Is the NFL starting to eye the rewards of online gambling ?

The National Football League (NFL) recently announced that it would allow advertising for Las Vegas casinos during the postseason playoff games, including the Super Bowl.

This is a significant change in attitude for an organization that has, in the past, come out harshly against gambling in all forms.  

The NFL is one of the main supporters of the UIGEA (the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, the hotly debated law that seeks to outlaw Internet poker and online casinos in the U.S.). In addition, the NFL is among the organizations that lobby most to ensure online gambling remains prohibited.

This is, of course, after ensuring that there are specific carveouts and exclusions for “fantasy football betting pools” which proliferate online and generate significant prize-money. The NFL promotes online gambling whenever IT gets a slice of the profits!

So perhaps the NFL is noticing the downturn in advertising revenue this season? Perhaps the NFL wants to cash in on the SuperBowl, the biggest advertising event in the United States?

For whatever reason the Associated Press (AP) are reporting that “Under the modified policy, tourist destinations that allow gambling, such as Las Vegas, Reno or Lake Tahoe in Nevada, will now be permitted to advertise during NFL games from Jan. 4, 2010, to Feb. 28, 2010″.

Is this a sign that the NFL is perhaps slowly leveraging itself to reap the profits in the event that online gambling becomes legal in the United States ?

Or is it perhaps just an other act of hypocrisy from one of the United States’ most powerful sporting bodies?

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