One of online gambling's most implacable foes – the US National Football League – came under fire from Associated Press over the weekend for its latest moves to increase revenues for owners.
After years of moralising about the dangers to sport of allowing betting on games, the NFL is now allowing its team owners to position (for a cut of the action) team logos on state lottery scratch tickets despite boycott and legal threats directed at the governor of Delaware over his plans for a sports lottery.
The Patriots and the Redskins have been quick to jump into the new revenue stream, signing deals with the Massachusetts and Virginia state lotteries respectively.
The AP story comments that: "…the league that is so terrified of gambling that it refused to allow a Las Vegas commercial during the Super Bowl a few years back is now in the gambling business itself. Aware that it can sell only so many $300 tickets to its games, the NFL has figured out a way to get a cut of some of the biggest gambling operations around.
"No word yet on whether there will be [lottery] kiosks next to the beer stands at the stadiums, but that won't likely be far behind. The one thing the NFL does know how to do is promote its product."
The article considers the apparent hypocrisy of the League's position on the lottery logo projects following its opposition to the sports lottery in Delaware, which has been approved and signed off, and now awaits state Supreme Court guidance on what betting is permissible.
"That apparently crosses the line for the NFL, whose stance against betting on its games has always been a bit ironic considering gamblers helped found the league and the evolution of point spreads helped make it so wildly popular," the piece opines. "So attorneys for the League were in the courtroom the other day arguing before the Delaware Supreme Court that betting on NFL games should not be allowed.
"Their reasoning? Bettors might have too good a chance to win."
The Massachusetts State Lottery, where the Patriots tickets will be sold, already runs a Boston Red Sox game, which this year offers prizes of up to $1 million for 10 lucky buyers. The official odds show that one out of every 4.5 tickets is a winner. But odds of actually winning something over a player's original investment are more like one in eight because 10 percent of the payoffs merely refund the five dollar betting stake.
Associated Press sums up its report by commenting: "In the end, gambling is gambling. And now that the NFL is in the gambling business, it has lost its right to the moral high ground on the issue.
"Lotteries are the worst form of gambling imaginable. They prey on the weakest people and exploit their dreams.
"The next time the NFL screams about sports betting, remember who is sharing its bed."