Gambling in the NFL

Good for Business, but is it good for the game?


After rejecting the idea of gambling, the NFL has changed their minds on the subject and now seems to be encouraging the idea. On April 15, 2021, the NFL announced a deal with Caesars Entertainment, DraftKings, and FanDuel as official sports betting partners.

At the end of the day, money is money, and the NFL is really good at making money.

— Trey Wingo, former host of NFL Live

Although many are skeptical of this move by the NFL, those close to the business side of the sport are all for it, as it will lead to growth inside the game. The league expects to gain more than $270 million in revenue alone in sports gambling deals this year. Trey Wingo, the former host of “NFL Live,” expressed his ideas about sports betting, saying, “It’s like turning the ship 180 degrees from where the NFL was, but they’ve embraced it. And it’s absolutely the right move. At the end of the day, money is money, and the NFL is really good at making money.” Teams in the NFL such as the Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, and New Orleans Saints have gotten their own sports betting sponsors. Many of these teams are hoping to make some money back after a rough year of the ongoing pandemic. Although this could lead to a very prosperous time in the league, many believe that this will lead to corruption within the sport.
Corruption is a very large issue, as many fans believe this decision may ruin the integrity of the sport and league if there are not proper regulations and training for players, coaches, and officials. If the money does not help safeguard the game, it could lead to major problems such as players feeling encouraged to throw games for personal gain. This fear is not baseless; The National Hockey League’s San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane has apparently thrown his games after betting against his team. The NHL is looking into these accusations, but so far, the investigation has been inconclusive. Although those inside the league have mentioned the importance of protecting the integrity of the league, many believe that corruption is inevitable.
Despite having many harsh critics, the NFL believes this is the best solution for the future of the league. They have decided to put in disciplinary measures for the people inside the league to protect its integrity. When discussing this topic, NFL executive vice president, Christopher Halpin said, “For the NFL, protecting against corruption remains paramount.”
Obviously a league as large as the NFL would not implement such a substantial idea without researching the subject beforehand to make sure they are maintaining the longevity of the league. During this research, the NFL discovered that there was between $75 billion and $125 billion gambled illegally in the U.S. during this time, which are completely mind-boggling numbers. These numbers seem to suggest that it would not matter to the frequent sports bettors, as they would bet legally or illegally. Halpin had this to say about this situation, “At the end of the day, you’d much rather, if someone is going to bet, have it be in a legal, regulated market as a sport than done offshore.”
In the last few months since the decision, sport betting is going well without many obstacles popping up. Hopefully things will stay this way and this new safe and controlled environment for sports betting will lead to longevity within the league.