Will Sports Betting Increase The College Football Championship Game Viewership?

Football TV ratings have improved. Is it because of betting?

The National Collegiate Athletic Association, which for years fought against the establishment of sportsbooks beyond Nevada, is about ready to find out if gambling can get the college football championship game more than the 26 million viewers it has been averaging for the past decade. Gambling could play a role in getting more eyeballs before some video platform as Clemson University and Louisiana State University play for the title in New Orleans, Louisiana. Neither South Carolina, where Clemson is located, nor Louisiana has sports gambling. Louisiana politicians introduced legislation in 2019 to get sportsbooks in the state in 2020 but failed to get support. Louisiana elected officials may revisit sports gambling legislation in 2020. There are more states in 2020 offering people a chance to wager on the college football championship game. The National Collegiate Athletic Association did not want to see New Jersey open a sportsbook after voters in 2011 said yes to sports betting in the state. New Jersey went to the Supreme Court of the United States with its case and in 2018, the court ruled that New Jersey could offer sports gambling and that opened up the floodgates for states to authorize sportsbooks at casinos and on mobile devices.

In September 2019, NCAA officials were hoping Congress would do something to regulate sports gambling. New York Democrat Chuck Schumer and Utah Republican Mitt Romney were trying to concoct a bill that would establish some federal rules for the states that have legalized sports gambling to enforce. There was an attempt in 2018 to get some federal guidelines on the books as retiring Utah Republican Orrin Hatch put forth The Sports Wagering Market Integrity Act of 2018, which would have required bookmakers to use official data that was provided or licensed by professional sports leagues in posting odds. The Hatch legislation went nowhere.

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) celebrates a touchdown against Oklahoma during the first half of the Peach Bowl NCAA semifinal college football playoff game, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)