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ESPN Host Walks Back ‘Risk-Free’ Gambling Comment

Is sports betting a risk-free investment? That’s how ESPN host Reece Davis described the activity, which is sometimes a good time and other times leads to total chaos in a person’s life. Davis’ comments, and his subsequent walking back of those comments, shows the challenges and dangers the sports broadcasting behemoth is facing as it attempts to walk the line between sports reporting and bookmaking.

Davis made his ill-advised comment on Sunday during a segment of the show ESPN Bet. He and betting analyst Erin Dolan were discussing why taking the under of 60.5 on the #9-seeded Northwestern in their game against the #1-seeded UConn was a good value. With his shoe headed directly towards his mouth Reece said, “You know what? Some would call this wagering, gambling; the way you’ve sold this, I think what it is, is a risk-free investment.”

Not surprisingly, Davis’ comments were subject to an immediate backlash on social media, where a variety of sources took him to task for the ill-advised financial advice. Attorney John Nucci summed up the reaction pretty well on X saying, “I just know ESPN attorneys are losing their minds hearing Rece Davis call the under in UConn-Northwestern a ‘risk-free investment.'”

In the aftermath of the gaffe, Davis took to X to walk back his comments saying, “During a segment this morning on @CollegeGameDay, due to @ESPNBet picks hitting yesterday, I joked the advice was more like ‘risk free investing.’ As we all know, such a thing does not exist. Obviously, there are risks.”

ESPN’s role as both a news source and a bookmaker puts the network in a situation where it needs to be extremely careful about what it says about sports betting. With dozens of shows broadcast across a variety of platforms on a daily basis, Davis’ gaffe shows exactly how challenging that will be.