In January this year the National Football League entered into a lucrative partnership with casino owners Caesars Entertainment, worth $30m per year. The company said that under the deal it would be promoting core NFL events like the Super Bowl in its casino properties as well as via its other assets, including hotels and individual celebrities under contract to Caesars. Importantly, the deal does not include any sports betting elements.

Testing the water

Although last year the laws around sports betting were relaxed considerably, the NFL has always taken a hard line on the dangers of gambling within the game. An about-face on this matter so soon could well have been seen in some quarters as hypocritical, as though the league were willing to sacrifice its principles as soon as big money became available. This has been wisely avoided, but it’s undeniable that the deal does open the door to sports betting providers sponsoring the NFL further down the line.

Opening the doors

The repeal of the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May last year, when the Supreme Court bowed to pressure from the state of New Jersey and proclaimed the act unconstitutional, allowed individual states to license sports betting as they see fit. At the time of writing, 11 states now allow sports betting in one form or another, and many more are actively discussing the matter or have a bill proceeding through the house.

The NBA was the first major league to take the step of engaging with sports betting companies, entering into an official partnership with Caesar’s rivals MGM Resorts. In this case the deal does very much include sports betting elements, so a precedent has been set.

An evolving industry

Currently Caesars has agreed not to use any NFL branding on products or properties connected with sports betting. NFL senior vice president Renie Anderson has made a non-committal statement to the effect that the league will be monitoring the legal betting industry as it evolves across the US. The rest of us can also follow this evolution via reviews of the best sites at

Sports betting is certain to generate vast amounts of revenue in the coming years, and a partnership that included sports betting elements could be very lucrative for the NFL. Indeed, if the league does decide to enter into a formal relationship with the sports betting sector then it could make as much as $2.3 billion per year from the arrangement, according to a Bloomberg report.

A beneficial arrangement

By associating with Caesars at this stage, the NFL has established a relationship that will help them considerably should they eventually decide to go down this route. For Caesars, the NFL association will give a great boost to their brand, and from their point of view linking their league partnership with their sports betting products must be an obvious endgame to work towards.

Whatever happens, the results can only be beneficial to sports fans, with Caesars customers hoping for VIP access to NFL events, and the extra income allowing the league to invest in better facilities and programs. It’s a safe bet that we haven’t heard the last of this story.