NFL owners vote to allow sportsbooks in stadiums to take in-person bets on game days

NFL owners wrapped up Tuesday their annual meeting in Arizona, having reportedly voted to allow in-person game day sports betting at sportsbooks that are located in league stadiums, as reported by The Athletic.

At the moment, there is only one operational brick-and-mortar sportsbook inside an NFL venue, the Fanatics Sportsbook at FedEx in Landover, Maryland. Since the 2018 PASPA ruling, sports betting has become live and legal in 33 states and the District of Columbia. And the league is no longer seeking to distance itself from the activity. 

Arizona’s Cardinals stadium is also home to a sportsbook, although the BetMGM Sportsbook at State Farm Stadium is actually located in a separate, detached area from the physical stadium of the NFL team. 

The sportsbook is located in The Great Lawn, a tailgating and entertainment area that is 0.3 miles from the stadium. The NFL previously allowed only detached sportsbooks to stay open on home game days.  

However, each league has its own rules. The Caesars Sportsbook at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse is an example of the NBA allowing physical sportsbooks in their arenas that can remain open on game days. Major League Baseball, though, is kind of in the same boat as the NFL. Their rules presently allow for sportsbooks that can be attached to stadiums; they just can’t open up to the ticketed areas.

The vote to allow in-stadium retail sportsbooks to remain open on home game days came on the same day that reports unveiled that two separate groups have submitted fully funded proposals to purchase the Commanders from majority owner Daniel Synder. As reported by ESPN, the first bid from a group led by Josh Harris and Mitchell Rales met Snyder’s $6 billion asking price. 

Three-time NBA MVP Magic Johnson has joined the ownership group, according to the source. Johnson is part of an investor group that purchased the MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012. Harris, co-founder of Apollo Global Management, is also a managing partner of the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Devils through Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, another company he co-founded. 

The other bid was submitted by Steve Apostolopoulos, a Canadian billionaire. The fully funded bid is also for $6 billion. If Snyder approves any offer, a sale needs to receive approval from 75% of NFL owners before the transaction can be consummated. If a purchase agreement for the Commander is completed over the next few weeks it would take about 60 days for the sale to be ratified by the league.