Cory's Corner: Gambling Is America's Favorite Side Dish

The NFL was the most popular sport in America before legalized sports betting. Now it's in a completely different galaxy. 

I was totally against the NFL, and all of pro sports for that matter, when they began to flirt with sports gambling. 

Teams have aligned with betting sites and the Raiders played their first season in Sin City in 2020.

And now, we are on the doorstep of a Las Vegas Super Bowl. I never thought the greatest sporting event would ever be held in Vegas, but that’s where we are. Super Bowl LVIII is a referendum on sports gambling and its economic impact. 

The NFL makes $132 million from gambling related sponsorships. The online sports betting revenue for 2023 was nearly $11 billion. Since 1992, Americans have legally wagered about $245 billion. There are many TV and radio shows dedicated to gambling and you cannot watch the scores on ESPN’s BottomLine without seeing lines and an over/under. 

But the NFL has also doubled down and has become the National Council on Problem Gambling’s largest donor.

There are still whispers about the NFL being rigged and even NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had to address it this week. “I don’t think I’m that good a scripter or anybody on our staff.”

There is the fear that more access to gambling could potentially cause problems with credibility, but I think aligning yourself with legalized gambling makes it easier to be policed. 

If a player is dropping balls or missing tackles on purpose, you don’t think folks in Vegas are going to find out? That’s the last place that anyone should be cheating. There is so much money invested in hotels, resorts and entertainment and it has all come on the backs of gambling. They will do whatever needs to be done to protect the Golden Goose. 

So where do we go from here? Well, the floodgates are open. As we see more states legalize sports gambling, teams will have to find creative ways to get fans into stadiums. Will fans opt to stay in bars and gamble on their phones or is the allure of the in-game experience still as valuable as it once was?

This Super Bowl is closing a chapter on one generation and starting a chapter that many don’t look forward to. Many are afraid that gambling has replaced the actual game and the storylines that it generates. I disagree. The game is always going to be interesting — whether you’ve got skin in the game or not. And there will always be juicy storylines. In this Super Bowl, we’ve got a quarterback that has a cap hit of $57.3 million in 2024 and one that has a miniscule cap hit of $1.004 million. And that guy that is getting paid less next year is on the team that’s favored on Sunday. 

Look, gambling isn’t going anywhere. People have an insatiable appetite for football and betting on it has become America’s favorite side dish.

Everything from betting on games to fantasy football to betting on individual players, betting has taken the NFL into another stratosphere and has made the league even more popular.
 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (3)

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marpag1's picture

February 10, 2024 at 10:35 pm

It always cracks me up when people say that sports are rigged and that's a problem for bettors. LOL. BETTING is rigged, you boneheads. Betting rakes in billions of dollars because the system clearly favors the house. Sports gambling is for people who are arrogant enough to think they can beat the rigged system, and stupid enough not to realize that they're wrong.

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Johnblood27's picture

February 10, 2024 at 11:36 pm

well said...

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SinceLombardi's picture

February 11, 2024 at 06:02 am

I think the fact , the NFL has partnered up with legalized gambling simply shows how much contempt they have for their fans. Considering how “analytics” drive the league’s sidelines, have they got a sheet on problem gambling?
The NFL is well aware what will happen to the majority of NFL bettors, and they don’t care..
Can we expect to see a message of PROFITS OVER PEOPLE on the base of a helmet? Of course not, the league that sanctioned racism for so long is too busy calling YOU a racist.
I pity the poor fools that get deeply involved in sports betting. In the 80s when I was young I was a backstretch employee of the NYRA horse race circuit. Some of the most valuable lessons on life that I ever learned. The fact that you can bet on anything with a phone and a credit card is not a societal positive. And good old Joe Biden ( as a senator) made it impossible to escape credit card debt through bankruptcy.
I was appalled recently as the Buffalo Bills wanted VOLUNTEERS to shovel snow ( the #1 cause of heart attack) after paying next to nothing before that. As NYers we have given the Bills $800 million for a new stadium.
That is what the NFL thinks of its fans. Bet on it.

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