It took the NFL a long time to embrace sports betting. The USFL (United States Football League) is onboard before the opening kickoff of its reboot this spring.
The Birmingham, Ala.-based league on Thursday issued a press release touting the fact that,
“15 states from across the country thus far have authorized licensed sports wagering operators to accept wagers on the new league.”
“The new USFL will be an innovator in how fans watch and root for the teams they love, and we believe that the availability of legal sports wagering is another way fans can deepen their engagement with our games,” USFL Executive Vice President, Business Operations Edward Hartman said in the release.
“We look forward to our fans being able to bet responsibly on USFL games in every state where sports wagering is legal.”
According to the league, regulators in these states have allowed USFL wagering:
- New Jersey
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Sports betting is legal and underway in 33 states and the District of Columbia.
Five of eight USFL franchises – Michigan, New Jersey, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh – are located in states with legal sports betting.
Additionally, the USFL championship game will be played on July 3 at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, where the property developers hope to eventually erect a sportsbook in conjunction with Rush Street Interactive and offer mobile betting once the state comes online.
USFL kicks off into spring sports betting void that MLB lockout could make bigger
The USFL debuts at 7:30 p.m. on April 16 at Protective Stadium in Birmingham, with the Stallions hosting the New Jersey Generals. The upstart league could benefit from a protracted Major League Baseball work stoppage.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has already canceled the first week of the season, which was scheduled to begin on March 31. More games are threatened as negotiations proceed slowly.
Sports bettors seem likely to be looking for an alternative – much as they were when COVID-19 shut down North American team sports in 2020 – around the middle of April and the popularity of NFL betting could translate to the USFL. During pandemic closures, sports bettors found new tastes, including odd ones, like table tennis in Colorado, so football would provide something familiar.