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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

NFL’s Altered Stance on Sports Betting on Display at Super Bowl LVII

  • State Farm Stadium becomes first Super Bowl venue with a sportsbook on the same property.
  • The NFL opposed expansion of sports bettering before Supreme Court decision in 2018.
NFL betting
Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY NETWORK

Less than five months after the last Super Bowl held in Arizona in 2015, the NFL effectively banned Tony Tomo, Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown, and other then-active players from attending a fantasy football event in Las Vegas that summer. 

Enter Super Bowl LVII, where BetMGM has a sportsbook located next to State Farm Stadium. The sportsbook was the first at an NFL stadium when it openend in September.

The NFL — which had for decades pushed back on sports betting outside of Nevada — partnered with Caesars Entertainment, DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, FOX Bet, PointsBet and WynnBet in 2021.

Jeff Miller, NFL executive VP of communications for public affairs & policy, explained the change in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday.

“PASPA is no longer the law of the land after the Supreme Court’s decision and the states were free to make [their own] decisions around legalized sports gambling,” Miller said. “Our role has always been, and will continue to be, about preserving the integrity of the game as it relates to sports betting and many other things.”

The U.S. Supreme Court declared the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional in May 2018, allowing the states to offer the same state-sanctioned sports gambling as Nevada. About two-thirds of states (and the District of Columbia) offer some form of legalized sports betting.   

Miller said about 19,000 league and team employees have undergone trailing “on the rules and regulations as they relate to sports betting and the risks and dangers associated with it.”

“It’s a huge challenge of course, and that’s something that we take incredibly seriously and had to address in different ways once the law of the land changed and the states began to adopt their own regulations and laws concerning it,” Miller said. 

Over the last year, the NFL has issued two suspensions for violations to league gambling policy: Jets wide receiver coach Miles Austin last month and Atlanta Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley in March 2022. 

Peter O’Reilly, NFL executive VP of club business and league events, added that the league remains committed to pushing for responsible betting by fans. 

“We are making sure that that’s fully front and center across game day because yes, this is the first time we’ve had a Super Bowl where you had that [has a] sportsbook [close] to the stadium,” O’Reilly said.

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