NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says his league is against legalized sports gambling despite the league’s operations in gambling hubs such as Las Vegas and London, England.
The NFL has been pretty successful in stopping sports gambling expansion in Delaware and New Jersey but with operations in Las Vegas and London, the league is going to have to justify the anti-gambling stance as other areas look to generate revenue through sports gambling.
At some point, Goodell and his owners are just going to have to accept the fact that Americans gamble on sports and that government is going to want a piece of the action. Forget the fact for a moment that gambling is a vice and that the National Football League’s basic appeal is to vices, violence, drinking and gambling.
In November 2011, New Jersey voters said yes to legalize sports gambling and authorized casinos in Atlantic City to open sports books. The NFL sued and won stopping the establishment of a sports book in Atlantic City. A judge decided that the will of the people could be ignored in the interest of the sports leagues. Part of the problem was that New Jersey’s legislature couldn’t decide whether to legalize sports betting in the early 1990s and lost the opportunity to establish a sports gambling operation in Atlantic City casinos because the Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 and President George HW Bush signed it into law. Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon were exempt because those states had some form of sports betting.
Delaware opened casinos and by 2009 decided to open sports betting parlors in the state’s casinos. The NFL sued and won. Delaware does have NFL parlay betting on the Sunday schedule like it did in 1976.
In 2014, New Jersey’s state legislature came up with a new law and planned to open a sports betting parlor at Monmouth Racetrack on October 26. The NFL sued and blocked the opening. New Jersey keeps trying. The NFL won’t stop fantasy football though. NFL owners make money off of fantasy football which they claim is a game of skill not gambling through partnerships with fantasy football operators.
Sports betting is universal. One English soccer league was sponsored by a sports betting company. In Kotor, Montenegro, there is a kiosk in a local mall where you could legally bet on the NBA Final and the Stanley Cup Finals. Same in the United Kingdom and in Hamilton, Bermuda, NFL games are on the board.
The NFL wants to stop state sponsored sports gambling because it somehow besmirches the NFL.
Legalized sports gambling would dent the shield.