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Philadelphia Inquirer goes into the bookmaking business

in Statewide by

Can’t remember where I first saw this, but thanks to the Philadelphia Inquirer, now you can kind of bet on sports. Seems the Inquirer has hatched a brilliant solution to the problem of falling ad revenues and subscriptions — allow sports gambling on your online newspaper site, according to Editor & Publisher. E&P itself could have used a couple of windfall jackpots last year when it was forced to stop publishing until it was partially saved by more traditional means.

But wait, you say, Isn’t online gambling illegal in the United States? Yes, gentle reader, you are correct — except for one small area that was carved out of the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act. Indeed it seems to have been presciently carved out for the sole purpose of saving Philadelphia’s newspaper four years after it was enacted.

Seems you can gamble online if you are betting on a fantasy sports team. The Inquirer has partnered with FanDuel, which is based in Britain, where betting on sports through your favorite fish wrapper is legal.

Usually fantasy sports team managers choose a team and play it for the season. In the Inquirer’s scheme, managers go to the site, pay $5, put together a team of, depending on the season, professional basketball, baseball or football players for one day, and depending on how their team performs, can win up to $90.

In a press release, FanDuel claims that some players make as much as $16,000 per month. The company also claims that British newspapers are raking in the dough on daily fantasy gaming.

So is gambling the answer to what plagues the newspaper business? Probably not, but desperate times require desperate measures. And let’s just skip the morality part. Here in Florida the lottery ostensibly goes to support our education system — ahem!

So who cares if a newspaper gets into the gambling business? After all, living on a daily newsroom deadline is pretty much a 50/50 proposition these days, anyway.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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