Former NFL star Lynn Swann sees risks in legalized sports betting

The National Football League’s 100th season kicked off Thursday, and in more than a dozen states, it’s now legal to wager on the games after a 2018 court ruling opened the door for sports gambling.

NFL Hall of Famer Lynn Swann told Gerry Baker on “WSJ at Large” on FOX Business he’s not sure what the impact of more legal wagering will have on football.

“I don’t know if it’s going to enhance it or not,” Swann said.

I know it potentially is going to create revenue, just how much and for what side remains to be seen.

- NFL Hall of Famer Lynn Swann

The former Pittsburgh Steelers great expressed the same concerns the NFL and other professional leagues have made for years about the potential threat betting could influence players, coaches or officials to try to change the games' outcomes.

“It presents problems in terms of being able to monitor that, those people who make a bad decision relative to playing and placing a bet," Swann said.

Swann is now the athletic director at his alma mater, the University of Southern California, and he points out colleges are especially attuned to preventing gambling from impacting their sports programs.

“There are rules on the college side for all of us -- from administrators to players to coaches, everybody involved in athletics -- that there is no gambling,” he said.

Gambling is not permitted. We continue to monitor that.

- NFL Hall of Famer Lynn Swann

“We continue to educate our players on gambling, and what to do and what not to do,” he said. “We take it very, very seriously in terms of the integrity of the game.”


Swann calls that effort an ongoing process.