Will NFL Interfere with Legalized Draft Betting in Nevada?

Swinging Johnson

Thursday, April 13, 2017 6:55 PM UTC

Thursday, Apr. 13, 2017 6:55 PM UTC

Bettors in Nevada will for the first time be able to wager on NFL draft prop bets established by the oddsmakers in that state. However, there is a chance the NFL could step in and derail this before it ever gets started.

NGCB Greenlights NFL Draft Betting

Never before has a professional sport had its draft on the betting board in Nevada until now. The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) has given the go-ahead to NFL odds makers and sportsbooks to let the betting begin on this upcoming of the NFL draft. Though bettors will not be able to wager on when a certain player is drafted or which player will go No. 1 overall, they will be able to bet on props like the 'over/under' on how many players will be chosen at a certain position or from a particular school. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but there could be real value for those who study the board and draftniks who believe their expertise could correlate into cold hard cash.


But Hold On ... 

The NFL has been called the No Fun League, and if Commissioner Roger Goodell and his coterie of lawyers decide to pull the plug on NFL draft betting in Nevada, that moniker may stick permanently. Whether the league has a valid legal argument is up for debate, and even if they do it does not necessarily mean it will file an injunction. According to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), this draft may violate federal guidelines and be declared null and void before the Nevada books even take a bet.

According to Florida State University sports law analytics professor Ryan Rodenberg, “The vague language of PASPA, coupled with broad precedent from the New Jersey sports betting case, makes it possible that at least one sports league could file a PASPA lawsuit to try to stop betting on player drafts.”

The crux of the matter is contained in section 3702 of the PASPA law, where it states that wagering on games is prohibited either directly or indirectly. Indirectly is the operative word, and a savvy lawyer might take the quantum leap that wagering indirectly on games could be construed as betting on players who will inevitably impact the games once they turn pro. Sounds like an argument against DFS (Daily Fantasy Sports) more than one against betting on the draft, but I digress.

Once again, the very nature of the PASPA law is one whose time has come and gone. Social mores have changed drastically over the past 25 years regarding gambling in general, and the only thing it truly guards against is the tax revenue that would be generated by the legalization of sports gambling. Let the draft -- and the betting -- begin!

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