As we finally reach Super Bowl Sunday, we’ve had legal sports betting for just under a year in the US.
Despite a lot of hand-wringing from a lot of people and groups — including the NFL — the world has not come to an end. The integrity of the game has not come to an inglorious end … everything has been just fine.
It’s also a good time to remember that the owner of one of the Super Bowl participants also owns a piece of a legal sportsbook.
Patriots + DraftKings Sportsbook
Robert Kraft is the CEO of the Kraft Group, which owns lots of things, including the New England Patriots.
Kraft Group is also an early investor in Boston-based DraftKings, which in the past year has evolved from a daily fantasy sports company into one with a sports betting presence in New Jersey and Mississippi.
As of this summer, when DraftKings Sportsbook went live in NJ, Kraft still had a stake in the company. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is also a DraftKings investor via an investment arm.
Well, integrity seems to be just fine
The NFL has long held that expansion of sports gambling could lead to the end of days for its sport because of integrity concerns.
It was, after all, a participant in the case trying to uphold the sports betting ban outside Nevada; the NFL and other leagues lost in the US Supreme Court last spring. It argued for years that sports betting would create “irreparable harm” for the league.
If the NFL really believed that, it probably would have made Kraft divest from DraftKings in a hurry. But it obviously knows that’s not the case.
The NFL has come a long way on gambling in a hurry
No matter what, it’s clear the NFL has evolved on gambling:
- The league has a “casino” deal with Caesars Entertainment, even though it doesn’t specifically cover sports wagering.
- A variety of teams have their own gambling deals in place in the wake of the Supreme Court decision.
- The NFL is asking for federal regulation of sports gambling, not a return to a ban.
And as legal Super Bowl betting happens across the country, remember that an owner of one of the game’s participants has a stake in a company that will book millions of dollars of bets on the game.