One of the staunchest opponents to sports betting among the four major North American Leagues seems to be softening its stance.
In a move no one saw coming, the National Football League (NFL) has reportedly decided that its teams will now be allowed to strike sponsorship deals with casinos which offer sports betting.
According to reports, the about face will permit franchises to show advertisements from casino sponsors before and after the game, but apparently not while the game is being played. Casinos will also be permitted to use NFL and team branding in return.
However, while the casinos themselves will be allowed to advertise their brand, they will not be permitted to promote any sports betting services they offer.
The change also opens the door for stadium naming deals, meaning that if a casino is willing to pay up, it could see its name splashed on the side of an NFL stadium in the near future.
The adjustment comes just a few months after the Supreme Court struck down a federal law banning all states but Nevada from offering sports betting.
It marks a significant step forward for a league which has strongly opposed legal wagering and previously insisted that its legality would pose “a major risk for us.”
The NFL’s Business Ventures Committee apparently no longer sees things quite the same way. That’s the group which gave the go ahead for the change in policy this week.
The committee is comprised of 10 NFL owners, including Jonathan Kraft of the Patriots, Dan Snyder of the Redskins, Jimmy Haslam of the Browns, and Shahid Khan of the Jaguars.
It does not include Jerry Jones; however, we already know where the Cowboys owner stands on sports betting. He’s one of the few influential NFL figures to concede that sports betting and the NFL have always been linked, saying that “our game right has a huge interest because of gaming.”
It’s becoming clear that the NFL is conflicted when it comes to sports betting, unlike the NBA which recently announced a gaming partnership deal with MGM.
Still in the DFS Game
Meanwhile, both Jones and Kraft have decided that they’ll keep their investment in Draft Kings, the current market leader in daily fantasy sports.
This, despite the fact that Draft Kings CEO Jason Robins has been upfront that his company will be attempting to derive “the majority of its revenue from sports betting” going forward.
According to ESPN, both owners are believed to hold less than a five percent stake in the company. However, if and when Draft Kings does start to make most of its revenue from sports betting in the future, NFL rules may force Jones and Kraft to sell their stakes.