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Sunday, July 14, 2024

NFL Further Embracing Betting With League-Themed Slot Machine

  • New NFL-themed slot machine expands upon licensing deal first struck in 2021
  • Venture arrives amid rising issue with player gambling violations
Aristocrat Gaming

Until recently a staunch opponent of gambling, the NFL is now deepening its involvement with the burgeoning space.

NFL licensee Aristocrat Gaming will introduce an NFL-themed slot machine at casinos around the country beginning this fall. The machines will feature both league and team branding, building on the NFL’s first casino licensing deal first struck in 2021.

The league’s SVP of consumer products Joe Ruggiero said the machines “represent an opportunity to bring the league closer to our fans in a new area.”

The effort also builds upon a series of high-level deals the NFL already holds with sportsbooks such as FanDuel, DraftKings, and Caesars — agreements made after the influential 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing individual states to introduce regulated sports betting.

But the casino initiative enters amid the backdrop of escalating issues with active players betting in violation of league rules. Earlier this week, the NFL indefinitely suspended Denver defensive end Eyioma Uwazurike for betting on NFL games, making him the 10th player to be suspended this year for gambling violations.

Such recent events have triggered accusations that the league hasn’t done enough to educate players about the gambling policies, as well as claims of hypocrisy — owners such as the Dallas Cowboys’ Jerry Jones and New England’s Bob Kraft have been longtime investors in DraftKings.

“I know this: There’s a handful of owners that are owning these ‘problems,’” said Denver Broncos coach Sean Payton. “A player can’t have a share of DraftKings or FanDuel. It’s shameful. Embarrassing.”

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