Gambling ETF Jumped On NFL Ref News

It might just be a coincidence, but one ETF benefited this week from the maelstrom over the NFL's replacement referees and subsequent return to work by the league's regular officials. That fund is the Market Vectors Gaming ETF (NYSE:BJK).

To say the replacement officials affected football wagers is an understatement. An estimated $300 million changed hands worldwide Monday following a controversial call at the end of the Green Bay Packers/Seattle Seahawks game that saw the latter emerge the winner, according to The Associated Press.

That call worked in favor of sports books because the vast majority of bettors who had action on the game were on Green Bay, the favorite. The problem is too much controversy and incompetence at the hands of the replacement refs is not good for sports books.

And that is not good for big casino operators that run sports books such as Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS), Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN) and MGM International (NYSE:MGM). That trio combines for over 19 percent of BJK's weight.

So it probably was not surprising to see BJK rise on Tuesday, the first trading day after the Monday Night Football flap. Perhaps BJK rose on speculation the Monday Night Football debacle would force NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's hand to get the regular officials back to work as soon as possible.

With no definitive news to that effect by the close Tuesday, BJK fell on Wednesday. Wednesday evening, headlines hit the wires that the regular refs would be back to work for Thursday night's Baltimore Ravens-Cleveland Browns game. Coincidentally, BJK rose on Thursday.

With just a few minutes left in Friday's trading session, BJK is looking at a weekly gain of about one percent and that is not too shabby all things considered. The ETF has $61.6 million in assets under management and is up 13.8 percent year-to-date.

For more on ETFs and the NFL referee situation, click here.

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