Remember back in the old days when DraftKings swore up and down that it wasn’t a gambling company? And do you remember back in the old days when the Walt Disney corporation was a bastion of family values that wouldn’t get involved with gambling under any circumstances?
Well, those days are officially in the past.
DraftKings has, of course, morphed into a major player in the US regulated sports betting market (which wasn’t much of a surprise, but definitely goes counter to their previous pearl-clutching denials). And now Disney has acquired a chunk of DraftKings, which puts them squarely in the business of accepting wagers on sporting events.
Big business makes for strange bedfellows sometimes and this is definitely one of those times.
Disney’s interest in DraftKings comes via its recent merger with 21st Century Fox. The whole deal was absolutely massive (clocking in at somewhere just over $71 billion) and included a lot of moving parts. After all, Fox was a giant media company that had interests in all kinds of other businesses, including piece of DraftKings.
This new, albeit accidental, partnership is noteworthy mostly because Disney has long held the gambling industry at arm’s length. It’s reputation as an unsavory home for degenerates has never played well with Disney’s brand of wholesome fun. The company even spent millions recently to support an anti-gambling ballot initiative in Florida, according to Legal Sports Report.
DraftKing’s new relationship with Disney is all the more baffling given Disney CEO Bob Eiger’s February 2019 comments saying, ” I don’t see The Walt Disney Company, certainly in the near term, getting involved in the business of gambling, in effect, by facilitating gambling in any way.”
Well, congratulations Bob, you’re now facilitating gambling in plenty of ways.