Raiders to Vegas: NJ Rep. Says NFL Softening Anti-Gambling Stance

New Jersey State HouseWith New Jersey’s ongoing legal battle in challenging PASPA, the state is always abreast of any movements in the sports betting industry. The latest update happens to be that the Oakland Raiders will be moving to Southern Nevada in the somewhat near future. The team is expected to remain in Oakland until at least 2018, with it still unclear where the franchise will play in the gap year before their $1.9 billion stadium opens in 2020. The decision was finalized after a 31-1 vote by NFL owners, with the Miami Dolphins being the only team to oppose the move.

"My position today was that we as owners and as a league owe it to the fans to do everything we can to stay in the communities that have supported us until all options have been exhausted, “said Stephen Ross, owner of the Dolphins.

Congressman Pallone’s Opinion on the Move

Ross was not the only person left feeling the sting of the move, with mixed feelings from coaches, players, and fans. Of course, less than 24 hours after the announcement New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. issued his own official remarks regarding the move.

“Today, the NFL owners almost unanimously voted to approve the Raiders organization move to Las Vegas…I hope that following today’s vote, I can count on the support of the NFL and the NFL team owners for my efforts to legalize and regulate sports betting.”

Pallone has been on a long quest to legalize sports betting in NJ, with his most recent proposal being the introduction of the NJ BET Act. The act would exempt the state from the PASPA, which means the state could see legal sports betting even if NJ’s Supreme Court case does not hold up.
One of the NFL’s main arguments has been that the widespread legalization of sports betting would ruin the integrity of the game. Now that one of the franchises will be moving to Nevada, the only state that offers single-game wagering, the opinion of Pallone is that this way of thinking may no longer have ground to stand on.

NFL Says They Aren’t Budging

NFLDespite the opinions of Pallone and others who view the Raiders’ move as the first proverbial “nail in the NFL’s coffin” in their fight against regulated sports betting, the league still maintains their opposition. National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell is the poster boy for making unpopular decisions, and he continues to follow suit when it comes to the sports betting issue. In an interview with Peter King, Roger Goodell made the following remarks:

“We are not changing our position as it relates to legalized sports gambling…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… that's a first priority for us."

The Overall Consensus is... mixed.

There are two clear-cut sides on the legalized sports betting issue, but it does seem that overall attitudes are shifting. There have been several NFL owners that have expressed their view that sports gambling will eventually become legal, and that its widespread use is not as threatening as it once seemed. Other leagues, most recently NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, have been vocal about the need for federal framework to regulate statewide sports betting. The future still remains unclear on legalized sports betting, but, if nothing else, the Oakland Raiders’ move to Las Vegas has definitely sparked the dialogue necessary to propel change.

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