Last month, the NFL considered during its annual meetings a revision to its gambling policies aimed at allowing teams to sell advertisements to casinos. The league made no announcement during the meetings regarding whether a vote was taken on the matter, or whether the rules in any way had changed.
Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal reports that the NFL has communicated to all teams the new rules regarding casino advertising, which allow such ads for the next two seasons. “These policy modifications are designed to ensure that all permitted gambling advertising by NFL clubs is executed in accordance with industry best practices, is intended to target adult audiences, is consistent with the League’s continuing opposition to sports gambling, and minimizes any potential negative impact on the NFL brand,” the memo said.
Despite significant restrictions (including placement of the ads high enough in the stadium to keep them out of the range of TV cameras), Kaplan estimates that each team can raise “millions” via such efforts. Only casinos without a sports book are eligible, and each casino must contribute five percent of the value of the ad to the NFL’s anti-gambling program for its employees.
And so the league inches closer to acknowledging that which has been obvious for years. People gamble. And they gamble on football. And the people who gamble on football watch football because they gamble on football. The fact that the NFL pretends gambling doesn’t exist doesn’t mean league employees and players don’t gamble.