Column: Don’t bet against NFL casino ownership

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Still, the very fact that an NFL owner is palling around with one of the biggest casino czars in the world is startling, given the NFL’s stance against gambling. At the same time, it’s also reflective of how that stance may be loosening, as owners look for ways to boost their profits.

Two years ago the league approved teams cashing in on state lotteries, and the Patriots were among the teams who quickly signed up for a share of that gambling loot. Getting a piece of the casino gambling pie isn’t much of a leap from there, and Kraft surely wouldn’t have been hosting Wynn at Sunday’s game if he didn’t think a casino next to his stadium was doable.

Indeed, the NFL’s gambling policy is rooted in the misconceptions of another time. While the league plays off fears that its games could be compromised, the truth is that any line movement in Las Vegas is studied so closely that any attempts to fix a game would be discovered there long before it is in the NFL’s security offices. Today’s casinos, meanwhile, are almost all publicly owned companies that are far more transparent in their workings than the 31 NFL teams that are in private hands.

And, for all the worry about casinos on the NFL’s part, Nevada is still the only state in the nation where full sports betting is legal.

Ultimately, the NFL may not even have a say in whether there is a casino in Foxborough. The political landscape in Massachusetts likely will determine that.

The smart guys in Vegas, though, would warn you not to bet against it.

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Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or follow at http://twitter.com/timdahlberg

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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