The NFL’s stance toward sports betting officially changed on Thursday as the league announced sportsbook partnerships with Caesars Entertainment, DraftKings and FanDuel.
The three deals are worth close to $1 billion combined and each spans five years, a source with knowledge of the agreement told Front Office Sports.
The NFL is the last of the major U.S. sports leagues to partner with a sportsbook. Back in 2009, the NFL was one of the driving forces behind preventing Delaware from launching parlay betting through the state’s lottery system.
“I would probably tell you that I think society has probably had a little bit of a change with respect to gambling in general,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters at a league annual meeting in March 2017. “I think we still strongly oppose it in that room, and otherwise, legalized sports gambling. The integrity of our game is No. 1. We will not compromise on that.”
That stance slowly changed after the U.S. Supreme Court declared the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act unconstitutional in May 2018, a decision that effectively allowed every state to launch regulated sports betting.
Twenty-five states and Washington, D.C. have approved some form of sports betting to date.
“Working closely with Caesars, DraftKings, and FanDuel, we will provide fans new and different ways of interacting and engaging with the sport they love,” said Renie Anderson, the chief revenue officer and executive vice president of NFL Partnerships.
As part of the deal, the three sportsbooks will be able to integrate their betting platforms into NFL Media properties, like NFL.com and the league’s app.
DraftKings and FanDuel also gained the ability to add NFL highlights and the league’s Next Gen Stats to their platforms.
All three will be able to offer ”NFL-themed free-to-play games,” according to the NFL. Caesars, which was already the league’s official casino sponsor, retains its exclusivity when it comes to the use of NFL trademarks on its properties.