Despite its perceived long-standing antagonism towards gambling, it would reportedly seem that The Walt Disney Company now controls a stake in daily fantasy sports and online sportsbetting firm, DraftKings Incorporated.
According to a report from the Legal Sports Report, the giant American entertainments conglomerate acquired its interest in the Boston-headquartered gambling firm via its recent $71.3 billion purchase of the international television and film assets of Twenty-First Century Fox. This March deal encompassed a stake in DraftKings Inc the Fox Sports division of The Walt Disney Company’s latest acquisition had obtained some four years earlier via a $300 million investment arrangement.
Legal Sports Report cited an unnamed source at DraftKings Incorporated as declaring that The Walt Disney Company now owns this stake ‘through one of its subsidiaries’ to be involved in a business that is responsible for a land-based sportsbook in Mississippi as well as a mobile online casino and sportsbetting app for aficionados in New Jersey.
The news domain reported that The Walt Disney Company’s interest in DraftKings Incorporated is surprising because the firm has long been seen as an opponent of gambling. The Californian behemoth purportedly spent approximately $5 million in Florida last year to help defeat a measure that would have legalized sportsbetting while it more recently pulled Fox out of a previously-arranged deal with Malaysia’s Resorts World Genting.
The Chief Executive Officer for The Walt Disney Company, Bob Iger, had used a February earnings update to tell investors that he did not anticipate his firm would be ‘getting involved in the business of gambling’ or being responsible for ‘facilitating gambling in any way.’
“I do think that there’s plenty of room and ESPN has done some of this already and it may do more to provide information in coverage of sports, as a for instance, that would be relevant to and of particular interest to gambling and not be shy about it, basically being fairly overt about it. But getting into the business of gambling, I rather doubt it.”