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Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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Expansive NFL Betting Presents Opportunity, Concerns For League

  • Latest data shows massive surge in projected NFL bettors compared to last year.
  • League dealing with spike this player in player suspensions due to gambling.
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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

American betting activity on football is exploding — but that historic increase in wagering is a mixed blessing for the NFL.

The American Gaming Association said a record 73.5 million American adults — equal to about 28% of all U.S. adults — plan to bet on the NFL season, an astounding 57.7% increase from the comparable 46.6 million last year, itself a record at the time.

Five years after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed individual states to set their own gambling laws, that massive influx in gambling activity is helping to support a still-increasing line of business for the NFL that includes an official data agreement with Genius Sports, a series of sponsorships with major sportsbooks such as FanDuel and DraftKings, physical sportsbooks at or near several NFL stadiums, and most recently, a deal for an NFL-themed slot machine.

But the league is also grappling with unprecedented levels of player-related gambling offenses, sparking ongoing debate as to how best to manage the continued encroachment of legal betting.

Ten players have been suspended this year for gambling violations — leading to rising calls of hypocrisy since owners such as Dallas’ Jerry Jones and New England’s Bob Kraft are DraftKings investors.

This past offseason and training camp were marked by a sharp increase in education measures on league policies by both the NFL and individual teams, while the league has even looked to the U.S. Congress for help.

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