NFL keeps embracing betting, allows stadium sportsbooks to operate on game day
The NFL didn't just change its mind on sports betting. It did a U-turn that will give you whiplash.
Until a few years ago, the NFL treated betting like it would ruin the sport. Any mention of it, or even a small connection to betting of any kind, was a reason for the NFL to clutch its pearls.
On Tuesday, NFL owners voted to allow sportsbooks in stadiums to remain open on gamedays. Imagine reading that sentence 10 years ago.
The Athletic was first to report that owners approved sportsbook operation in stadiums on gamedays. At this point only the Washington Commanders have a physical sportsbook in the stadium. The Arizona Cardinals have one just outside the stadium, as do the New York Giants and Jets. That could expand, given Tuesday's vote.
The vote will produce more revenue for teams, but many bettors already use apps on their phone to bet. That means Tuesday's vote is probably more symbolic than a massive revenue boon. But it is hugely symbolic. Legal sports betting has expanded at a rapid rate and the NFL has jumped in with both feet. The league will now allow its fans to make bets on games inside its stadiums, and not just on their phones. That's a big step.
The relationship between the NFL and sports betting will continue to grow, especially if betting becomes legal in California and Texas. It's odd, considering the history, but Tuesday's vote is part of a new world for the NFL.