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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Clarifies Stance on Legal Sports Betting

The NFL was slow (at least, by its standards) to react when the ruling came down that reversed a 1992 law banning most states from legalized sports betting. A week later, it was the league’s commissioner offering up the league’s stance on the matter.

Roger Goodell issued a statement regarding the league’s position on sports betting. For a full scope of the league’s position, you can check out Goodell’s statement in its entirety here.

In detailing the league’s stance, Goodell emphasized the importance of protecting the sport’s integrity for fans, players, and coaches. Further, Goodell stood firm in a long-standing position in which legalized sports wagering should be governed by federal law and not state law.

(Aside: It’s worth noting that while the United States Supreme Court lifted the ban that kept states from legalizing sports betting, the states themselves have yet to come up with legalized sports betting vehicles. Though, that’s not much of a surprise as it wasn’t expected to happen over night.)

What might stand out most here is the league’s bullet points highlighting four “core principles” it hopes Congress can put in place for states to follow:

  1. There must be substantial consumer protections;
  2. Sports leagues can protect our content and intellectual property from those who attempt to steal or misuse it;
  3. Fans will have access to official, reliable league data; and
  4. Law enforcement will have the resources, monitoring and enforcement tools necessary to protect our fans and penalize bad actors at home and abroad.

Protecting consumers, content, and intellectual property all seem like fair things to ask for from the NFL and the other leagues in play. And I’m 100 percent on board with more access to “official, reliable league data” for all the obvious reasons. As we learned during the John Fox era, the NFL is sheltered and closed off, by nature.

So if legalized sports betting leads to a bigger share of available information, then there will be winners beyond those of us who enjoy dabbling in legal wagering.

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