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SBD/Issue 86/Sports Media
CBS SportsLine Has Bought Into The Vegas Gambling Scene
Published January 24, 2001
CBS "recently established partial ownership of the leading oddsmaker" in Las Vegas, Las Vegas Sports Consultants (LVSC), according to Stephen Totilo of BRILLSCONTENT.com, who added that CBS' "stake ... in the sports-betting institution is obscured by a complicated business structure: CBS owns a 19.8 percent stake in SportsLine.com." Last April, SportsLine subsidiary Vegas Insider purchased LVSC for about $7M. LVSC sets the odds and point spreads "used by 75% of" Vegas casinos for betting on pro and college sports. SportsLine and CBS "have a troubled history with sports betting," so neither announced the purchase. NCAA's Bill Saum, who is in charge of the organization's gambling policies, said, "It's new information to me." NCAA spokesperson Jane Jankowski expressed "concern": "We wish CBS SportsLine wouldn't do that, and it is something we will bring up with them." NFL VP/Communications Greg Aiello added, "It would be fair to say it's a concern and something that we're watching." However, SportsLine CEO Michael Levy said that "there are no Internet links between CBS SportsLine and the company's odds-related subsidiaries" (BRILLSCONTENT.com, 1/22). USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke writes that CBS officials "denied that the network has any involvement with a sports gambling firm bought by" SportsLine last year. CBS Sports VP/Communications LeslieAnne Wade said, "Contractually, we do not take any income from Las Vegas Insider or its businesses" (USA TODAY, 1/24).