What’s the NFL’s end game with gambling?

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As the NFL tries to balance a love of Las Vegas with a loathing of the primary activity that goes on there, what if the league also secretly lusts after gambling?

Sure, Commissioner Roger Goodell is saying all the rights about gambling being the wrong thing for the NFL. Just like he previously was saying all the right things about Vegas being the wrong place. In addition for being paid to be the pin cushion for owners who prefer rich and famous to rich and notorious, Goodell’s compensation package includes taking positions that he knows he eventually may have to abandon as gracefully as possible. Or not gracefully at all.

Really, what has been the cost of Goodell’s about-face on Las Vegas? Has anyone said anything critical about Goodell for saying one thing and doing another? Hell, inconsistency or word and deed practically become the way of the world.

So Goodell can continue to say gambling is bad until the owners decide that gambling is good. And then Goodell can start saying gambling is good, without ever acknowledging that he regarded gambling as bad.

When the owners (and in turn Goodell) decide that gambling is good, what happens next? Behind the scenes, efforts will be made to eliminate the federal law that prohibits the expansion of sports betting beyond the states where it currently happens. (The NFL has used that law to block the expansion of sports betting in states like Delaware and New Jersey.) When that push becomes public, we’ll hear a lot about states’ rights and other situationally convenient philosophies that will justify America telling the United States that they can set up sports books if they want.

Then, the various states will begin to adopt betting on sporting events, one at a time until as many that will ever do it have done it. Then, as many NFL teams as possible will begin to find a way to make money from sports betting.

The process could culminate at some point (maybe years from now, maybe decades) in the ability of a fan/bettor to access a team or league website or app and quickly and cleanly (and legally) place a bet.

For a successful business that constantly wants to find ways to make more and more (and more) money, there’s a revenue stream that has been flowing to people other than NFL owners since the day the sport was born. Every year, billions are changing hands via wagering on NFL games, without the NFL getting a cut.

The move to Las Vegas represents a clear statement that, eventually, it will.

33 responses to “What’s the NFL’s end game with gambling?

  1. Probably a smarter strategy to expand profits than continuously turning your back on core fans to try and grow appeal with soccer moms, Brits, and teenage girls.

  2. No way a casino will ever give up a portion of it’s profits to a sports league.

  3. Why do we always talk Goodell on these things? He is consulting with owners. It only seems like they never go against him, but it’s because they are pushing him. Somewhere down the road, the NFL will want a share of money bet on its games or somehow get involved. Bet on it.

  4. Please , I’m sure that he is also against drinking beer.

    Gambling is one of the main reasons the NFL is as successful as it is today. Between straight up bets, pick’em pools, fantasy leagues, weekly fantasy leagues, knock out / suicide pools, and Superbowl Squares, Gambling ups the interest in the games , expands the market as more people in the office get into the pools and increases viewership as people watch to see how their doing.

  5. Yes, heaven forbid adult Americans be allowed to do what they want with their own money. We can’t have them going around being trusted not to piss away their life savings betting on the Jaguars to cover a point spread, what country would do that? Oh yes, basically every other country in the civilized world!

  6. Since there is a ratings crisis, Goodell is for anything that makes the game more interesting.

  7. I think you hit the nail on the head, Goodell is simply a public face and mouthpiece for the owners. At this point is he really anything more than a public relations rep? He’s made and has to own some bad decisions but the real story is the owners behind the scenes

  8. The NFL offers its sincerest apologies to the families of Frank Filchock and Merle Hapes (suspended for life in 1946 for not having reported offers of bribes from gamblers).

  9. end game? they want to own all rights to gambling on NFL games, and thus all the profits.

    Kind of like internet service providers wanting to own rights to your private information….that they capture from you while you use the service for which you are paying them already.

    a double-dipping of sorts

  10. Draft Kings/Fan Duel kiosks in all stadium concourses.

    Prop betting at all concession stands.

    VR goggles with real-time fantasy stats on each player.

  11. The league and its owners are already in the gambling business via Draft Kings and FanDuel. Those guys can say what they want, but that’s pure betting.

    I live in Las Vegas and plenty of people have bad-mouthed Goodell here for years, even since his about face. But, I doubt that will have any impact on Raiders ticket sales. Just don’t expect the casinos to start splitting their profits any time soon.

  12. If purely speculative pieces were of use to anyone, this would be fantastic. That aside, how can you have been an attorney when your grammar shows how inattentive to detail you are?

  13. There seems to be double game going on with the NFL owners and their public spokesman Roger Goodell. On one hand it is NFL policy that NFL employees,players and owners are strictly forbidden to participate or facilitate gambling even to the point of shutting down Tony Romo’s Las Vegas fantasy football business. Then on the other it allows Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft to own interests in Draft Kings and now moving a franchise to the gambling center of Las Vegas. So the policy seems that fantasy sports is very illogically not called betting when an owner invests in it but is called betting when a player invests in it. Also we think gambling is detrimental to our sport but we will have a team in a city that is the center of sports book betting with easy access for high stake gamblers to interact with players and team personnel who are there as home and away teams.

  14. The NFL hates gambling? Give me a break. All these injury reports and all the other things the NFL does to indirectly promote gambling makes this seem so silly. (instant replays/reviews and almost no tie games)

    Now with a team there in Vegas the NFL can push for legal gambling that it gets a cut of and can be done online.

  15. Not sure if it’s still going on, but when UNLV played a home game, you couldn’t bet on them at any sportsboos in LV. Wonder if the Raiders will have the same restrictions.

  16. It’s been said so much it’s a cliche, but why would you have injury reporting if you are totally against gambling. What’s the purpose. Just for fan interest? As the coaches say all the time, they have to prep for every player on their opponents active roster. What’s the value if it isn’t for gambling?

  17. guitarmaninks says:
    Mar 30, 2017 3:51 PM

    Why is ok that for years gambling has been close by in many states with some having casinos withing walking distance of an NFL stadium?

    Because you can’t bet on sports at any old casino around the country.

    The NFL doesn’t give a damn about slots or craps.

    They care about sports betting, and they don’t want the Mafia to get their fingers in the NFL’s pie.

  18. I think the real reason the NFL doesn’t care as much about gambling now from a game integrity standpoint is that the skill players make way more money than most wise guys could offer them to throw plays. It’s basically not a significant issue.

  19. Every office ive ever worked at ran pools. $5 here $10 there, in every small town office to big cooperate America buildings, to hole in the wall bars, to the casinos. I don’t doubt that the gambling is a bigger number than the actual league revenue…..by far

  20. nfl is trending pro-gambling

    a huge data point was the last casino license in phila was awarded to a location within a 1/2 mile of lincoln financial field. this is tacit approval by nfl.

    this site would have never been awarded the casino license by state of PA without nfl blessing it.

  21. Thank god as it is damned near impossible to gamble illegally, can’t wait to get legally stoned and drop a few hundy legally..as like most citizens till the gov’t says ok I’m abstaining

  22. You’d be a fool if you don’t think eventually there will be league run gambling or at the very least a league – gambling outlet sponsorship as the “official” outlet of the NFL.

  23. Laughable . The NFL makes all its money from TV revenue and gambling. If either of those goes away , the NFL will go away as we know it now. The NFL loves gambling but will never admit that from fear that people will think they are fixing games. Who is to say they are not doing that now. There are a lot of peculiar things that happen from time to time to make you think that.

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