Commissioner Roger Goodell says the NFL is prepared for expanded legalized sports betting in the United States and wants Congress to be involved.
However, unlike Major League Baseball and the NBA, the NFL is not interested in receiving a direct cut of action through a fee, league sources told ESPN’s Don Van Natta. The league instead is more focused on data and video rights as a potential monetization opportunity, sources said.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, the league-supported federal ban on state-sponsored sports betting, was unconstitutional. The landmark decision opened a path for states to decide whether to legalize sports betting.
New Jersey and Delaware are expected to begin offering a full menu of legal sports betting in June, with more states poised to move forward by football season.
In a statement released Monday, Goodell said the NFL had spent time planning for expanded legal sports betting, “including substantial education and compliance trainings for our clubs, players, employees and partners.”
“These efforts include supporting commonsense legislation that protects our players, coaches and fans and maintains public confidence in our games,” Goodell said in the statement. “We are asking Congress to enact uniform standards for the states that choose to legalized sports betting that include, at a minimum, four core principles:
“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 here and abroad.”
U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has had discussions with the NFL and is planning to introduce federal sports betting legislation.
In the meantime, Major League Baseball, the NBA and PGA Tour are lobbying in states interested in legalizing sports betting and have been asking for a percentage of the amount wagered on their respective events in the form of a royalty.
The leagues originally asked for sports betting operators to pay 1 percent of the amount wagered on their games but have since lowered the request to 0.25 percent. A bill sponsored by New York state Sen. John Bonacic does include a stipulation that 0.25 percent of the amount bet goes to the sports leagues.
None of the states that have already passed sports betting legislation include a fee paid to the leagues.
In 2017, $1.7 billion was bet on football, both college and professional, at Nevada sportsbooks, the most of any the major sports. Bookmakers say the NFL accounts for approximately 50-55 percent of that money.