How The Raiders’ Move Effects The NFL’s Stance On Sports Betting In The US

NFLGoodell says that the NFL has not changed its position on sports betting – but with a 31-1 vote in favor of moving the Raiders, one has to ask the question – is the NFL opposed to sports betting, or is Goodell?

After a nearly unanimous owner’s vote, the Oakland Raiders have officially been moved to Sin City itself, Las Vegas. The entertainment capital of the US is housed in the only state that is allowed to offer regulated betting on every sport, something that the NFL has infamously fought to keep out of the rest of the US.

Even now, they are one of the lead plaintiffs in a court battle with New Jersey on the issue. The overwhelming approval of the owners to move a major franchise directly into the middle of an industry they’ve fought against for decades, then, seems almost counter-intuitive. It begs the question of whether or not the NFL is actually quite as opposed to sports betting regulations as Goodell makes it seem.

Albert Breer of the Monday Morning Quarterback covered the vote, speculating on, amongst other things, how the Raider’s move effects the NFL’s stance on sports betting in the US. Breer recalled that the previous owner of the Oakland Raiders, Al Davis, had been told that Vegas would never be a possibility for relocation. This conviction stemmed from the city’s reputation for corruption and most of all, gambling.

But what once would have been at the forefront of the argument against this exact move has now become such a non-issue that it’s not even on most owners’ radars anymore. Still, Breer asked whether or not Sin City’s reputation and main source of entertainment posed any problems when the owners’ considered their decisions.

“From a gambling standpoint? That’s a joke to even say that’d be a problem,” said one AFC owner. “Sports gambling is going to be legal. We might as well embrace it and become part of the solution, rather than fight it. It’s in everyone’s best interests for it to be above-board.”

Several other owners chimed in with agreements, stating that today’s technology made gambling an issue that has been “put to bed.” Until Breer went searching for these opinions, however, none of us had seen this side of the owners. As Commissioner, Goodell is supposed to represent the owners’ wishes. So it boggles the mind that if there is open acknowledgment and even acceptance of fans’ betting on sports, why does he remain so steadfastly opposed to even opening a discussion on the issue?

Although the specific owners were more than happy to give quotes on the matter, they have requested to remain anonymous. Whether or not this is because they fear backlash from Commissioner Goodell remains unclear. What is clear, however, is that the tide has definitely shifted when it comes to the issue of sports betting. As one NFC owner put it “Any of us can pull our phones out of our pockets and place a bet right now.” So it seems, much like our Commander-in-Chief, they appear to be fine with the idea of sports betting since it is already happening at sites like BetOnline.

How Does This Help The Case For Sports Betting In The US

This move, in the opinion of many, is a turning point in New Jersey’s Supreme Court battle. Goodell has maintained that legalizing sports betting would permanently and irreparably damage the integrity of the game. This has been the main argument for upholding the federal ban since it was put into effect in 1992. According to one Florida-based sports betting litigator, The Raider’s relocation might have actually worked against this assertion.

“Approving a franchise relocation to Las Vegas is certainly one more nail in the NFL’s coffin in that respect,” said Daniel Wallach, an expert on the issue. “We may have finally reached the point where the NFL and the other leagues can no longer successfully maintain that they would be irreparably harmed by state-regulated sports gaming.”

The league already has a number of games in London each year, where sports betting is legalized and available in many public locations. Teams have not lodged complaints of cheating, harm, or any mischief caused by players or outside sources by the ability of UK residents to wager on the games. So if these NFL games can take place there without the “integrity” of the game being compromised, why can’t it be done here?

Will We Have To Wait Until The Raiders Move To Nevada To See A Turn In The Case For Legalized Sports Betting?

It’s all well and good to talk about how this will be yet another crucial turning point in the fight for legalized sports betting, but the Raiders are scheduled to make the official move to Nevada in 2019 or 2020, depending on when their stadium is ready. That’s several years away. And unfortunately, overturning, repealing, and amending federal laws does take quite a bit of time. Fortunately, though, we won’t have to wait that long to see if Leagues will soften their stances when it comes to regulating sports betting in every state.

This is because the Raiders aren’t the first professional team to make the move to Sin City. The NHL, the other professional league that hasn’t acquiesced on this issue, awarded Nevada’s request for its own franchise. The Las Vegas Golden Knights make their debut in the 2017-2018 season right on the strip, and to date, have not been taken down from any Nevada sportsbooks.

So we’ll actually be able to see some results by the end of this year. While the NHL isn’t nearly as popular among bettors as the NFL is, this new franchise can act as a test run, to see how having a professional team in Las Vegas effects the integrity of the game. If all goes well, we might see an even bigger shift among owners – not just in the NFL or NHL, but in every other league as well. And not just in terms of sports betting in Nevada but on a much wider scale.

If everything goes well with both teams, we should definitely see a change. But, if the NFL’s – read Goodell’s – stance on sports betting still hasn’t changed even after an NFL franchise successfully builds a home in the epicenter of US gambling, we just might see the owners stage a mutiny against Goodell and his agenda

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