Rev. Al Sharpton Warns That Sports Betting Duopoly Could Especially Harm Black Americans

  • Sharpton sent a letter to the FTC about the state of the sports betting sector
  • He highlighted a survey in which 68% of Black Americans said they place bets
  • The civil rights activist wants the FTC to investigate the current market
Reverend Al Sharpton
Civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton wants the FTC to look into the stranglehold that FanDuel and DraftKings have over the US sports betting sector. [Image:]

Big slices of the pie

Civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton has warned that the “gambling duopoly” of FanDuel and DraftKings in the US could have a disproportionately negative impact on Black Americans.

claiming that the dominance of the two operators is a threat to consumer protection

Sharpton sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) claiming that the dominance of the two operators is a threat to consumer protection.

The New York native noted that the two brands controlled about 75% of the online sportsbook market as of September 2023. The Sports Betting Alliance, which includes FanDuel, DraftKings, Fanatics, and BetMGM, controls about 90% of the market.

Looking at figures

Sharpton highlighted that a significant number of the sportsbooks’ customers are young Black American adults, a demographic that is likelier to place sports bets and stake bigger sums compared to other ethnic groups.

68% of African or Black American respondents engaged in sports betting

An NCAA survey looking at the prevalence of betting among young people in 2023 showed that 68% of African or Black American respondents engaged in sports betting. This compares to 63% of Latino or Hispanic people, 55% of Asian respondents, and 54% of Caucasians.

Sharpton emphasized how sports are a core part of the culture in the country, with Black athletes playing a key role.

Calling for change

The 69-year-old referenced legal action by the FTC in 2017 to block a planned merger between FanDuel and DraftKings, then the two dominant daily fantasy sports operators, as an example of how the organization can help preserve competitive markets.

Sharpton opposed legal sports betting in Colorado when he wrote to Governor Jared Polis in March 2020 asking him to not sign the legislation as he believed it would result in job losses at land-based casinos and disproportionality impact minorities.

He believes that the sports betting sector is in a place in which the FTC needs to investigate “the anti-competitive behavior of the SBA and its member companies” to ensure that consumers can access a truly competitive market that protects people, provides value, and innovates.

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