Continuing its delayed embrace of the legal sports betting industry, the National Football League (NFL) plans to let select stadiums open onsite betting lounges.

The NFL’s chief strategy and growth officer Chris Halpin confirmed the new policy last week in an interview with David Purdum of ESPN:

“We’re allowing betting lounges.

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.”

According to Halpin, physical betting windows a la traditional Las Vegas sportsbooks will not be permitted within NFL stadiums. Instead, teams are free to arrange official sportsbook sponsorships with major operators, who will then install branding and signage throughout designated lounge areas.

Any advertising which references a sportsbook operator must prominently display the word “sponsor,” and said signage cannot be installed anywhere in the stadium’s lower bowl area.

Patrons can visit a stadium’s betting lounge to learn more about the operator’s online / mobile betting app, register for a new account, or use the app to place real money wagers.

Logistics Behind NFL’s Sports Betting Lounges Rollout

Halpin further revealed that only stadiums located in jurisdictions where the industry has been regulated may offer betting lounges. At the moment, that list is limited to just five venues where six NFL franchises play home games:

  • MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey (New York Giants and New York Jets)
  • Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana (Indianapolis Colts)
  • Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia Eagles)
  • Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh Steelers)
  • Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada (Las Vegas Raiders)

Individual teams in eligible markets have previously secured their own franchise-wide betting partnerships, with the Eagles and Harrah’s Philadelphia joining forces in December.

But with several states slated to implement betting legislation already on the books this year – including NFL markets in Colorado, (Denver Broncos), Illinois (Chicago Bears), Tennessee (Titans) and the District of Columbia (Washington Redskins) – Halpin expects one-third of the league’s stadiums to offer dedicated wagering lounges by the time Super Bowl 55 rolls around next February:

“We feel good about how [sports betting has] evolved state by state.

We’re more and more excited about how betting is developing, and we’re now doing more in the space.

We’re very positive about how it’s developing.”

NFL Finally Warming to Legal Betting Synergy

Before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on sports betting outside of Nevada back in May of 2018, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell remained staunchly opposed to the industry.

After the Court’s decision paved the way for 13 states and counting to join Nevada in the betting business, Goodell and the NFL were slow to sign official partnerships with bookmakers, data sharing services, and other industry stakeholders.

To this day, the NFL remains the lone holdout among North America’s “big four” pro sports leagues in that regard, as the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Hockey League (NHL), and Major League Baseball (MLB) have each linked up with “official betting partners.”

Signaling a newfound urgency to bring legal sports betting into the fold, the NFL tabbed Sportradar AG last August to serve as the league’s exclusive distributor of proprietary statistical data.

The NFL also made its first foray into outright gambling sponsorship last month, naming Caesars Entertainment as the league’s first “official casino sponsor. Despite the clear link between Caesars Entertainment’s casino and sportsbook operations, however, its deal with the NFL specifically excluded betting from the sponsorship arrangement.

Jonathan Zaun

One of Gamble Online's first dedicated reporters, Jonathan has spent well over a decade reporting on the gaming industry. While breaking legal news is his main area of expertise, Jonathan is an avid blackjack player & strategist who follows professional poker closely.

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