Peter King spoke to Roger Goodell about the Raiders moving to Las Vegas, where it turns out gambling is legal(!!!):
“We are not changing our position as it relates to legalized sports gambling,” Goodell said. “We still don’t think it is a positive thing. We want to make sure that the integrity of our game is the primary concern and we do everything possible to protect that. And that people are watching it for the outcome, and they know that it is not being influenced by any outside influences. We are very determined to continue that, and we will; that’s a first priority for us.”
Unless I’m completely missing something here, I can’t for the life of me understand why Goodell would continue to turn his nose up at legalized gambling when the NBA commissioner and owners from his own league, among many others, have come out in support of it. Goodell knows full-well that gambling (and daily fantasy) are huge drivers of interest in sports– look no further than super strict NFL injury report rules or the existence or RedZone. Unless he prefers to operate in back-channels and save face publicly with his ostensible alter boy demeanor and then act like the league will just have do deal with this new reality once gambling is legalized. Indeed that seems to be the case:
“I think also you have to realize the changes that are evolving in society on gambling. Second: I think Las Vegas has evolved as a city. It’s not just a singular industry. While it is still dominated by [the gambling industry], there is a lot of entertainment going there, including political conventions. Our leaders in government are all going there. You see it a lot of different ways where this city has become much more diverse as far as the industry and the events it is attracting. It is really an entertainment city now, much more broadly than it would have been thought even a decade ago, much less two or three decades ago.”
An entertainment city… with 76 casinos. Never mind that the integrity argument rings hollow when you move a team to the gambling capital of the world and continue to campaign for a team in London, where sports betting is commonplace.
I’d joke about the NFL being fully on board with gambling once they figure out how to get a slice of the pie… but they already had their dessert in the form of TV ratings and nonstop programming, much of which is fueled by degenerates. Just embrace it and take it mainstream. Everyone, the league included, will be better for it.