Fox Corp. Hires Former US Attorney for Nevada, Prepares to Up Sports Betting Stakes

Posted on: March 24, 2021, 05:07h. 

Last updated on: March 25, 2021, 01:35h.

Fox Corp. has hired Nicholas Trutanich as its chief ethics and compliance officer, the Newscorp-owned Wall Street Journal reports. Trutanich is the former U.S. Attorney for the District of Nevada.

Nicholas Trutanich in his former role addressing reporters outside the courthouse in downtown Reno in June 2020. (Image: Sam Gross/LVRJ)

Fox said in an official statement that Trutanich was handpicked partly for his knowledge of gambling regulation.

In 2019, Fox became the first US broadcaster to offer sports betting with the launch of Fox Bet, a platform created after the Rupert Murdoch-owned company purchased a 4.99 percent share of the Stars Group for $236 million.

Stars has since merged with Paddy Power Betfair to create Flutter Entertainment, now the world’s biggest online gaming company and probably the biggest sports betting company, too. Flutter also owns dominant US brand FanDuel.

‘Expertise in Gaming’

Trutanich was asked to resign from his US Attorney role in February by the incoming Biden administration. He had been appointed to the post in 2018 by then-president Trump. Prior to that, he was then-Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt’s chief of staff.

Trutanich will act as a point of contact with regulatory and law enforcement agencies while providing ethics advice and organizing compliance training and internal investigations, Fox said.

The company’s General Counsel Jeff Taylor added in a statement that Trutanich’s “expertise in gaming regulation will be invaluable as Fox continues its push into sports betting.”

Having suddenly found itself owning a chunk (2.6 percent) of a world-beating online gaming juggernaut, Fox wants to take things further.

Right to Buy  

As part of the merger deal that created that juggernaut, Fox has the right to increase its stake in the FanDuel unit by up to 18.5 percent by 2021, and it is being hotly touted to do so. Fox also has the option to buy up to half of the Stars Group’s US business in 2029.

While Fox Bet itself has not yet proven to be the success story Murdoch had hoped for, in FanDuel and Stars, the company has picked a couple of more likely winners, and its stock in the US sports betting market is only likely to go up and up.

That should keep Trutanich occupied, provided he isn’t too busy putting out fires elsewhere. The Fox News division has, in the past, been the focus of numerous allegations of sexual harassment and workplace discrimination. The company is facing ongoing related litigation, according to SEC filings.

Meanwhile, in 2020, two former Fox executives were charged with attempting to bribe FIFA officials during a war over World Cup media rights versus ESPN.