US sports network ESPN has disclosed that the Department of Justice and the NFL in legal documents have considered sports betting to be a ‘game of skill’.
The definition used by both parties may become a vital distinction in the progress of legalized sports betting within the US.
ESPN, North America’s biggest sports broadcaster, discovered the documents by searching public records. It details that the definition was outlined by US Attorney General Loretta Lynch and lawyers representing the NFL.
The 2006 UIGEA law defined the context for determining ‘Games of Skill’, which has been used by opponents of legalized US sports betting, noting that although skill may be involved in sports betting the element of chance has a greater influence on the outcome.
Attorney General Lynch noted in 2013 that “Sports betting … involves ‘substantial [not slight] skill.’ Sports bettors can employ superior knowledge of the games, teams, and players in order to exploit odds that do not reflect the true likelihoods of the possible outcomes.”
The news disclosed by ESPN will surprise US betting advocates, as the NFL has been a staunch rival to legalized sports betting. The pro sports league was a public opponent of legalized sports betting in New Jersey state throughout 2014.
In April Roger Goodell stated to US media that the NFL continued to oppose legalized sports betting. Despite NBA Commissioner Adam Silver urging for the senate to create a federal framework for sports betting