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NFL vs. Online Gambling

April 27, 2009 (CAP Newswire) — As the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) prepares to spend an estimated $3 million lobbying the U.S. congress to repeal the UIGEA and regulate online poker, the organization is also getting ready to square off against a powerful business group that doesn’t want those laws to change. That group? The National Football League, or NFL, one of the most powerful professional sports organizations in the world.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the NFL says that legalized Internet gambling would represent a threat to the "integrity of our game". A spokesman for the NFL, Brian McCarthy, has gone on record to say that if the UIGEA is overturned, there would be more illegal gambling on professional football games. (Gambling on the games is already a huge, multi-billion dollar industry.)

"We understand that illegal gambling currently occurs, but there is little we can do about that," McCarthy said in the article. "However, we can exercise our right to oppose Internet betting on our games. … Gambling on our games — online or off line — threatens the integrity of our games and all the values they represent."

This activity by the NFL to keep the UIGEA in place pits it squarely against the PPA, whose chairman, Al D'Amato, has made some strong statements against those who try to censor online activity. "How dare you come into my house and tell me what I can and can't do on the Internet!" D'Amato said in the Sun-Times article.

The article also states that other sports organizations, like the NCAA and the leagues for professional baseball, basketball, and hockey, are also fighting to keep the UIGEA regulations in place. But the NFL has been the most vocal on the topic, and has spent the most time and money trying to win over Congress.

To provide some historical context, it isn’t just Internet gambling that the NFL fears. The league has opposed gambling all the way back to 1960.

The Chicago Sun-Times offers a very interesting analysis of the situation. Click here to read it.