The NFL recently announced that they would start accepting advertising money from casinos. This move may come as a shock to some in the industry, mainly because no professional league boasts a direct correlation to gambling. However, I see the acceptance of sports gambling to become much more of a social norm in the upcoming years, and the NFL is the catalyst.
Traditionally, all that has come from sports and gambling is controversy. Pete Rose in the MLB, Michael Jordan and Tim Donaghy in the NBA, Boston College and the Mob in the NCAA, but there has never really been an NFL scandal regarding gambling.
With the ever increasing need for any form of revenue, the NFL would be ignorant not to explore this option for revenue. Not only are advertising dollars down, but so are dollars in every other area of the game. Casinos most likely will offer more money for prime advertising spots than an insurance company or bank. So for now, this is a strong handed move, and I foresee the NBA following suit. It is more difficult to bet on the NHL and the MLB, so they will most likely be the last groups on the bandwagon.
However smart this move is now, it is a bit scary to think about what this could snowball into. Would a company like the Royal Palms be able to purchase an entire NFL team (maybe the Vikings)? Would the Hard Rock casino be allowed to place slot machines in the concourse? For the sake of the game, let’s hope that sports and gambling do not become synonymous in the future.