After years of repeatedly trying to repel gambling and sportsbooks from the football world, the NFL seems to finally be embracing both.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned, the NFL cares about its money. Today, the NFL announced that it has reached an agreement with FOX Bet, BetMGM, PointsBet and WynnBet to become approved betting operators for the 2021 NFL season.
According to the NFL, these four agencies will be “eligible to purchase NFL in-game commercial units as well and other select media inventory.”
These four operators join Caesars Entertainment, FanDuel and Draftkings as the first ever sportsbook operators to obtain a deal with the league.
The league’s stance on the gambling scene seems to have taken a complete 180. Long gone are the days of the cold shoulder and resistance to the gambling scene. Now, Roger Goodell and the league as a whole seems to have embraced the idea.
Something interesting to consider is the timeline this scenario has taken ever since the Raiders packed up for Las Vegas.
Before the Raiders’ move, the NFL had taken a clear stance against sports betting. They even went as far as to resist legislation that would’ve allowed the states to decide on legal sports betting. The league claimed the reasoning for that was “integrity of the game.”
The NFL has seemingly remained on that stance even throughout these new deals. In their statement about these deals, the NFL repeated: “All operators have agreed to adhere to the NFL’s core integrity policies.”
In 2018, as the Raiders were building their world-class stadium in Las Vegas, they agreed to a deal with the Ceasers Casino. Under this deal, the casino was allowed to place ads inside the stadium, as well as set up activation stations around the concourse. Following that, the New York Jets landed a similar deal with MGM.
Ever since the Raiders’ move to Vegas, the NFL has signed with their first seven sports book operators. The Raiders may not be the direct reason for this, but ever since the team committed to Las Vegas, the NFL as a whole has been much more open to the gambling scene.
Ultimately, this is a bigger change to the overall gameday experience than fans might think. Up to now, commentators and hosts have had to watch their words and make sure the language they used didn’t have any gambling-related content in them. Trey Wingo, former host of ESPN’s NFL Live, talked about this, and even said, “We’d say ‘more or less’ than a number for points scored. Anything to not use the words for prop bets.”
That was just a few years ago. Now, the NFL has seven sportsbook partners, and there will likely be plenty more in the future. It’s exciting to see how the league has progressed on this topic, and it’s even more exciting to think of its future possibilities.
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