ESPN employees are discouraged, but not banned, from placing bets on the new ESPN BET sportsbook when it launches later this week. That’s just one of the guidelines offered by the sports behemoth to its employees under new sport betting guidelines governing the sports network’s employees on what is expected to be an extremely popular sports betting app.
At the core of the guidelines is a sincere effort by ESPN to protect its journalistic integrity while covering games that its audience are certainly placing wagers on. To that end, the company is banning staff from, “engaging in any betting-related activities that could call into question their or the company’s integrity.” That might mean that ESPN’s longtime NFL insider Adam Schefter would not be allowed to bet on NFL games on the app.
More specifically they state, “Do not place bets on games or events you are assigned to work or cover,” the guidelines read. “For example, production personnel or journalists working on-site or off-site at or on a sporting event must abstain from betting on that particular game or event. Talent designated as Reporters and Insiders are prohibited from placing, soliciting, or facilitating any bet on the properties (e.g., NFL, college football, NBA) they regularly cover.”
ESPN staffers were also told to make certain that they don’t ever withhold information they think could impact betting lines, even if it’s in the best interests of the company saying, “No story should be reported, delayed, influenced or withheld with the intention of impacting betting lines. All employees must observe the strict boundaries that the Company maintains between our journalistic enterprise and the operations of a sportsbook and should not imply any control or influence over the operations of a sportsbook.”
ESPN and its partner Penn Entertainment are setting very high standards for journalistic integrity as move forward with this project. They know that regulators and pundits will be watching closely for any slip-ups.