Jets Want to Get Into the Lottery Business

Scratch off tickets seen as route to increased revenue

Mark Sanchez has already shared a photo shoot with a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, will Little Bit O'Luck be his next co-star? It could happen if Jets owner Woody Johnson gets his way.

At their recent meetings, NFL owners voted to allow teams to enter into licensing agreements with state-sponsored lottery games. The idea is to boost revenue, and it is a move that Johnson has advocated for many years. According to Gary Myers of the Daily News, the Jets could announce a deal with New Jersey this week and that negotiations with New York and Connecticut are afoot as well. It's estimated that the Jets would earn $1 million through these agreements.

Lotteries are legal, even if they use marketing come-ons to prey on mostly poor and uneducated people who don't understand the odds are wildly stacked against them, so there's nothing particularly wrong about team logos appearing on scratch-off tickets. What's wrong is that the league is trying to sell this as a magnanimous gesture meant to help the little people.

"We do think it is responsive to the pressures that states are feeling right now to help meet some of those budget shortfalls," said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. "What we can do with the states and our clubs is to try to create some additional revenue. It has been effective in other sports and it is something that is a reasonable policy."

Um, this has nothing to do with the states. If it did, you'd just offer them the use of team logos with no fee or take the fee and donate it to charity. That's like saying the Jets and Giants are raising ticket prices because the state will see increased tax revenue, a theory that would be rightly and roundly mocked.

As should the NFL. While they are setting up lottery deals all around the country, they are simultaneously fighting Delaware's decision to legalize sports betting. There are great differences between betting on games and playing the lottery, of course, but the only one that seems to matter here is the fact that NFL teams only make money from the latter.

The NFL will tell you that they are anti-sports betting because they worry about someone trying to fix their games. If published point spreads, detailed injury reports and Las Vegas didn't lead to game fixing, neither will Delaware. Gambling is gambling, and if you're okay with one you have to be okay with the other.  

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to and in addition to his duties for

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