The Chicago Cubs Are Investing In A Company That Promotes Illegal Sportsbooks

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Chicago cubs action network

Why is a Major League Baseball team investing in a company that enthusiastically provides odds for offshore sportsbooks?

That’s the question I have in the wake of sports betting media company The Action Network completing a $17.5 million Series B funding round.

The Action Network + an MLB team

That funding round, Action Network loudly declared that money largely came from places with ties to professional sports teams, or teams themselves, including, among others:

The direct tie to a sports team is interesting for a couple of reasons.

Action Network + offshore betting

The Action Network’s business is sports betting content and providing tools and odds for bettors. That’s a perfectly fine business to be in, but they do provide tools, odds and other functionality that makes it easier to bet at offshore sportsbooks that serve US jurisdictions illegally.

For example:

So why should anyone care?

Pro sports + offshore betting

Whether or not The Action Network actually makes money from offshore sportsbooks is beside the point. (I have no insight into their financials on this front.) And even including odds wouldn’t be that big of a big deal, in my mind if not for this new tie-in.

But now the Cubs are involved, and pro sports leagues like MLB have been saying a lot of things about betting:

The bottom line is it is hard to take MLB seriously if it’s going to allow its teams to encourage offshore sports wagering via an investment in another company.