According to Sports Business Daily, the NFL will allow certain stadiums to operate betting lounges beginning in football season this fall. This comes as a direct response to the sports betting industry boom currently happening across the US. But while the stadium will have these betting lounges on site, the league won’t let you place any actual bets at them.
Chris Halpin, NFL’s chief strategy and growth officer, says that these betting lounges will be put in stadiums where their states allow legal sports gambling. Currently, fourteen states offer legal sports gambling, and more are expected to follow suit in 2020.
“We feel good about how [sports betting has] evolved state by state,” Halpin told ESPN. “We’re more and more excited about how sports betting is developing, and we’re now doing more in the space. We’re very positive about how it’s developing.
“We’re allowing betting lounges,” said Halpin. “Similar to daily fantasy lounges today, in an adult, discreet area, there will be a betting setup, but we’re not going to have betting windows.”
While these new betting lounges show the NFL’s willingness to support a more inclusive sports betting culture more than anything else, they could lay the groundwork for actual betting happening on stadium grounds throughout the country in the future.
Stadiums Will Showcase Designated Sportsbook Sponsor
According to the report, teams will be allowed to assign an official sportsbook sponsor, and have their sponsor’s signage displayed in the stadium, so long as it’s not displayed in the lower bowl of the stadium. Signage must also clearly include the word “sponsor” in it whenever a sportsbook is mentioned.
NFL Recently Warmed up to Betting
For decades, the NFL pushed back against the sports gambling industry, and they pushed back hard. But why? It’s because they saw wagering on football as a direct threat to the integrity of the game as a whole. Now, the NFL has changed their stance on the industry and has come to embrace it.
Instead of viewing sports gambling as a threat to the game, they now see it as a industry that actually boosts fan engagement by allowing fans to get more into the game, and one that massively increases revenues.
Also, with much of the country now jumping on board with legalized sports gambling since the Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on sports 20 months ago, there’s much less of a negatively associated stigma attached to it.
A Big Year Ahead for Sports Betting
Sports betting is already winning big this year. With media deals being signed so early on in the year, most recently the $163 million stake deal of Barstool Sports by Penn National Gaming, it’s only a sign of more prosperous partnerships to come.
Popular fantasy sports companies, DraftKings and FanDuel, recently just entered into Colorado last month with their Twin River Partnership. The partnership will allow Colorado sports fans to access their award-winning sportsbook products.
Legalization only continues to spread throughout the country, with more than half of U.S. states expected to realistically have legalized betting by the end of year. Sportsbook startups are also popping up, along will apps/tools that continue to make the sports betting process more efficient and convenient for bettors.