What’s the Future of Sports Betting in the NFL?

The future of the NFL is here, and it involves betting on whether your home team will defeat their rival this Sunday. Currently, 26 states and Washington, D.C., allow sports wagers, and even more states are in the process of passing bills to legalize gambling. All this is just the beginning of the changes coming to America's favorite sport.

A Brief History of Gambling in the NFL

In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal law prohibiting states from allowing legal gambling on college and professional sports. Before the Supreme Court overturned the law, the NFL was strictly opposed to sports wagers, taking care to stay away from fantasy football conventions in Las Vegas, but suing the state of New Jersey to stop sports betting legalization in 2012.

Soon after the Supreme Court ruled, the NFL made their move by officially partnering with FanDuel, Caesars, and DraftKings in a $1 billion agreement. The NFL is poised to make millions on legalized sports betting. With the future of sports gambling being so bright, be on the lookout for the following trends.

1. Increased Advertising

In the 2021 NFL season, the league is permitting six sports betting advertisements during a football broadcast. They are currently limiting promotions to just six per game — one during the pregame and halftime and one during each quarter. In pregame shows, hosts are allowed to discuss betting odds and point spreads for different teams. During the game itself, you can watch betting lines and spreads flash across the bottom of the screen on a ticker.

At this point, game broadcasting will not feature discussions about betting. While the NFL has embraced this current relationship with gambling, some fans are still not quite ready to hear gaming content from their favorite announcer. In a survey conducted by the NFL, 60% of women, most of whom were over the age of 55, actively reject sports betting, instead choosing to spend their money on essential NFL gear. Compare that to fans over the age of 21 — of which 20% were frequent sports betters, and 30% were casual betters. Additionally, the American Gaming Association found that 45.2 million people plan to bet on football this season.

Over time, more people could become comfortable with the idea of betting on sports, growing accustomed to seeing advertisements about sportsbooks and hearing announcers discuss betting odds. However, those that have gambling addictions will likely struggle with this increased exposure to sports betting opportunities — if you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, you can always reach out for help. For better or for worse, the NFL has a financial incentive to continue advertising gambling opportunities, with a projected intake of $270 million in the 2021 season, so look for this trend to continue in creative ways.

2. Betting Lounges and Sportsbooks in Stadiums

Many NFL stadiums are adding betting lounges inside their property. The lounges look and feel like a casino sportsbook, but all fans will place bets on their mobile devices. They are completely closed off from the rest of the stadium, and to enter, you must be 21 years of age. In the rest of the stadium, on screens and scoreboards, you will likely see advertisements for sportsbooks, as well as detailed wager information.

The Arizona Cardinals is partnering with BetMGM to develop a retail sportsbook at State Farm Stadium. This is different from just a betting lounge in that fans can place wagers directly onsite. This development will go live as soon as 2022. Look for more betting lounges and retail sportsbooks to be added to NFL stadiums in the coming years.

3. Additional Sportsbook Options

The latest trend in the future of sports betting is increased sportsbook options for consumers. Networks are moving into this lucrative field, providing their spin and benefit to attract people to their services.

FOX is currently the only broadcasting network to offer its sportsbook option with FOX Bet. At the start of their match coverage, they often discuss in-game odds and point spreads and reference FOX Bet. FOX's coverage is typically the most gamified, sometimes highlighting a contest where you can win money from host Terry Bradshaw.

In the future, you will likely see other TV networks follow suit by creating their sportsbooks and perhaps even further featuring wagering content.

4. A Sports Betting Channel

With the boom of sports wagering, will cable or streaming services soon dedicate an entire TV channel to NFL gambling? ESPN recently launched a YouTube channel dedicated to the subject, but it's not quite the same as 24-hour television.

Other 24-hour streaming services like the Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSiN) provide crucial sports betting information through online radio programming. However, this isn't quite the same as being able to turn on the TV and watch your favorite announcers share their tips for this week's game.

While the presence of 24-hour sports wager content is currently absent, it likely won't be for long. Look for ESPN or the NFL Network to soon fill this gap and provide this streaming material.

Betting on the Future of the NFL

The future is clear. People want to gamble on football, and the NFL will continue to innovate the experience, making it easier for fans in the years to come. The only question now is: which team are you betting on this Sunday?

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