Draft Kings, casinos gear up for Super Bowl sports betting debut

DraftKings expects to see a record volume of bets for Sunday’s Super Bowl LIII, now that sports betting is legal in eight states, Jason Robins, CEO of the fantasy sports platform, told CNBC.

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“Not surprisingly, it’s the biggest day of the year for us,” he said Friday on “Closing Bell.” “I’ve heard people estimate there could be over $100 million bet in New Jersey on the Super Bowl this year, which would be amazing.”

One establishment taking advantage of the nascent industry, which was cleared for states to legalize it after a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, is Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Super Bowl Sunday has been a quiet day for the casino in the past, but Borgata Sportsbook President and COO Marcus Glover told CNBC it will be different this time around.

“We have reservations throughout the weekend,” he said Friday on “The Exchange.”

Glover projects that millions of dollars will be wagered on the casino’s book when the New England Patriots face the Los Angeles Rams in Atlanta. The house will take a 5 percent cut of the volume-based wagers, and Borgata anticipates benefiting from “ancillary revenue,” Glover said.

New Jersey and Nevada are among the states to have legalized sports betting since the Supreme Court case. Robins predicts that as many as 10 more states will move to authorize the activity sometime this year.

“The momentum is real, and I think you’re going to see a lot of movement again this year,” he said.

Super Bowl LIII will kick off at 6:30 p.m. ET Sunday.

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Cramer Remix: This was the real creator of December's short-lived bear market

Many market commentators will try to explain why the stock market kicked off 2019 with the best January in decades, but CNBC’s Jim Cramer stressed on Friday that the move wasn’t tied to historical patterns or the calendar.

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“You know why stocks had such a good start this year? For the same reason they had such a bad end last year: our Federal Reserve chairman,” Cramer said on “Mad Money.”

Investors have to remember that, when it comes to the stock market, history seldom repeats itself, Cramer said. That’s why he worries about market-watchers who try to “gin up” patterns in the stock market, because they tend to lead people astray.

“I say each year stands on its own. I don’t know a soul who predicted that disastrous December we just went through,” he said. “This was a nauseating, out-of-nowhere, and, most of all, short bear market, and it was very much the Fed’s creation. Almost no one saw it coming because no one thought the Fed would do what it did. In fact, all I heard going into the fourth quarter was the opposite: when the market’s doing well for the year going into September, you’re going to end the year strong. Another useless so-called truism.”

Click here to read his full take.

Investors should prepare to do some buying in the week ahead as still-strong job growth and a patient Federal Reserve continue to improve the outlook for stocks, Cramer said Friday after a day of modest gains for the averages.

“We’re still basking in the glow of a Fed gone pragmatic, while employment stays strong and inflation is tame. That’s the ideal backdrop for stocks,” he said. “I say be ready to buy the next dip, because 2019, which was supposed to … be the year the business cycle finally keels over, may turn out to be surprisingly rewarding.”

With that in mind, Cramer got right to his busy game plan for the week ahead, which will see earnings reports from Alphabet, Disney and more.

Elliott Management’s recently announced $1.4 billion stake in eBay could create real value if eBay’s leaders cooperate with the activist hedge fund, Cramer said.

“The guys at Elliott have some great ideas that could potentially make shareholders a lot of money. At the same time, eBay’s management team is a lot better than you might think if you were only looking at the stock’s recent performance,” he said. “If eBay and Elliott can work together, then, like Humphrey Bogart and Claude Rains in Casablanca, this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

In the last year, eBay has gone from posting strong results to delivering imperfect quarters, which has led to a good deal of destruction in the stock. Shares of the online marketplace are down nearly 26 percent in the last 12 months.

Click here to find out how Cramer thinks Elliott can help ebay turn itself around.

From Adidas to Ford to football gear giant Ridell, Carbon’s partners tend to be much more high-profile than the billion-dollar 3D-printing company itself, Carbon co-founder and CEO Joseph DeSimone told Cramer in a Friday interview.

That’s because Carbon’s unique technology is not only made for mass-market use, but it’s more advanced than some of its 3D-printing counterparts’. DeSimone likened the process behind its football-helmet-printing partnership with Ridell to setting up braces with Invisalign: an ultra-specific scan followed by a series of cloud-based calculations.

“We’ve had a player on just about every team [in the NFL] for the second half of the season” wearing Carbon’s helmets, DeSimone told Cramer ahead of the Super Bowl.

And that’s not all Carbon offers: it also makes traceable running shoes with Adidas, dissolving surgical implants with Johnson & Johnson, and just unveiled the first 3D-printed parts on a production vehicle with Ford, the CEO said.

Click here to watch DeSimone’s full interview.

The CEO of the largest payroll processor in the United States thinks the economy is humming along and “has a lot of momentum” going into 2019, he told Cramer in a Friday interview.

“The economy feels like it has a lot of momentum when you look at our jobs data and you look at wage growth,” Carlos Rodriguez, the president and CEO of ADP, said after his company’s joint jobs report with Moody’s Analytics.

As for the border wall debate in Washington, which caused the longest-running government shutdown in history, “it’s hard to imagine that this is going to be [anything] other than a pothole in the road,” Rodriguez said. “So I’m very optimistic that things will continue and the momentum will continue.”

The CEO spoke after ADP delivered the best earnings-per-share growth and margin improvements that it’s had in “many, many years,” which was helped by steady employment and wage growth, he told Cramer.

Click here to watch his full interview.

In Cramer’s lightning round, he zoomed through his responses to callers’ stock questions:

Pilgrim’s Pride Corp.: “I think it is a bit of a bottom-feeder there. Now, Tyson reports next week. I happen to like this one more than Tyson. It is a $5 billion company. I’ll go with you on that one. I’ll go with you.”

Kemet Corp.: “That’s an inexpensive capacitor stock. I’m going to go with you. It’s a very inexpensive stock, particularly after the cohort’s moved up.”

Disclosure: Cramer’s charitable trust owns shares of Alphabet and Disney.

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Twitter suspends anti-Kamala Harris accounts suspected of being trolls

Twitter this week suspended at least two accounts suspected of troll-like behavior targeting presidential contender Sen. Kamala Harris of California as well as other Democratic candidates.

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The accounts were created recently and had few followers. But they posted easily shareable content about the senator’s record as a prosecutor that earned an outsized audience on the platform.

One of those accounts claimed to belong to a black man in the South who opposes Harris and supports Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is exploring a presidential run of his own. That account, @WillisJermane, was created in November 2018 and tweeted about 500 times before it was suspended on Wednesday.

Another account Twitter suspended was @Copmala, which the company suggested violated Twitter’s rules against impersonation. That account was created in January.

The suspensions mark an early test of the social media platform as it wrestles with the fallout of the last presidential race. Twitter has been criticized for not doing enough to stem disinformation posted by fake accounts during the 2016 race, including those that were part of a targeted campaign by the Russian government to stoke tensions around race and other matters. At the same time, Twitter has said it supports the free speech of its users.

A spokesperson for Twitter told CNBC that the company was limited in how much it could say about specific suspensions and that they were not aware whether the accounts were linked.

But the spokesperson said it would be “very accurate” to say that Twitter’s prohibition on creating “50 accounts and have them all tweet, all use the same hashtag, to try to make that hashtag trend” was one reason why the @WillisJermane account was suspended.

The spokesperson also pointed to Twitter’s ability to determine whether a user is being truthful about where they say they are located geographically.

“If we know an account is somewhere and it is saying something contrary to that, that is something that is taken into account,” the spokesperson said.

One of the most shared pieces of content the account posted was a 2010 video that showed Harris laughing about prosecuting parents of truant children during a speech she gave at the Commonwealth Club in Northern California.

“A child going without an education is tantamount to a crime,” Harris says in the two-minute video. “So I decided I was going to start prosecuting parents for truancy.”

Prominent figures circulated the video, including top university professors and scholars, as well as the Oscar-nominated director Josh Fox, an active environmental activist.

The video was unearthed recently by the independent journalist Walker Bragman and covered by national news outlets. Fox News included a tweet from @WillisJermane in its report of the video and noted that the account had been suspended. A spokesperson for Harris’ campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

The Twitter spokesperson said that the accounts were not suspended because of the content that they shared.

“There are plenty of Sanders supporters out there who are tweeting similar stuff,” the spokesperson said. “And there is a difference between that and creating accounts that are linked and trying to game search. It’s important that there is a lively, rule-following political discussion.”

Bragman, who illustrated the book “Bernie Sanders: In His Own Words: 250 Quotes from America’s Political Revolutionary” and has written for The Intercept, Paste Magazine and The Huffington Post, wrote in a post on Twitter on Wednesday that he could “now confirm that @WillisJermane is a real person, not a bot.”

In response to inquiries from CNBC, Bragman said he had contacted the person who operated the account by phone and email. He provided screenshots of call logs and email chains he said he exchanged with Jermane Willis. Willis’ email address and phone number are not shown in the screenshots.

He said that Jermane Willis is a pseudonym the person was using because “he wanted to be anonymous online and has been extremely reluctant to provide personal details about himself.”

Bragman said that he tracked Willis down via Reddit. A review of the JermaneLeeWillis Reddit account shows that the account was created on Wednesday and has primarily posted about Harris and about his suspension from Twitter.

Matt Taibbi, a prominent journalist and the winner of a 2008 National Magazine Award, said that he had also spoken with the person behind the @WillisJermane Twitter account by phone and that he could confirm the individual was a real person.

“One of the techniques that I’ve seen a lot of in the past year is someone will post something that’s true and a bunch of people will mass report the individual,” Taibbi said. “That’s clearly what happened here, it seems to me.”

The Twitter spokesperson said accounts that are suspended are provided an opportunity to prove that they are real people.

“They can prove that they are a person, that they are not a series of accounts, and if that happens the account can be unsuspended,” he said.

The email exchanges between Twitter and the person operating the @WillisJermane account are available in screenshots uploaded to Imgur, an online image-sharing community, by the account jermaneleewillis.

In captions to those screenshots, the person behind the account said that he did not want to provide Twitter with his photo identification as it had requested because he feared negative repercussions due to his political activism.

“I didn’t feel comfortable giving up my identity to twitter -understandably, because I personally caused a lot of damage to a major political figure’s campaign with my most recent tweets,” one caption reads.

In a post on Reddit, written by the user JermaneLeeWillis, the person wrote that their Twitter account “was suspended for no apparent reason.”

“I did not post anything threatening or break any twitter rules whatsoever, and haven’t been given a reason for my suspension, which looks permanent now because twitter is requesting I give them a photo ID to prove my identity,” the user posted.

The Twitter spokesperson reiterated that, “as you can imagine,” the policy of seeking photo identification is not going to change.

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Anonymous Tesla shorts who snap pics of Tesla parking lots have a new website

A group of Tesla short sellers launched a site Friday called Tslaq.org to showcase their crowdsourced research tracking the car maker’s activities.

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Tslaq.org includes aerial photography from the Shorty Air Force, a group of pseudonymous researchers who fly over the company’s parking lots and delivery centers to count Tesla’s inventory cars.

Other photos on the site come from a group calling themselves the Shorty Ground Force, which takes photos from publicly accessible points near Tesla factories or facilities using smartphone cameras or hobbyist drones.

Some contributors tally up the cars that they can count in the images. Others provide theories about what’s observable in the photos when considered along with Tesla’s own claims and disclosures.

Tslaq.org makes all the photos and videos featured on the site available under a creative commons license, meaning other independent bloggers or mainstream media outlets don’t have to seek permission before re-publishing them.

Tesla declined comment, but the site is likely to annoy Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has recently sparred with short sellers and the media.

Last year, Musk shut up one of his most vocal critics, a short seller who used the handle “Montana Skeptic” on Twitter and wrote bearish analysis of the company on SeekingAlpha. The Tesla CEO reportedly phoned Montana Skeptic’s employer and told the blogger he would potentially take legal action in response to his posts.

The Tesla CEO also sounded off on Twitter at mainstream media organizations throughout 2018, and said he plans to start an organization that rates reporters.

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Netflix's IPO in 2002: Watch CNBC's coverage

The hangover from the Dotcom Bubble bursting was still fairly fresh, but Netflix went public in May 2002.

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CEO Reed Hastings said, “An IPO is like high school graduation. It’s big at the time but with hindsight it’s only really a beginning of something else.”

The DVD subscription service had yet to make a profit at the time.

Watch the video above to relive CNBC’s coverage of Netflix’s IPO in 2002.

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