NFL Adds Position to Oversee Legal Sports Betting

Prior to 2018, the National Football League’s stance was firmly against any form of legal sports betting. The NFL went as far as to join a federal lawsuit fighting states’ rights to govern and regulate legal sports betting. The state of New Jersey actually led that legal battle and eventually won.

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The NFL and Legal Sports Betting

In May of 2018, a landmark decision by the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of states’ rights in the matter. As they say, the rest is history.

Almost overnight, legal sports betting in the US has grown into a multi-billion-dollar industry with major players such as FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and Caesars Sportsbook. Professional sports leagues, such as the NFL, have quickly changed their stance against betting on sports.

As the biggest sports betting league in the US, the NFL now views legal sports betting as an important source of revenue. This has been demonstrated by multiple partnerships with the biggest legal US sportsbook operators in the country.

The NFL will now go one step further to aid the growth in this added revenue stream. In 2020, the league first decided to create a new position on the executive management team. The goal was to hire a general manager and vice president of sports betting.

That initiative was put on the backburner for the time being. However, recent reports out of the NFL’s front office is an active search to finally fill that position.

The NFL and the US Sportsbook Industry

Heading into the 2021 NFL season, the league had partnerships in place with four US-based sportsbook operators. That list included BetMGM and WynnBET as Las Vegas-based casino gaming giants. FOX Bet demonstrated the relationship with media properties. Australia’s PointsBet demonstrated global appeal.

All four of these strategic partners gained access to NFL data and analytics as one of the biggest benefits. The betting potential of the NFL deifies explanation with an estimated 31.4 million Americans betting on this year’s Super Bowl.

The NFL’s GM and Vice President of Sports Betting

The primary focus of this new position has been described as “protecting the game’s integrity, advancing the NFL’s brand and reputation, boosting fan engagement around the world and increasing the value of the NFL’s data and intellectual property.”

The league’s announcement that it will finally fill this role is a perfect example of professional sports growing partnership with commercial sportsbook operators.

The NFL is considered to be the biggest professional betting draw in the industry. Yet, the league lags behind most of its counterparts. To date, the NBA, MLB and NASCAR have already added a sports betting vice president to their executive management team.

The recent case involving Calvin Ridley betting on football as a player raises some of the NFL’s previous concerns. The league’s sports betting division has been reporting to Chief Strategy Officer Chris Haplin in the past.

His departure from the NFL in January created a void that still needs to be filled. Chief Revenue Officer Renie Anderson has been tasked with filling the role of GM and VP of Sports Betting.

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