Advocates of the legalization of sports betting are getting more confident especially after last Monday’s oral argument in the NCAA vs Christie case. In 2014, New Jersey passed a law that permitted sports betting in casinos and racetrack – this was followed by a court case that was promptly filed against the state New Jersey citing the impacts of the law on NFL, MLB, NBA, NCAA and NHL sports. The New Jersey law was the focus of the case that was heard on Monday and even though it will be quite some time before the judges give a final verdict regarding the ruling, if the court rules in favor of New Jersey there would be a huge possibility of the legalization of sportsbetting in every part of the United States. New Jersey vision of buffing up casino activity in Atlantic city and raking more revenue from the rich gambling market necessitate a legal framework that will be free of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). The statute which was passed in 1992 barred all the states save for Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana – most of these states had already been participating in sportsbetting even before the controversial ruling.
At the moment, there are reportedly 14 other states that have already passed or are proposing such laws that would permit sports betting in case the Supreme Court rules in favor of New Jersey. In many ways, New Jersey’s perspective is rather undeniably precise about the numbers when it comes to unregulated sports betting in the United States. In 2015, for instance, the American Gaming Association estimated that about $93 billion would be placed on bets just on NFL while other estimated pointed to the fact that illegal bets can go as high as $380 billion per year. Compared to the meagre $200 million that was legally gambled on the Super Bowl 51, there is clear a huge gap that needs to be bridged.
The NFL is aware that some of the proposed legalized gambling laws will eventually be passed and the only thing the league, as well as other leagues opposing these legislations, can do is to prepare for what is to come. This may require a different approach to legalized gambling that is not philosophical and instead is oriented towards the issue of monetization. All the teams in various leagues are constantly searching for more revenue and fan engagement for marketing purpose; as it turns out, gambling will be a key component of this. The leagues will not directly benefit from the gambling revenues since it would violate certain integrity rules. However, there should be more than enough spoils brought in by a number of lucrative sponsorship activation opportunities for individual teams and every league as a whole. Fantasy sports have done extremely when it comes to fan engagement for the leagues and various teams, but with legalized sports betting fan engagement will be a buzz of endless activity.
Therefore, regardless of NFL’s strong stance as far as legalized sports betting is concerned, it is very likely that the league already has a great deal of contingency plans already in place so as to optimize the opportunities that will result from the new legislation while effectively quelling off the threats.