NFL Owners Love Sports Betting

The league has a long history with gambling.

The National Football League is in week one of the 2022 season and there is a new wrinkle in the league. People attending Arizona Cardinals games in Glendale can place bets on any NFL game within the stadium property. The Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill said the betting area “will provide an opportunity to engage and entertain our fans in a way that is unprecedented.” Bidwill is making money off of the betting business. For years the NFL was against any form of sports betting, or at least the legal version of sports betting but the NFL’s formative days saw a number of unsavory characters buying teams.

In 1925, a professional bookie named Tim Mara started the New York Giants franchise, a team that nearly folded during that year and was saved by the Red Grange and Chicago Bears barnstorming tour around the country. In 1930, the “King of the Rum Runners” Big Bill Dwyer purchased the Dayton Triangles and moved the team to Ebbets Field in Brooklyn and renamed them the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1932, Al Capone associate and Michael Bidwill’s grandfather Charles Bidwill bought the Chicago Cardinals. In 1933, Charles Bidwill convinced his friend Art Rooney to set up an NFL team in Pittsburgh. Rooney paid the $2,500 franchise fee. Allegedly he had the money for the team after winning a parlay at racetrack. In 1936, Rooney won another parlay, this time for $160,000, and used the winnings to fund the team until he sold it in 1941. The NFL’s popularity grew because of gambling and the point spread. One other team figures to have an onsite gambling area sometime soon. The state of Maryland has given Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder a sports betting license. The National Football League has embraced sports gambling, it makes money for the owners.

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. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)