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USFL Receives Betting Approval in 15 States
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USFL Receives Betting Approval in 15 States

by Grant MitchellMarch 3, 2022

The United States Football League has received betting approval from 15 states ahead of its second inaugural season.

Iowa, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Connecticut, Delaware, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Wisconsin have all approved the league for bettors within state lines. 33 states and the District of Columbia have legalized sports betting already, meaning that the USFL’s reach could soon be expanding.

The league will be partnered with data company Sportradar, making them the official “Sports Data and Integrity Partner,” which was key in gaining approval for betting. 

What is the USFL?

The USFL was created in the 1980s and lasted all of three seasons before operations were shut down. The new-look league will split eight teams into two divisions and feature headlining acts such as quarterbacks Shea Patterson of the University of Michigan and Paxton Lynch of Memphis University.

“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,” said Edward Hartman, the USFL’s executive vice president of business operations, in a release.

The USFL will kick off on April 16 when the New Jersey Generals play the Birmingham Stallions at 6:30 p.m. ET in Birmingham’s Protective Stadium. The game, which will be aired on NBC and FOX, will be the first to be co-aired by two rival networks since Super Bowl I went live on NBC and CBS on January 15, 1967.

The History of the USFL

Many non-NFL football leagues have been formed to combat the monopoly that the NFL possesses, but most of these attempts have been fruitless. 

The first iteration of the USFL also centered around a spring calendar and had mild success, producing football legends like Herschel Walker, Jim Kelly, and Reggie White, before it was run into the ground by an owner that you may have heard of: Donald Trump.

Before finding a different line of work, the New Yorker attempted to use his position as an owner in the USFL to wedge his way into the NFL ranks and take ownership of a bigger team. 

Trump ultimately won an antitrust lawsuit in his pursuit of moving the USFL’s games from spring to fall but was awarded a whole $3 for his efforts. Nearly 40 years later, Trump’s New Jersey Generals are one of the two opening acts in the league’s rebirth.

That’s right, all eight of the teams are restoring their former names rather than rebranding. This has caused dissension amongst former owners and contributors to the league’s past life, who feel that Fox Sports— who will be controlling the USFL— is “claiming the legacy of something it didn’t build,” per Nicholas Matich of the McKool Smith law firm, which represents Real USFL LLC.

USFL Receives Betting Approval in 15 States

No former contributors to the old league are connected to the new one.

After hearing of the news, Larry Csonka, a Hall of Fame Miami Dolphins fullback, former general manager of the Jacksonville Bulls, and manager of the Real group posed a question at the media giants.

“It boils down to this: If the USFL doesn’t have any value, why did Fox want it?” said Csonka.

USFL Betting Hopes

Non-NFL football leagues have had success on sportsbooks in recent times, and the USFL is looking to become the next.

The XFL recently outperformed the Alliance of American Football by generating a betting handle 20-times the amount of their competitor after week one’s action last fall. 

“The XFL was as big as some other popular leagues on our sportsbook,” said DraftKings spokesman Stephen Miraglia back in September 2021. “Nearly 25% of bettors who placed a bet with us this weekend, placed a bet on the XFL.”

Questions about the league’s validity, betting performance, and overall product will soon be answered when the league gets underway in just over a month.

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About The Author
Grant Mitchell
My name is Grant and I am a DMV native and a sports junkie through and through. My love for sports started when I was four years old, when one day I flipped the channel to Sportscenter on ESPN while I was eating my morning breakfast— not much has changed since then! If I'm not exercising or jamming out to some good music, you can find me listening to, watching or reading about the world of athletics.