The New York Post broke major news in the sports media world a week ago by reporting that Craig Carton is leaving his afternoon WFAN radio show, effective June 30.
The significant news in the sports gambling media world didn’t show up until the second-to-last paragraph of the Post’s reporting: Carton will continue to host his weekly Saturday WFAN show about gambling addiction, Hello, My Name is Craig.
Carton’s gambling addiction led indirectly to his 2017 arrest for securities and wire fraud, resulting in 12 months in prison. After his release in 2020, he got his radio career back on track.
In January 2021, Hello, My Name is Craig launched. For a half-hour each week, Carton, 54, talks openly about his struggles and, on most episodes, welcomes other recovering addicts to tell their stories. Carton says it has been five years since he last gambled, and clearly this public service show — which is also available as a podcast — is of great personal importance to him.
“One of the reasons I do the show and bring on gamblers every week is I want to humanize it,” Carton said on the US Bets podcast Gamble On last year. “My goal is that people one day will recognize that the gambling addict is the next-door neighbor. It’s the school teacher, the little league coach, the preacher, the rabbi, the deli guy, the delivery guy. Just normal people, who unfortunately got caught up in something that was bigger than what they could control.”
He said at the time that having the opportunity to talk to his audience about his gambling addiction was an essential part of his agreement to come back to radio in the first place post-prison.
“Craig’s ability to share his personal story regarding problem gambling has been a compelling part of FanDuel’s responsible gaming advocacy efforts,” a FanDuel spokesperson told Sports Handle this week. “We’re excited for Craig’s latest professional success and we look forward to collaborating with him to keep the important conversations about responsible gambling front and center as legalized sports betting grows throughout the country.”
Guardians of the gambling galaxy
Although Sports Handle focuses primarily on what’s happening in North America within the sports gambling industry, oftentimes overseas news proves predictive of a development that will eventually come to America. So file this one under the “worth monitoring” heading: The British-based Guardian Media Group last week announced a ban on gambling advertising in its publications, with the exception of lottery advertising.
This news comes two months after the Premier League voted to no longer allow gambling companies as their main jersey sponsors.
Guardian Media Group Chief Executive Anna Bateson wrote in an editorial for The Guardian that the decision was motivated by a desire to do right by readers/consumers who could be vulnerable to problem gambling, despite the potential financial hit to the media outlet.
“Guardian journalists have reported on the devastating impact of the gambling industry in the UK and Australia, helping to shift the dial and ensure the issue remains high on the public agenda,” Bateson wrote. “Studies highlight a clear correlation between exposure to gambling advertising and increased intentions to engage in regular gambling.
“Ultimately, we believe that our primary obligation is to do the right thing for our readers, which is why we’ve decided that there are other ways to generate revenue.”
Added Lenore Taylor, editor of Guardian Australia: “Readers want to enjoy the coverage of their favourite sport without being bombarded by ads encouraging them to bet on it. And while some of them may still enjoy the occasional bet, we want to be able to report on the unfolding debate about gambling harm, and the impact of saturation gambling advertising on this problem, certain that we are not contributing to it.”
Why lotteries — which according to the Tax Foundation return on average about 60% of money spent to players in prizes, compared to percentages in the 90s for most casino games — are exempt from the Guardian Media Group ban is unclear. Bateson addressed this in vague terms in her editorial, stating, “Given the different nature of lotteries, we do not propose to include lottery advertising in this policy.”
World Putting League tapping into exposure
Mini-golf betting is about to get a lot bigger. Pro League Network announced Wednesday the expansion of its World Putting League Championship, with WPL betting available in eight states and the tournaments airing live on The Action Network (a media property that, like Sports Handle, is owned by Better Collective).
Sportsbooks offering WPL markets include DraftKings, Betfred, and (in Tennessee only) Action247. Wagering on WPL will be available in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Tennessee, Colorado, Oregon, Kansas, and Wyoming.
The next WPL Championship event will come Monday with a field of 12 putters competing in both a group-stage format and then a championship round featuring the four group-stage winners. It will be broadcast live from 12-2 p.m. ET on ActionNetwork.com, with Action Network’s Tim Kalinowski serving as the on-air betting analyst.
“Our upcoming WPL Championship will be our biggest one yet and is a clear sign of our vision — that fans want to wager on sports that are easy to understand, fun to watch, and available during under-optimized times,” said PLN and WPL co-founders Bill Yucatonis and Mike Salvaris in a press release. “We’re excited to reach more fans through our great partners at Betfred, DraftKings, Action247, and Action Network in next week’s tournament and beyond. After all, what could be more fun than betting a few dollars on mini golf during a weekday?”
FanDuel not standing pat
With Pat McAfee having ended his partnership with FanDuel to go to ESPN, FanDuel TV is on the lookout for new on-air talent, and Front Office Sports reported Tuesday that, according to sources, FanDuel is in talks with Pro Football Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe.
Sharpe recently ended his Fox Sports debate show with Skip Bayless, Undisputed, and is now one of sports media’s hottest free agents.