|The NFL’s official hands off policy on gambling is in danger of being undermined by the launch of two new online competitions being run by Sportsline.com, which produces the NFL’s official site.|
Sportsline.com are offering contestants a chance to win $1 million in their Office Pool Challenge, where contestants are invited to pick winners of NFL games. Fans can also compete in the ‘King Of The Hill’ competition where contestants can pick one game each week in which they believe a team will cover the spread. The last remaining contestant collects a $5,000 jackpot.
While these competitions are free to enter, access to the sites is not. Fans must pay the subscription fee to the site, this fee being officially for access to the statistics and expert analysis available.
Like many fantasy leagues and sports competitions on the web, the question of what is and what isn’t gambling is again raised. The NFL will have a hard time defending their position as these competitions veer dangerously close to a form of subscription-based gambling, something other sites have received criticism for before for similar endeavours.
The NFL has attempted to distance itself from gambling on many occasions, the most recent being in December when they asked Yahoo.com to remove all gambling-related advertising from its NFL site, a move that now seems to evoke a hint of hypocrisy.