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Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Starting this season, NFL teams in states with legal sports betting will be allowed to have in-stadium betting lounges and accept sponsorships from sportsbooks and betting operators, per multiple reports.

One caveat: There will not be any physical betting windows in the lounges, so they're more "hangout spots for bettors" than an actual "places to make bets."

By the numbers: Five states with NFL teams currently offer legal sports betting of some kind (Indiana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania), while six jurisdictions have passed bills but not yet launched (Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, District of Columbia).

Expand chart
Data: American Gaming Association; Graphic: Axios Visuals

Why it matters: This signals the NFL's willingness to embrace sports betting — an industry that it pushed back against for decades. What was once considered a threat to the game's integrity is now viewed by the NFL (and U.S. sports leagues more broadly) as a way to boost fan engagement and increase revenues.

The big picture: Overall, 14 U.S. states/federal districts currently offer legal sports betting, seven have passed bills but not yet launched, 21 have active bills, eight have no bills set for 2020 and one voted not to move forward with legislation this year (Maine, two weeks ago).

Go deeper: The sports betting industry is set for a big year

Go deeper

Biden extends mask mandates for travelers into 2022

President Biden delivers remarks at the White House on Dec. 1. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

President Biden will announce new testing protocols for international travelers on Thursday and extend masking requirements through March as the U.S. prepares to fight the Omicron variant this winter, according to senior administration officials.

Driving the news: The U.S. will tighten pre-departure testing protocols starting early next week by requiring all inbound international travelers to take COVID-19 tests within one day of their departure rather than three.

48 mins ago - Health

America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The race to figure out just how dangerous the Omicron variant is will likely be a global effort, but some experts are skeptical that the U.S. will play a dominant role.

Why it matters: The CDC has repeatedly come under fire for inadequate data collection throughout the pandemic — and figuring out how to respond to Omicron requires a lot of data that doesn't currently exist.

U.S. faces urgent anti-hacker crisis

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

The Biden administration is accelerating efforts to fill nearly 600,000 vacant cybersecurity positions in the public and private sectors bogging down efforts to protect digital infrastructure.

Why it matters: Following a deluge of ransomware attacks targeting critical government and corporate infrastructure this year, clogs in the talent pipeline are leaving federal, cash-strapped local governments and Big Business even more susceptible to hacking.