NFL Ends Its Anti-Gambling Crusade & Signs Three Exclusive Sportsbook Partners

Posted on April 16, 2021

The NFL is finally ready to embrace sports betting.

The league officially has three “tri-exclusive” sportsbook partners in Caesars, DraftKings and FanDuel.

That’s a huge course correction from the NFL’s original stance on gambling.

NFL takes a mulligan on anti-gambling stance

Football hasn’t always been this welcoming to the sports betting industry.

Legal sports betting didn’t start in the US until the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018.

Removing PASPA eliminated the federal ban on sports betting, which opened the door for the industry we know today.

At the time, the NFL was actively fighting against that move.

It wasn’t the only professional league to do so, but football’s position as the most popular sport in the US gave the NFL’s stance some extra weight.

The league continued its opposition over the years by enforcing strict anti-gambling rules.

Even Tony Romo’s fantasy football convention ended up getting the axe.

In reality, it was just a matter of time before the NFL was going to have to embrace the sports betting side of things.

Pro sports leagues eventually had to decide between getting with the times or leaving money on the table.

NFL eases up on sports betting

The NFL sure hates being out of the news cycle.

Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the league’s latest television contracts last month. While doing so, he dropped in a little nugget of things to come.

“We’re going to find ways we can engage fans through legalized sports betting,” Goodell said.

And sure enough, here we are just a month later.

The NFL embracing sportsbooks is a sign of progress.

With more states legalizing betting every year, the league didn’t want to miss out on all the action.

Football betting is a massive industry on its own in the US, so leaning into the gambling side of things gives the NFL a new way to engage with its huge fan base.

That will certainly appeal to Hoosiers, who put their football love on full display during the most recent NFL season.

Take November 2020 as an example. Indiana gamblers wagered over $113 million on football during just that month.

The state’s football handle managed to eclipse the $400 million mark over the course of the entire season.

That huge amount of money wagered shows that Hoosiers, much like other football fans around the country, are all-in on sports betting. The NFL’s new deal is hoping to capitalize off of that interest.

Details on the NFL sportsbook partners

DraftKings and Caesars expand partnerships

Sports betting may be uncharted waters for the NFL, but the league isn’t a complete stranger to its new partners.

For example, Caesars was already the NFL’s Official Casino Partner.

Now, the expanded partnership between the two companies will have Caesars integrating NFL content into its casinos and sportsbooks.

DraftKings already has a relationship with the NFL as well.

The company has been the Official Daily Fantasy Partner of the league since 2019.

This new deal will put DraftKings front and center on NFL RedZone broadcasts.

FanDuel is the new kid on the block when it comes to working with the NFL.

Caesars gets NFL content for its products and DraftKings gets RedZone, but FanDuel is getting the highlights.

FanDuel snags NFL Network and highlights

Highlights are a bit of a commodity since the NFL tends to guard them more than other leagues.

It’s a different approach from leagues like the NBA, which allow free-flowing highlights all over the internet for the sake of promotion.

Post an NFL highlight on Twitter and your tweet is probably getting removed by a copyright claim.

FanDuel’s piece of the pie here is the right to use highlights within its sportsbook app.

The NFL will also feature FanDuel odds and promotions during pregame coverage on the NFL Network.

FanDuel receives similar on-air benefits from its Turner Sports partnership that covers NBA games.

So while this is the NFL’s first venture into the sports betting world, all three companies came out with something valuable.

After years of fighting the gambling tide, the league is finally ready to view the sport through the same lens as its fans.

Photo by Dreamstime
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Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a US Gambling Industry Analyst for Catena Media. He specializes in Midwest sports betting and casino content. Prior to covering the legal gambling industry, he spent time as a professional sports writer, reporting on teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers. Garza is currently working as a Managing Editor for PlayIndiana and PlayOhio, with previous stops at other well-known brands such as PlayIllinois and PlayMichigan. He has been covering the gambling industry since 2019, and currently works with a team of other journalists to provide comprehensive coverage of the legal U.S. gambling industry.

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