US real estate and media mogul (he is the publisher of the New York Daily News newspaper) Mortimer Zuckerman has suggested that online sportsbetting may help to save traditional newspapers in danger of failing as the result of the preference for television and Internet sources of today's news followers.
The publication Editor & Publisher reports this week that in an interview with Forbes.com the savvy businessman and entrepreneur was quoted as saying that the "…[US] federal government ought to … allow sports betting on newspaper Web sites. That would save every newspaper in America."
Pointing to the practice by British newspapers, Zuckerman called it "a crucial part of their net revenue stream. I know a major newspaper in London that makes $15 million a year from sports betting alone."
E&P points out that Zuckerman's remarks come just two days after a federal judge denied a request by collegiate and professional organizations to stop a planned sports lottery in Delaware until issues regarding the legality of single-game betting are resolved. Since 1992, federal law has prohibited sports betting in all but Delaware and three other states where it already was permitted.
Zuckerman said his solution for newspapers would require an act of Congress and a government willing to face opposition from [land] casino interests: "Newspaper owners have never gotten together to lobby for this because they have always been quite profitable. Those days are behind us," he concluded.
Zuckerman will raise $50 million from the sale of a portion of his stake in Boston Properties to acquire printing capacity to efficiently produce up to 160 pages of high-quality colour.
"I'm not trying to pretend this is going to make the Daily News hugely profitable," he told Forbes.com. "I'm addicted to the print press. I've been a fanatic about journalism since I was 12 years old." He said the cost of the overall project will be nearer $200 million, with the balance coming out of his pocket.
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