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The New York Post


When it comes to sniffing out additional revenue streams, NFL owners are like bloodhounds.

Several team owners have recently persuaded the league to reverse its longstanding ban against casino advertising, according to several reports — opening the door for teams to ink local deals with area casinos that could bring in millions of dollars in added advertising revenue.

The move comes just months after the Supreme Court overturned a US ban on states accepting bets on professional and college sports — with several states beginning to take action.

The NFL decision, pressed by the league's business ventures committee, takes effect during the upcoming season, which kicks off Sept. 6.

It is not known whether the Jets or Giants are seeking to sign up New Jersey sports books. Neither the teams nor the NFL returned calls for comment.

The NFL's sudden about-face on the casino advertising issue was revealed at a recent conference by Brian Rolapp, the CEO of the NFL Network and the league's chief media officer, according to SBC Americas, a gaming news site.

To be sure, the NFL, while open now to accepting cash from casinos that profit from taking bets on games, has placed some limits on possible team-casino partnerships.

The new policy will allow teams to accept advertising from casinos and daily fantasy sites that operate sports books only during pre- and post-game programming.

Plus, no casino ads linked to NFL teams will be able to include a mention of their sports book properties.

Casino advertisers will be allowed to display their NFL team logos with their advertising, according to reports.

Still, the NFL's acceptance of casino advertising dollars is a stark change of philosophy.

Just last year, in an effort to persuade the Supreme Court to maintain the federal sports gambling ban, a group representing the NFL, quoting a congressional report, told the court that "sports gambling threatens to change the nature of sporting events from wholesome entertainment for all ages to devices for gambling."

In a deposition for the suit brought by New Jersey, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said gambling posed the No. 1 threat to the league's integrity.

Sports gambling, Goodell said during the deposition, "creates more gambling, it creates more gamblers and it creates more likelihood that people are going to perceive it as being an influence," according to an ESPN report.

Morgan Stanley analyst Ben Swinburne estimated that if sports betting is legalized, it could drive nearly $2 billion of overall new media spend in the form of advertising and sponsorship.

Lawrence Ferazani, the NFL's senior litigation lawyer, also deposed by then New Jersey Gov. Christie's legal eagles in 2012 as part of the league battle against gambling, said that the NFL at that time didn't think sports gambling would result in increased revenues.

In 2018, it appears the move by the Supreme Court will indeed add to team revenues.

"We remain steadfast in our opposition to the proliferation of gambling on NFL games," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Bloomberg. "There is a distinction between accepting advertising in a limited fashion and gambling on the outcome of our games."

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September 5, 2018


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