NFL to allow casino advertisingThe NFL is going to allow limited advertising from casinos in its stadiums for the next two years. Although there are plenty of strings attached to the deal, it’s a pretty significant move from the famously anti-gambling organization.

Conditions

Under the terms of the new policy, NFL teams will be allowed to accept advertising from state licensed casinos and other gaming venues that serve their market. Because it’s the NFL, a number of rules are in place to prevent team owners from inadvertently promoting sports betting. (Which would, of course, cause the players to immediately start fixing games.)

Those restrictions include:

  • No advertising from Casinos with sports books or that accept sports betting on anything but dog and horse racing. (Casinos with multiple locations can only promote specific locations that do not accept sports betting.)
  • Players and other NFL employees may not appear in advertising promoting casinos.
  • Naming rights to stadiums cannot be sold to gaming businesses.
  • All advertising must include a responsible gaming message.

What’s Behind the Move

The new policy is the result of extensive research by the NFL of gaming legislation in areas served by NFL teams, as well as fan reactions. In the past, teams were allowed to advertise lotteries, horse and dog racing; and the city of Las Vegas (provided gambling was not mentioned).

Anyone who thinks the move signals a softening of league policy towards sports betting should think again, “We remain steadfast in our opposition to the proliferation of gambling on NFL games,” a league spokesman said. “There is a distinction between accepting advertising in a limited fashion and gambling on the outcome of our games.”

Time for a Change

Back when NFL players only made a few thousand, or few hundred, dollars a game, the league was right to establish a hard line against sports betting because there was some incentive to fix games. Today, the lowest paid NFL players make six figures and the top players make more like eight or nine figures. These are not people who are susceptible to game fixing schemes.

Does anyone think that fixing a horse race that’s going to be watched by a few hundred people is going to be tougher than fixing an NFL game that’s watched, and scrutinized, by a few million people?

This move is a step in the right direction, but it’s time for the NFL to quit pretending that legal sports betting is somehow going to change the game. It won’t.

What’s your take on the NFL and sports betting? Share your opinions in our General Discussion Forum.


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