CNBC Ventures into Sports: Implications for the Sports Betting Landscape

In a move set to reshape the sports media landscape, CNBC announced the introduction of a sports channel, as reported by Steve Ruddock’s “Straight to the Point” substack on July 3. This channel will bring a unique focus on the intersection of sports and business, particularly spotlighting the burgeoning sports betting industry.

This latest development brings Contessa Brewer, who has been a prominent voice in the sports betting sector since the repeal of PASPA in May 2018, even further into the limelight. According to Ruddock, Brewer “will continue to focus on the money, data statistics, and strategy behind the sports gaming industry.” The announcement positions Brewer as a key figure in the network’s coverage of sports betting, which has swiftly become a significant segment of the entertainment and media industry.

One of the most debated issues in sports betting is the ability to wager on college sports in New Jersey, a state often regarded as the gold standard of the U.S. wagering market. Currently, New Jersey legislation prohibits betting on college sports within the state, but a new bill, ACR140, introduced by Representative Michael Venezia last week, aims to change that. The bill is currently being reviewed by the Tourism, Gaming, and Arts Committee.

This legislative effort follows a failed 2021 ballot measure that sought to open the market for college sports betting. Despite the setback, there is persistent momentum to revisit the issue. Since the sports betting market’s inception in New Jersey in 2018, at least one operator has been fined for violating the current ban. As New Jersey’s legislature meets year-round, there is ample time for lawmakers to deliberate on ACR140. In the interim, residents passionate about betting on college sports must look beyond state boundaries for opportunities.

In Illinois, a significant development unfolded this week as operators began adjusting to a new tax regime. An increase from a 15% flat tax rate to a sliding scale ranging between 20% to 40% was enacted at the start of the week. This adjustment is poised to considerably impact heavyweights like DraftKings and FanDuel, which fall into the highest tax bracket due to their substantial earnings in the fiscal year 2024.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker played a pivotal role in the tax increase, having initially proposed a fixed rate of 35%. The new sliding scale places Illinois as the second most expensive market for sports betting in terms of tax rates, following New York’s 51% tax and Pennsylvania’s 36% (34% state and 2% local) tax rates.

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Concurrently, BlueBet, operating under the brand ClutchBet, has announced its exit from Indiana, while maintaining its presence in Colorado, Iowa, and Louisiana. This decision follows BlueBet’s merger with Australian operator Betr in April. BlueBet is now the second operator to exit Indiana within a year, following WynnBet’s market departure in 2023 as part of a nationwide retreat. However, the Indiana market remains dynamic with new entrants such as bet365 and Fanatics, which launched in January and February respectively.

In Vermont, where legal sports betting commenced on January 11, regulatory efforts this week introduced a new problem and responsible gambling website, The platform features a “Get Help Now” button that directs users to the 1-800-GAMBLR hotline or a live chat. It includes resources that define gambling problems, checklists for bettors, and links to forms for self-exclusion. This initiative underscores Vermont’s commitment to fostering a responsible gambling environment as the market evolves.

Meanwhile, in Delaware, a bill intended to open the state’s gambling market faced an untimely demise as the legislative session concluded without action on June 30. BetRivers continues to be the sole digital sports betting operator in Delaware, reflecting the state’s cautious approach to market expansion.

In corporate news, Caesars Entertainment has appointed former liquor executive Rodney Williams to its board of directors, as announced on July 1. This follows Caesars winning the Casino Operator of the Year Award at the EGR North America Awards. In the same ceremony, BetMGM was distinguished as the Sports Betting Operator of the Year and Employer of the Year, highlighting industry leaders’ growing prominence and reputation within the sector.

Other notable developments include preparations by U.S. federal prosecutors to charge Jontay Porter with a felony, Evolution’s launch of live dealer games in Delaware, protests in California against a bill that could enable tribes to file lawsuits, and a Kentucky judge’s decision to uphold a ban on skill games.

These wide-ranging updates reflect the rapidly evolving landscape of sports betting and gaming across the United States, as markets grow, regulatory frameworks adapt, and industry leaders maneuver to maintain competitive edges. With CNBC’s new sports channel on the horizon, the intersection of sports, business, and betting is poised for further integration and expansion.

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