The Rise of Sports Betting

official betting

Sports betting has exploded across the United States since the Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on the practice in 2018. The NFL has embraced the change, partnering with FanDuel and Caesars and opening sportsbooks inside some of its stadiums. The league is deploying more resources than ever to monitor the betting market and catch offenders, including adding in-house staff and working with integrity firms.

The NFL’s new strategy is paying off. Sportsbooks are opening up in states that legalized the activity in 2021, with Illinois and Indiana launching online sportsbooks this year. Arizona launched in April with both retail and online options, and FanDuel, MGM, and Caesars were among the first sportsbooks to open up.

Those partnerships are allowing fans to bet on everything from how many yards a quarterback will throw for in a game to which team will score the first touchdown. Some of those bets will be placed on official NFL odds, but in most cases they’ll be available through Fanatics Sportsbook, which has already expanded to a number of states and acquired the US operations of PointsBet. The company hopes to launch a mobile app in additional states in the coming months, and it’s also working on a partnership with a major sports apparel brand that would allow customers to place bets with their merchandise.

As betting has increased, the NCAA has become increasingly concerned about its impact on college athletics. In a September 2023 survey of campus compliance directors, 27% of schools with autonomy reported dealing with a sports betting problem involving their athletes or employees, up from 20% in 2019. The NCAA says that betting creates a “serious threat to the health and well-being of student-athletes,” and it has stepped up its efforts to combat the issue.

In addition to creating a centralized department tasked with managing the impact of gambling on its competitions, the organization has introduced an online course for coaches and athletic directors. The course teaches about the risks of gambling addiction and how it affects student-athletes. The NCAA has also partnered with sportsbooks to encourage responsible betting.

The NHL has no formal policy on where players can bet, but a clause in the collective bargaining agreement prohibits them from placing wagers on games in which they play. The rule is posted in every locker room. The NHL also requires its officials to undergo a background check that includes a review of any criminal charges or convictions related to gambling or sports betting.

The NBA has taken a similar approach, but it’s not as extensive as the NFL’s. The NBA has a policy that says players and staff can place bets as long as they aren’t placed on its own or affiliated properties. The rule applies to both in-uniform and off-duty personnel, and it doesn’t exclude fantasy sports or Super Bowl squares, which are generally considered non-NBA-related. The only caveat is that NBA officials cannot participate in a pool that offers cash prizes for any wagers on the outcome of an NBA game.