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NFL has a double standard on gambling

Steve Shoup

Gambling remains one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, with multinational corporations investing billions of dollars to attract customers. So it is normal that a lot of young people worldwide are attracted to sports betting. Every professional league in the USA have some kind of policy against gambling.


Now here’s the catch: 

Most recently National Football League (NFL) stated in their press release that they are considering disciplinary action against a group of professional players that attended a charity arm-wrestling event at a Las Vegas casino.


Why did this happen? It is obvious that sports betting can potentially harm the professional athletes and the integrity of the game. The NFL sports wagering rules are in effect for a good reason. History has taught us that gambling and athletes don’t mix.  Look at what happened to Shoeless Joe Jackson and the 1919 White Sox throwing the series, or Pete Rose betting on his own game.


But the relationship between NFL and gambling is really confusing at the moment. On one side league opposes sports gambling and is against promotion casinos and on the other side virtually all teams have sponsorship deals with daily fantasy companies, teams continue to hold training camp at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia, which houses a casino. So the league increasingly has flirted with the gambling industry in recent years, including allowing advertising from casinos.



This is crazy: 

The NFL has been adamantly against legal and regulated sports betting, but they are not against gambling in general. They just think sports betting is harming the integrity of the game, which is understandable. Other forms of gambling, such as playing in a brick-and-mortar or online casinos, aren’t directly prohibited by the association’s rules, although they might be frowned upon. That’s why it would be understandable if professional athletes preferred gambling online, as the anonymity of online casinos protects them from a possible backlash from NFL or the public. According to experts from Casino.Guru, personal security at online casinos is so tight nowadays that anybody can be safe and personal data is well encrypted.


What’s the bottom line? 

Sports betting on all US professional sports is a really profitable business. It is not a secret that betting volume is highest in the time of Super Bowl, producing hundreds of millions of rollovers every year.


At the moment, NFL and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell are standing neutral on the legalization of sports betting. In his recent interview with ESPN, Goodell said his league is primarily concerned with the integrity of the game — the idea that wagering doesn’t impact results — no matter what happens moving forward on the legalization of sports betting.


It is clear that NFL is aware that a regulated US market on sports betting is good both for its underlying business and integrity. A regulated US sports market would no doubt be better for the integrity of the game and would kill the “black market”. Also, betting on NFL games drives interest in the games and interest itself is great for NFL’s business in general.

So it is strange that NFL holds double standards in this matter. The winds of change are definitely in the air when it comes to the leagues and sports betting. It seems that the NFL is finally beginning to come around – especially when the activity has significantly propped up its popularity for so long – is yet another component of the fascinating pre-decision domino effect of Murphy vs. NCAA case.



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