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The NFL’s Evolving Stance on Sports Gambling

Since sports gambling was legalized in East Rutherford, NJ and the rest of the state more than a year ago, the national trend of states passing legislation to legalize sports betting has continued. While professional sports leagues are on board with this legalization, league owners and lawmakers don’t always see eye to eye on how permissive these laws should be. 

First, here’s some background history1. on the NFL’s relationship with gambling, showing the shift in recent years:

In May, for example, the National Football League submitted a letter to the New York State Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, signed by the owners of the New York Giants, New York Jets, and Buffalo Bills. In it, they requested “four core standards” to be included in any sports betting bill passed in the state of New York:2. 

The bill should legalize sports betting and protect consumers.

Before discussing what aspects of sports betting (controversial areas such as prop bets for example), the League made it clear that it supports legalization. Legalizing betting ensures royalties for the NFL (more on that later) while protecting those who make bets helps the League maintain its reputation for integrity.  

The bill should eliminate “the illegal sports betting marketplace.” 

Bets made illegally do not benefit the League, so it is in the NFL’s interests to replace illegal betting with legal betting that is regulated and monitored.

The bill should protect the NFL’s “content and intellectual property.” 

The first two demands are unlikely to stir any controversy, but the third and fourth may be a bit more divisive since they involve royalties, which means they are concerned with the distribution of gambling revenue. This one refers to team logos and other branding materials.

The bill should provide that all data used in gambling must be official NFL data.  

To quote the letter directly, the NFL claims this demand is part of its effort to maximize integrity: “An essential component of consumer protection is a requirement that the information used to settle these wagers is correct and timely, something that can only come from official data provided by the sports leagues themselves.”3.

While gambling for sports in Monmouth, NJ is legal and regulated, it can also be problematic. If you need help treating a gambling problem, call CCGNJ’s helpline at 800-GAMBLER.

  1. https://www.espn.com/chalk/story/_/id/19015998/nfl-oral-history-nfl-changing-stance-gambling-las-vegas.
  2. https://www.casino.org/news/new-york-sports-betting-letter-signed-by-giants-jets.
  3. https://www.legalsportsbetting.com/news/nfl-teams-taking-a-stance-in-ny-sports-betting-senate-hearing/.