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ESPN REPORT REVEALS CBS LINK TO ONLINE GAMBLING OPERATION
Published March 26, 1999
CBS "is an investor in a company that makes money from a popular online gambling operation based in the Caribbean," according to Tom Farrey in an ESPN.com exclusive report. FL-based SportsLine USA, which produces the CBS SportsLine Web site, owns the Web address to Sportsbook.com, and SportsLine USA President Michael Levy "confirmed" that the company leases that address to the offshore sports book for a fixed fee. NCAA Exec Dir Cedric Dempsey said that he became aware of the year-old relationship last month and has "expressed concern about the relationship" to CBS, which owns 18% of SportsLine USA. Dempsey: "At this point, there's not much we can use other than persuasion. Maybe in the next go-round in our (television) negotiations we will be able to be a little stronger on that issue." Farrey writes that it is "unclear" whether CBS knew about SportsLine USA's lease with Sportsbook.com. CBS had no comment, and Levy said he "can't remember" if he told the network about this relationship. In addition to the lease agreement, Sportsbook.com also uses some SportsLine USA personnel and equipment to manage the site. Levy added that despite numerous offers to buy the Web address, he has "no plans to get rid of" it (ESPN.com, 3/26). In a "SportsCenter" Cover Story, Tom Farrey reported that ESPN owns SportsTicker, which sells news updates to Las Vegas oddsmaker Jim Feist. But Farrey noted that SportsTicker receives no money from offshore books (ESPN, 3/25). LINE DANCING: An estimated $4.5B in legal and illegal bets have been placed during the first two weeks of this year's NCAA Tournament, an amount which now surpasses the Super Bowl (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 3/26).