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The NFL and Gambling - Harmless or Hypocritical?

Gambling News - August 24th, 2009 - Written by Glen

football and gambling The NFL has voiced their opinion again more than once, but are they truly as against gambling as they claim? The recent push by Delaware to re-legalize sports wagering in their state has brought the NFL under fire, as they have not only supported, but indeed sponsored several forms of gambling. The Delaware sports gambling scheme is a state lottery initiative, but the NFL is vigorously opposing the entire system.

While they oppose wagering on their games, the NFL has promoted other forms of gambling. Scratch off lottery tickets are currently being produced and sold under terms from the League. Virginia, Massachusetts, Texas, and Washington each have a lottery scratch card in their respective states. These tickets are emblazoned with the likeness of their team, with the Redskins, Patriots, Cowboys, and Seahawks each holding their own type of ticket. Players can win not only money, but also prizes such as tickets to major events.

The licensing of these lottery tickets has brought the attention of critics and supporters alike. Some will see this as a way to advertise for the team, as well as support the expenses the team may have. For instance, in Seattle, the tickets are supposed to help pay for the debt on Qwest Field. It could also be argued that the NFL will only sponsor gambling that could generate money for the league. While the lottery tickets have nothing to do with the games themselves, cries of hypocrisy can still be heard, ringing out against the NFL.

Fantasy sports are not only endorsed, but also sponsored by the NFL. Fantasy sports allow players to act as a coach or commissioner for a theoretical league, operated by a fan. Most of these fantasy leagues require a small sign up fee, but at the end of the "season," players could see prizes, either monetary or material. Fantasy sports are one of the few types of gambling deemed legal under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. It is considered a game of skill, rather than a game of chance, which is the plausible reason why this form of gambling remains legal. Fantasy NFL leagues usually require the sponsor to pay the NFL a certain amount of money before they can host the service. This adds to the sea of frowns by those who would rather see wagering on games legal, rather than the scratch tickets and fantasy leagues that are already in play.

While the issue is being debated in court, the NFL is still refusing to waver in their commitment toward overturning single game sports betting. Delaware is one of the four states that allow any form of sports gambling, though online sports betting sites have been making it possible for fans from every state to place sports wagers. This is, in fact, one of the biggest arguments that the gambling supporters in Delaware have. Sports gambling is a harsh reality being delivered through the Internet as often as it is through books in Vegas. While sports gambling itself is legal for the players, the UIGEA prohibits financial institutions from processing the transactions between the player and the sports book. Ironically, the court hearing between the leagues and Delaware is set to be held in December, the month that the UIGEA is supposed to go into full effect. The laws will remain the same, as Internet sports gambling is concerned, unless the regulatory act sponsored by Representative Barney Frank goes into effect prior to the full integration of the UIGEA.

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