Big money doesn't necessarily mean that that many people are betting. If you had a true poll of all NFL fans, i'd be willing to wager () that less than 5% regularly bet on games, less than 10% bet on more than the Super Bowl and less than 25% have ever placed a single bet on any football game.
I have an equal interest in football that I do in hockey, and I know many more hardcore football fans than hardcore hockey fans (obvious in the south). It's very rare that anyone I know actually puts money on games.
I also HIGHLY doubt the numbers estimated by these bookmakers. $1B on a week 3 monday night game with replacement refs? When the Super Bowl generates around $8-9B each year... And that is worldwide. There was an estimated 200,000 best placed on this monday night game, most sports books cap their NFL bets at $5k. Meaning if every bet was max then it could hit $1B. Also even if betting was limited to the united states then 200,000 is less than .01% of the population... so no, the NFL is clearly not driven by betting, no matter how deceiving the oddsmakers try to make their numbers sound.
Plus no matter who wins out of this stupid lockout we still get fleeced with $80 upper bowl seats and $15 for water and a hot dog.
I didn't know someone forced you to buy food at the arena. You don't have to buy a hot dog and I know out here anyways that Staples Center will let you bring in bottles of water if they're still sealed.
The problem with the idea of a bunch of angry calls, voice-mails, emails, tweets is that statements alone won't convince the NHL that people are serious in the "If you don't get the CBA settled now, we won't spend money on tickets and merchandise in the future." threat.
If fans stayed away from games in droves, didn't buy merchandise, then at least the owners would have a financial incentive to do something. But because the lockout is ongoing, owners won't feel the financial impact of people actually staying away until the CBA is signed. Owners are going to gamble that although people are angry, that they'll come back once everything is settled and as long as a new CBA has a cap tied to revenues, players are in on that gamble as well.
Why do Canadians seem to think that the NFL is based ENTIRELY on betting? The betting line is a useful tool for measuring how the experts predict a game, it's more useful in the NFL than any other league, which is why it gets reports on ESPN and such, but really the overwhelming majority of NFL fans do not bet on games. Maybe you're only paying attention to the Super Bowl which is bet heavily, but even then the number is much smaller than you'd think.
Well, mainly because the NFL caters to betting more than any other league. Hell, that's why they started playing football on Mondays, last chance to make up what you lost on Sunday. There's no denying the amount of money floating around on bets, it's enormous.
The NFL relies on integrity of officiating to encourage betting. The NHL makes no pretense of even reliable officiating at all.
And in related news, at least one of the NFL replacement refs had been fired by the LINGERIE FOOTBALL LEAGUE, part of a whole crew who were let go because of incompetence they feared was impacting the safety of the players and the integrity of the LFL.