Once banned, now gambling embraced by NFL – GV Wire

Gambling has gone from being a banned subject in the NFL to becoming an important part of the league’s present and future.

Gone are the days of lobbying against widespread legalized sports betting, preventing broadcast partners from even discussing point-spreading, and even banning players from holding a fantasy football convention because it was in a casino.

With a team playing in Las Vegas just a short walk from the casinos on The Strip, sponsorship deals with gambling companies paying millions for in-game advertising, and teams having sportsbooks next to their stadiums, the relationship between America’s richest sports league and gambling is stronger than ever.

“The NFL has evolved rapidly with the growing importance of sports betting to the overall ecosystem,” said Robert Fishman, a senior analyst at MoffettNathanson, a division of SVB Securities.

“Sports betting is becoming increasingly important and will continue to be a driver of growth. We are still in its infancy and there will be a natural evolution of how this continues to grow.”

The growth has been astronomical since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018, paving the way for the spread of legalized sports betting outside of Nevada to most of the rest of the country.

More than 30 states and Washington, DC, allow sports betting online or in person, with several more to come in the coming years.

The NFL is doing its best to capitalize on that just a handful of years after Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to the court considering overturning PASPA saying sports betting “threatens to cause irreparable damage to the integrity of and trust of the audience in NFL football.”

While there have been some issues, such as star receiver Calvin Ridley being suspended for the season for betting on his own team’s games while a member of the Atlanta Falcons, it’s been a relatively smooth evolution.

“We’re pleased with the growth and the structures we’re seeing in most places,” said David Highhill, NFL vice president, general manager of sports betting,

“It’s hard to call something flexible when you’re dealing with a state-by-state structure. But overall we are happy with the partnerships we have built.”

Highhill said the league also focuses on “responsible gambling” and gave a grant to the National Council on Problem Gambling to focus on that area.

The NFL has signed deals with DraftKings, FanDuel and Caesars Entertainment that could reportedly be worth about $1 billion to the league over five years.

Those companies have fueled a wave of ad spending, with gambling companies spending $129 million on advertising during NFL games during the 2021 season, according to research from the Kantar Group.

Research by MoffettNathanson shows that revenue from legalized sports betting in the United States has grown from less than $500 million in 2019 in the first year after PASPA was overturned to more than $3 billion in 2021.

“In a few short years, the whole idea of ​​sports betting has transformed from a taboo and subrosa vice into a major business opportunity,” the company said in the report. “From sports leagues to rights holders to consumers, it is clear how important sports betting is today and how quickly sentiment has reversed the stigma that once clung to this industry.”

The company predicts that the legalized sports betting market will generate $10.8 billion in revenue by 2025, with the NFL being the most popular sport for gamblers.

A poll conducted by Morning Consult for the American Gaming Association reported that approximately 47 million people plan to bet on NFL games by 2022, a 40% increase from just two years ago as sports betting in more and more states legalized.

More than a third of NFL fans plan to bet on games this season, with many taking advantage of innovations such as same-game parlays.

“We’re also seeing more casual gambling interest,” Highhill said. “We generally see fewer people who are not interested in sports betting at all. So the people who are interested are kind of interested and the people who had more problems with it, we see less and less of that. It broadly shows that the population is starting to get used to sports betting and is interested in it.”

Teams are capitalizing on the opportunities with the Arizona Cardinals opening a 17,000 square foot sportsbook next to their stadium and the Washington Commanders planning to open one next to their stadium.

Several other teams have betting lounges where fans can place bets on their phones.

That could one day allow fans to place live in-game bets from their seats in a stadium.

“That’s certainly possible,” Highhill said. “For those bets to have scale and meaning to the operators who make them, they need a lot of people interested in placing those bets.”

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