The National Football League is one of the staunchest opponents of sports gambling in existence. So why is the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell entertaining the idea of opening betting lounges in NFL stadiums across the country?
Not that they will admit it, but it seems that the NFL is warming up to sports wagering. They held out of a partnership with industry giants DraftKings and FanDuel for years before finally signing an agreement with them both in 2019. Their reluctance to jump in the sports betting game has not kept them from keeping an eye on the bottom line. Interest in betting on the NFL is on the rise, and the league doesn’t want to miss out on their piece of the action.
The league informed teams last week that they will be allowed to partner with sportsbook and casino sponsors in an effort to erect betting palaces amongst the food and merchandise vendors at their local stadiums. For now, these lounges will only be allowable in states with laws regulating sports gaming, and the sponsors must be an in-state sportsbook. Exactly what types of NFL bets will be allowable at these lounges has yet to be announced.
The arrangements will be made directly between the teams and the sportsbooks. In time, it may be allowable for the sportsbook and the team to pair up on advertising. It won’t be long before you hear the phrase, “the official sportsbook of the Denver Broncos,” being uttered on a television commercial.
Instead of waiting in a long line for a hamburger, you can lay some action on the New York Jets to lose. If they really want to attract new bettors, they’ll be sure to equip the lounges with immaculate bathrooms.
So, what will these betting lounges look like? First, you’ll need to find one, and don’t bother looking on the lower level of the stadium. The new betting lounges will be confined to the upper decks. Tactfully, there will be no betting windows with lines of potential bettors. All action will take place inside.
“We’re allowing betting lounges … [s]imilar 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,” said NFL Chief Strategy and Growth Officer Chris Halpin.
NFL executives don’t want the betting activity to flow out into the main concourses of the stadium. It seems that there is still some shame concerning the inclusion of regulated gaming, as the NFL seems determined to tuck these betting lounges out of sight.
The lounges will include dozens of televisions featuring live games and odds, comfortable seating areas, and best of all, draft beer. Why bet on the NFL at home when you can do it from the comfort of a plush betting lounge at your local stadium?
The lounges will also serve to sign up new sportsbook customers. DraftKings has already built three betting lounges at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, and Gillette Stadium in New England. The newly planned betting lounges will sport a similar appearance to DraftKings’ model. Announcements for more betting lounges in DC, Chicago, and Tennessee are expected in the coming days. It won’t be long before betting on the Super Bowl can be conducted at the stadium it is being held at.