By Marc Lawrence, PlaybookSports.com — It’s strange remembering a time when MLB and the NBA, NCAA, NFL and NHL fought a nearly 10-year legal battle with New Jersey to stop the state from legalizing sports betting and, in 2018, lost in the U.S. Supreme Court.
The landmark decision brought sports betting to the forefront and put more focus on the policies leagues are relying on as the landscape evolves. Just five years ago, before the Supreme Court’s ruling, roughly 1% of Americans lived in states with legal betting. Now, 56% of the population resides in jurisdictions that have launched regulated sportsbooks.
An estimated 39.2 million American adults had placed a traditional sports wager in the past 12 months. The amount sportsbook brands have spent on national TV commercials annually has increased from $21.4 million in 2019 to $314.6 million in 2022 and sports betting ads have increased by more than threefold, per USA TODAY.
Despite league-imposed regulations, betting on games by professional athletes is growing rampant. In the NFL players are allowed to bet on non-NFL events with legal sportsbooks, but all other league personnel, including coaches, officials and trainers are prohibited from all sports betting.
The NFL beefed up its in-house technology, dedicating security personnel to the space and partnering with sportsbooks and integrity firms to create a network that monitors the betting market and identifies improper bettors.
The question begs: Who’s to blame? All the NFL needs to do is look in the mirror.