NFL Gets in on the Action with Branded Slot Machine Deal with Aristocrat Gaming

Posted on: November 3, 2021, 01:33h. 

Last updated on: November 3, 2021, 02:39h.

NFL-branded slots machines are coming to a casino near you, thanks to an exclusive multi-year licensing agreement between the league and Aristocrat Gaming.

NFL slot machine
A promotional image from Aristocrat announcing the forthcoming NFL branded slot, which will hit the casino floors during the 2023 football season. (Image: Aristocrat Gaming)

The Australian gaming tech giant said the new machines will hit the casino floors in 2023. They will give fans the ability to customize their experiences based on their favorite teams.

In a statement Wednesday, the NFL said the Aristocrat deal will provide “an opportunity to further drive fan engagement through a new gaming experience.”

Until recently, as far as the NFL was concerned, a “slot” was just the area been the offensive tackle and the wide receiver. But times have changed.

Slot Receiver

A league that would once recoil from the very word “gambling” now estimates it will generate $270 million in revenue this year through agreements with casino companies and sportsbook operators. That figure could rise to $1 billion within the decade, a league representative told The Washington Post in September.

The league’s previous antipathy towards gambling was probably a hangover from the 1946 NFL Championship between the New York Giants and the Chicago Bears. New York bookmaker and gambler Alvin J. Paris was found to have bribed two Bears players, Merle Hapes and Frank Filchock, in an attempt to fix the game.

When New Jersey attempted to legalize sports betting in 2012, the NFL and the other major leagues blocked it through the courts at every turn to “protect the integrity” of their games.

Ironically for a league that has strategic deals with Caesars, Draftkings, FanDuel, Fox Bet, MGM, PointsBet, and WynnBet, the NFL bars players from attending promotional events at casinos – or, at least, it did until recently.

Resistance Thaws

In 2015, a fantasy football event hosted by former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was canceled after players were told they would be fined or suspended for taking part. That’s because it was to be held at the Sands Expo and Convention Center.

In 2017, over 30 players were reprimanded for participating in a charity arm-wrestling competition, held at the MGM Grand.

But later that year, there was evidence that resistance was thawing, when NFL team owners approved the Raiders move to Las Vegas.

This was partly a recognition of the changing technological landscape. With betting, legal or otherwise, now just a couple of clicks away for most people, Las Vegas and its casinos no longer posed the same kind of threat.

In 2018, when the US Supreme Court rejected the federal ban on sports betting, the NFL grabbed the ball and ran with it. It was time to get in on the action under the banner of “increasing fan engagement.”

From there, branded slots were only a matter of time.