the sports fans over time and their desire to have gambling as part of their sports experience. As we follow the consumer … we have to seriously consider getting into gambling in a bigger way.”
Four years ago less than 50% of Americans who responded to a Seton Hall poll believed that sports gambling should be legal. It wasn’t that long ago people thought cable television was cutting edge.
Times change. Habits and desires evolve, and right now sports gambling is something every media company is trying to figure out ways to get involved if they already aren’t.
A new poll said 80% of Americans support sports betting.
It really doesn’t matter what the polls say, the multi-billion dollar sports gambling industry has left the station and it’s picking up steam every single day as it barrels down the tracks.
Disney decided that jumping on board makes way more sense than getting run over.