Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

How the NFL (and every pro sports league) will benefit from legalized gambling

TAMPA — Imagine sitting at Raymond James Stadium during a Bucs game in the near future. Maybe it's a good game. Maybe it's a blowout. How does it keep your interest?

What if you could use an app to make a prop bet that tight end Cameron Brate will catch a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter?

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That would not only make you more engaged in the outcome of the game, but in the result of every play.

The NFL has been looking for ways to increase attendance by enhancing the in-game experience. Certainly, this is one way to assist in that effort.

When the Supreme Court ruled the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) is unconstitutional, it cleared the way for states to legalize gambling on sports.

All the major pro sports leagues and the NCAA wanted to keep PASPA in place. But you better believe the NFL knows this could represent another potential windfall of revenue for its league.

How? Because they have the product that bettors already love. Estimates are that there is more than $150 billion wagered on sports illegally in the U.S. each year. The NFL, with its structured breaks between quarters, provides a great opportunity for the kind of prop bets that is already available during European Premier League games.

Albert Breer of MMQB wrote about this in March. What happens next is anybody's guess.

The NFL is going to talk about protecting the 'integrity,' of its game. In fact, they will ask that the federal government to regulate the states in order to increase protection of their game and the outcomes.

"The NFL's long-standing and unwavering commitment to protecting the integrity of our game remains absolute," the NFL said in a statement Monday. "Congress has long-recognized the potential harms posed by sports betting to the integrity of sporting contests and the public confidence in these events. Given that history, we intend to call on Congress again, this time to enact a core regulatory framework for legalized sports betting."

The league will incur some additional costs to protect its game. What it will ask for is an 'integrity fee,' that could be as much as 1 percent revenue from all wagers on NFL games.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban predicted franchise values in all the major sports will double after Monday's ruling.

"Everybody who owns 'top-four' professional sports team just basically saw the value of their team double at least," Cuban told CNBC, referring to the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL teams.

Forbes estimates the Bucs franchise value for 2018 at $1.975 billion, which ranks 28th in the NFL.

Don't think the Glazer family which owns the Bucs don't know how this all works. They own Manchester United F.C.

Who knows how long will take for betting apps or windows to start appearing at RJS? But I wouldn't bet against it happening now.

Contact Rick Stroud at [email protected] Follow @NFLStroud

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