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Volume 26 No. 61
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NFL Relaxes Its Policy, Signs Caesars As Its First Casino Sponsor

The NFL has signed Caesars as the league's first casino sponsor. The multiyear deal begins with this year's playoffs and gives Caesars the ability to use NFL trademarks in the U.S. and U.K. to promote its casino properties. Caesars can activate at events like the Super Bowl and NFL Draft, and it will host parts of the '20 Draft when it is held in Las Vegas. Seven teams already have relationships with Caesars, which along with the league-wide deal are for the casino category only and do not include sports betting, daily fantasy or hotels/resorts (NFL). BLOOMBERG NEWS' Novy-Williams & Soshnick cited a source as saying that Caesars "will pay close" to $30M a year for the deal. Caesars agreed "not to use the NFL’s logo in connection with its sport books, a sign the league isn’t quite ready to dive into legalized gambling the way other sports have." Should the NFL "eventually seek an official sports-book partner, Caesars will already have close ties to the league" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 1/3). ESPN.com's David Purdum notes while the NBA, NHL and MLB have "embraced sports betting" since last May's Supreme Court ruling, the NFL "continues to keep its distance." The NBA, NHL and MLB have "each done deals" with MGM Resorts Int'l that have "been more centered on sports betting." MGM sportsbooks will "use official league data from those league partners to fuel their bookmaking operations." The NBA logo was "on display inside the sportsbook at the Borgata in Atlantic City in the fall." The NFL-Caesars deal "does not include data sharing" (ESPN.com, 1/3).

ONLY A MATTER OF TIME: ESPN's Trey Wingo said the NFL-Caesars deal is the league "acknowledging this is the way things are going and they might as well get involved with this in some shape or form.” ESPN's Mike Golic: "It's not like the NFL was going to get left out. Every casino conglomerate knew the NFL was still the big boy to get, right? No matter if the other leagues were first, all the casinos and everyone involved knew the NFL was that trophy bass, the one that goes on the wall” (“Golic & Wingo,” ESPN Radio, 1/3). YAHOO SPORTS' Frank Schwab writes the "biggest takeaway" from the deal is the NFL’s "relaxing attitudes toward gambling and casinos." The league for decades "treated gambling as an unforgivable sin." However, once the league allowed the Raiders to relocate to Las Vegas, this "had to be the next step." It would be "awkward to have a team in Las Vegas while still fighting against gambling." Additionally, when the NFL put the '20 Draft in Las Vegas, it was "another key step toward embracing America’s gambling capital" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/3). CBSSPORTS.com's Jared Dubin writes it is notable that the NFL has "yet to sign any deals that include sports betting or daily fantasy." Given the "trend of casino deals, though, that cannot be far behind" (CBSSPORTS.com, 1/3).