Thursday, September 25, 2008

NFL and Gambling Linked? Say It Ain't So!

Online Casino Advisory has an article discussing the linkage between the founders of NFL and gambling. History is history so that isn't really big news. However, the NFL's stance opposing gambling does seem more than a bit hypocritical, if not outright schizophrenic. Gambling interest helps drive NFL viewer interest.

The NFL does have communications with the Nevada sportsbooks, so that unusual betting patterns can be quickly discerned and action taken. In that sense, legal sports betting helps protect the integrity of the game. The NFL needs to look at the recent NBA officiating scandal and make sure that that kind of thing doesn't happen.

I don't think players are the weak link. With the high salaries of professional atheletes in the US professional sports, the players aren't the people likely targeted by bad guys -- it's the officials. They don't have the publicity or notoriety and they don't get paid nearly as much.

College is a different matter. My opinion is that college sports wagering needs to be properly controlled. It would be naive to think it is only happening in legal Nevada sportsbooks. You still need the few legal books to help detect unusual wagering patterns. College players are vulnerable due to NCAA rules with regard to income.

I think the professional leagues' opposition to legal sports gambling is misplaced. They should embrace it. What needs to happen is that the leagues need a cut of the wagering. For typical fixed odds wagering, if a book is balanced, the sportsbook should gross approximately 4.5%. So, the leagues get 10% of that, or 0.5%. If approximately $1 billion is wagered illegally each week of the NFL regular season, and that wagering was made legal and regulated, the NFL would pull in an additional $5 million. For a 17 week regular season, that's $85 million. Figuring just an additional $15 million for the playoffs and Super Bowl, a round $100 million in additional revenue every year. Not chump change.

With that, they could easily pay officials more and ensure proper security and game integrity with beaucoup cash left over. Not that officials won't make bad calls, but the public would be more sure the bad call was just that and not something worse.

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2 comments:

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