Wednesday September 27, 2023

Las Vegas Super Bowl to Complete NFL’s Betting Turnaround

  • In less than five years, the NFL has completely changed its tenor toward sports betting.
  • The NFL is currently partnered with several betting companies.
Super Bowl in Phoenix.
A.J. Perez-FOS
Front Office Sports Today

Taylor Swift Takes NFL to New Heights

Taylor Swift and her rumored relationship have brought in a new, more female-heavy audience.
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September 27, 2023 | Podcast
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PHOENIX — Caesars has a setup outside the family-friendly NFL Experience. The Footprint Center, where Monday’s Super Bowl opening night houses a FanDuel sportsbook. BetMGM has a sportsbook on the same grounds as where Sunday’s Super Bowl LVII will be played.

The NFL’s consternation over sports betting has turned into a full-fledged embrace since a Supreme Court decision allowed all states to offer sports betting. The one city known worldwide as the gambling mecca has benefited as well. 

“It was taboo for years,” said Sam Joffray, the president and CEO of the Las Vegas Super Bowl LVIII Host Committee. “If you worked for the league, you couldn’t walk through the casino floor. You couldn’t speak about it.

“Then all of a sudden, there’s this explosion, and now it’s like Vegas and the Super Bowl officially come together. It’s almost like the Marvel Universe and the DC Universe finally colliding.”

It wasn’t just the Supreme Court’s decision in May 2018 that declared the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional. Roughly two-thirds of states (and the District of Columbia) now have some form of state-sanctioned sports betting. 

But it wasn’t just the decision by the nation’s high court that has boosted Las Vegas’ status as a pro sports destination. It really started two years prior when the NHL awarded Las Vegas an expansion team that became the Golden Knights. 

The Golden Knights had immediate success both in terms of fan support and a historic start that ended with an entry into the Stanley Cup Final days after the PASPA decision. 

The Raiders’ move to Las Vegas before the start of the 2020 season to play at state-of-the-art Allegiant Stadium pretty much made a Super Bowl a lock for the city.

“I’ve worked 26 Super Bowl straight, and as soon as I heard  ‘stadium’ and ‘Vegas,’ I knew they were getting a Super Bowl,” Joffray said. “Then, lo and behold, we put in the bid and then got awarded a Super Bowl. The whole [quick] time frame was just amazing.”

Las Vegas was chosen in December 2021 as the host of the 2024 Super Bowl. The city also hosted last year’s NFL Draft and last week’s Pro Bowl festivities, both of which NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell talked glowingly about at his Wednesday news conference. 

“I think I’d be making a mistake to underestimate anything that happens in Vegas and how big [next year’s Super Bowl] can be,” he said. 

In 2009, Goodell — and pro sports as a whole — viewed gambling differently. 

“The NFL’s position on such lotteries that involve our games is that they are an additional threat to the integrity of our league and contrary to the public good,” Goodell wrote in a letter to then-Delaware Gov. Jack Markell who backed an effort to offer parlay betting through the state lottery. “We strongly urge you to reject any proposal to permit a sports lottery in Delaware.”

That was before PASPA was struck down, and, of course, the hundreds of millions the NFL stands to make through its partnerships with several betting companies. 

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