Wednesday November 29, 2023

NFL Looks To Congress For Help With Rising Gambling Issues

  • League pushes lawmakers to focus more on illegal betting
  • Genius Sports alters terms of recent NFL contract extension
Five NFL players were suspended in April for gambling violations.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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The NFL is the latest sports league to turn to the U.S. Congress to help deal with one of its thorniest issues.

In a similar approach to the NCAA’s ongoing appeal for assistance with NIL issues, the NFL used an inquiry into its internal gambling policy to push for federal intervention.

“We believe that additional attention and resources are needed from lawmakers and law enforcement to address the illicit sports betting market, which still has the power of incumbency,” wrote Jonathan Nabavi, NFL vice president of public policy and government affairs.

Ten NFL players have been suspended this year for gambling violations, and Denver Broncos lineman Eyioma Uwazurike is facing a criminal investigation in Colorado. But the NFL’s pitch for federal help has frustrated lawmakers, particularly as the league didn’t answer congressional questions about the number of active investigations into suspicious betting activity, among other matters.

“It’s very disappointing that the NFL has declined to answer our questions and instead pivoted to illegal sports betting generally in their response,” said Rep. Dina Titus (Dem.) of Nevada, who co-chairs the Congressional Gaming Caucus. “It makes one wonder what they are trying to hide.”

New Genius Terms

Genius Sports, the NFL’s official data provider for sportsbooks and media outlets, has altered the terms of its recent three-year rights extension to provide cash payments instead of 4 million warrants in the company. The change is designed to be less dilutive to other shareholders and provide cost certainty for the company.

Cash terms weren’t disclosed, but Genius said it has a minimum of $832.5 million in future commitments for sports data and rights, and the NFL accounts for a “significant majority” of its data rights fees.

The NFL still has 18.5 million vested warrants in Genius collectively worth about $133 million.

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