The NFL’s cold shoulder toward gambling is thawing faster than Antartica.
Via Terry Lefton of Sports Business Daily, the NFL has allowed teams to sell sell sportsbook sponsorships. The word came to the franchises on Friday, following an extended study by the league’s Sports Betting Committee.
Under the policy shift, which is seismic in comparison to where the league was fewer than two years ago, teams will be allowed to accept sportsbook advertising on their websites and to sell signage to sportsbooks at stadiums. Teams also can sell to a sportsbook the ability to call itself the team’s official sportsbook partner.
But there will be no betting windows, betting parlors, or betting kiosks in stadiums. Likewise, sportsbooks will not be allowed to buy naming rights for stadiums or practice facilities. And in a move that underscores the clumsy nature of the league’s embrace of gambling money, lower-bowl signage won’t be permitted, to prevent the signs from being seen on TV. Likewise, active coaches and players are prohibited from appearing in sportsbook ads.
Active coaches and players should be upset about that. The league has given teams a procedure for cashing in on the sportbook billions, but coaches and players can’t?
The double standard may not last long. For now, the NFL is dipping its toe in the water. As legalized gambling spreads, the NFL eventually will be performing a full-blown cannoball into the deep end of Scrooge McDuck’s vault of gold coins.