Why Is the NFL Unhappy About the Supreme Court Sports Gambling Decision?

News the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of opening the door to legalized gambling on sports has left the NFL far from impressed.

In a landmark ruling on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 6-3 in favour of declaring the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) illegal. Passed in 1992, PASPA gave states that already had licensed casino gaming 12 months to decide whether they wanted to establish legal sports betting in their territory.

Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon did, while the remaining 46 states did not, effectively banning sports betting within their borders.

GettyImages-910768600 Some of the more than 400 proposition bets for Super Bowl LI between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots are displayed at the Race & Sports SuperBook at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino on January 26, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

However, while many hailed the decision, the NFL was far from pleased with the development.

“The NFL’s long-standing and unwavering commitment to protecting the integrity of our game remains absolute,” the league said in a statement.

“Congress has long-recognized the potential harms posed by sports betting to the integrity of sporting contests and the public confidence in these events.

“Given that history, we intend to call on Congress again, this time to enact a core regulatory framework for legalized sports betting. We also will work closely with our clubs to ensure that any state efforts that move forward in the meantime protect our fans and the integrity of the game.”

However, the NFL could struggle to convince Congress to pass a bill related to sports gambling, largely because the Supreme Court’s decision implies each state will determine its own betting laws.

"The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make. Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own," the court said.

The NFL finds itself in a delicate situation. The Supreme Court ruling theoretically means the league stands to make a lot of money from betting, but at the same time it will have to fight the notion that readily available gambling could pave the way to corruption.

Conversely, according to figures compiled by the American Gaming Association, Americans illegally wagered some $150 billion even before the ruling, therefore corruption is unlikely to become more likely.

The league added it will not “rush toward the biggest pot of dollars” and instead is much more likely to monitor what kind of scenario will play out over the next 10 or 20 years.

That said, the NFL knows betting offers the chance to boost its coffers even further, therefore expect the league to work towards an arragement which allows it to maximize its revenue while retaining the integrity it dearly cherishes.

Speaking in March last year, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said gambling and the NFL already coexisted.

“It’s happening today,” he said. “It’s sponsored by governments. It exists throughout our world. What we have always said is we need to make sure that there’s a fine line between team-sports gambling and the NFL. We want to protect the integrity of our game, and that’s the line we will always do.”

NFL owners are scheduled to meet next week in Atlanta and the Supreme Court ruling will be high on the agenda.