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On Tuesday, the NFL announced David Highhill as vice president, general manager of sports betting, the first position in a league focused solely on overseeing business in the legitimate sports betting industry.

Highhill, who has been with the NFL for 10 years, is moving from a corporate strategic group where he led the league’s sports betting initiatives. In his new role, he will be tasked with working to protect the integrity of the game from gambling-related harm, promote the league’s brand and reputation, add value to the NFL’s data and intellectual property, and increase fan engagement worldwide.

In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, a federal law that restricted regulated sports betting primarily to the state of Nevada. Since the ruling, 30 states and the District of Columbia have enacted legal sports betting and five additional states have enacted laws.

“It’s a booming market that has grown a lot in the last three or four seasons,” said Highhill. “What lies ahead is the exciting part of the opportunity.”

Highhill is starting its new position in the early stages of NFL trading in sports betting. Bookmaker ads appeared during NFL matches for the first time this season. The league has also partnered with a number of sports betting operators, with official figures being sold to bookmakers in the US.

In 2021, the Washington franchise was licensed for sports betting in the state of Maryland.

However, Highhill said it did not expect the league or the teams to bet directly on sports.

“We will focus on serving the fans and the matches, not becoming a bookmaker,” Highhill told ESPN on Tuesday.

At the same time, the NFL is wary of oversaturation with betting content in its games and realizes that some of its fans are being turned off by gambling.

“We know there is a profile of fans who are most interested and a profile of fans who are less interested,” said Highhill. “So serving the fans where they are is very important, and it goes hand in hand with supporting our relationship with the National Problem Gambling Board and ensuring that we take a leadership position on problem gambling.”

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