How The NFL Regulates Sports Betting TV Ads

Written By Mark Fadden on December 7, 2022 - Last Updated on July 21, 2023
NFL has come a long way on sports betting

When it comes to sportsbooks reaching potential customers during an NFL game, six is the magic number. A sports betting operator can offer a maximum of six commercials. One can air during the pre-game period, one during halftime and then one in each quarter. 

NFL has exclusive sportsbook operator deals

The six rule is true across the country, even in states like Texas, where no legal sports betting option is available to bettors.

While all the networks that air NFL games have agreed to this formula, only certain sportsbooks can broadcast ads. According to a recent article from Barstool Sports’ Dan “Big Cat” Katz

“Caesars Sportsbook, FanDuel and DraftKings are the official partners, inking deals with the league in April, while major players FoxBet, BetMGM, PointsBet and WynnBet are the four approved operators at this point.” 

In addition, DraftKings secured a deal with Amazon to broadcast its content during all 15 NFL games that will air Thursday nights on Amazon Prime Video.

In-game wagering a win-win for operators, NFL

Both sportsbook operators and the networks which broadcast NFL games are hoping that by allowing wagering during games, it will enhance several aspects of the viewing experience. They hope it will create new opportunities for fans to engage with their favorite teams and players. 

Stephanie Sherman, DraftKings chief marketing officer, recently touted her company’s relationship with Amazon to

“The NFL season is the most active time of year for our customers, so collaborating with one of the world’s leading technology brands in order to offer engaging content to viewers of TNF [Thursday Night Football] on Prime Video is a tremendous opportunity for DraftKings. Prime Video is an innovator in live content and we both have a similar focus on constantly improving our customers’ experiences.”

NFL against betting at first

For years, the NFL was against allowing fans to bet on games. In 2011, it led the NBA, NHL, MLB and NCAA to sue the state of New Jersey because it wanted to legalize sports betting. 

The NFL and other leagues said that under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, that had been in place since 1992, New Jersey couldn’t allow sports betting because the act placed a federal ban on it. 

The leagues were initially victorious, but the case made its way to the Supreme Court in May 2018. The Court struck down the law, stating that it was in direct violation of the US Constitution

While that decision brought the NFL reluctantly into the world of legalized sports betting, it has worked out well for the league. 

According to a recent study commissioned by the American Gaming Association, the NFL stands to gain $2.3 billion a year from legalized sports betting. These gains include approximately $573 million from sportsbook operators in advertising revenue, sponsorships and other fees and $1.75 billion in revenue generated from increased engagement and consumption.

That same study found that leagues that allowed sports betting increased their audience over time. And more fans means more money.  

Will Texas ever allow sports betting?

While sports betting is legal in 35 states and Washington, D.C., it’s still not legal in Texas. And if the mid-term elections tell us anything, the state still has a ways to go when it comes to betting on NFL games, or wagering on anything for that matter. 

This can be frustrating for Texas fans who are inundated with betting ads. This occurs most often during televised games, but it also happens at stadiums with sports betting partnerships. While sports betting remains illegal, it hasn’t stopped operators from pitching their sportsbooks to Texans, who can’t use them.

Playing the data game

With the ever-increasing popularity of fantasy football and sports betting, the NFL is always trying to find ways to enhance the viewer experience with data.

In a recent interview, Matthew Ford, an associate producer with NBC Sports, FOX and CBS, talked about how far data usage has come in broadcasts.

“If you watched football telecasts before 2000, it was surprising how little information actually was on-screen at any point. There were no virtual graphics! There was only a score, a clock, and what period, quarter or half they were playing. Every innovation since has enhanced even the most casual viewers’ game-watching experience.”

 Perhaps the biggest data enhancement in the past few years has been the incorporation of sports betting information. While sports betting used to be discouraged in NFL broadcasts, it continues to gain acceptance, and the data displayed during games reflects that.

For example, in the partnership mentioned above between Amazon and DraftKings, DraftKings provides pregame and in-game content, including odds and additional sports betting insights during every Thursday Night Football broadcast.  

Perhaps the ultimate impact of this new layer of data is that all fans, even those uninterested in placing bets, can now approach the game like a sports bettor. That includes underage fans.

How the NFL and other leagues approach this fragile relationship with their viewership will likely require a revamped approach as appeals from problem gambling services flood in.

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Mark Fadden

Mark Fadden has been a freelance writer for almost 20 years. His subject matter has included jobs and careers, travel and spirits (the kind you drink). While much of his gambling expertise comes from $10 blackjack tables in Vegas, he’s excited about reporting on the state of gambling in Texas.

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