Money has a great way of influencing decisions, doesn’t it? A few million dollars here and there can change longstanding views. That has been the case in the relationship between the NFL and gambling.
The campaign to allow individual US states to make sports betting legal was a long and hard one. Until a US Supreme Court Judge ruling in 2018, it was the federal government who made such decisions.
That ruling changed the US gambling industry forever. States such as New Jersey (long-time campaigners) and New York are among those that have made sports betting legal. The number having done so now is over the 30 mark with Ohio and Massachusetts joining the list in January.
With so many states making sports betting legal (particularly online), the NFL has joined another list. Those who now see the financial implications of such a move and how they can benefit from it.
The NFL had not been at all keen on the idea of sports betting being made legal. Their fear was that being able to bet on matches would threaten the very integrity of American Football. Would games be fixed so that betting coups could take place?
There’s also the fact that gambling is meant to be fun but is often anything but. It can lead to gambling addiction and the NFL didn’t want to be part of that.
Advertising is a major part of any NFL match. Millions of dollars are earned from it but in 2003, the NFL turned down a request for an advertising spot during the Super Bowl. It was going to show what tourist activities were available in Las Vegas.
That of course was going to include all the casinos you can visit and the application was refused (any such application in 2022 would receive a very different response).
Then came 2018 and that US Supreme Court Judge ruling. With over 30 states making sports betting legal, including of course New Jersey and in later years, New York, the NFL also changed their views on gambling. It’s now commonplace for NFL sides to have partnership deals with gambling companies.
That refusal of advertising from Las Vegas came back to haunt them two years ago. The news that Las Vegas would now host a team in the NFL might have caused a few problems in the previous decade. 2020 saw a total change of attitude with the view that betting on sports can create a “lot more engagement for our fans.”
Does the NFL now love sports betting? It’s just a case of not wanting to miss out on all of the revenue that can be earned.
Signing partnership deals with gambling companies is the way forward now. They are financially lucrative and that’s never something to turn away from. Has anything changed though? The threat of gamblers being harmed and becoming addicted is still very much there.
Nothing has changed regarding the possibility of there being some form of game-fixing taking place. You don’t need to fix the result of the match, it can be done in many other ways. There are so many different markets available on NFL contests. That makes it easier to fix one and do so without being detected.
With the Super Bowl just a few months away, vast sums of cash are on their way. Turning down a gambling-related advertisement isn’t really an option.