Feb 24, 2020 - Sports

The NFL warms up to betting

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Starting this season, NFL teams in states with legal sports betting will be allowed to have in-stadium betting lounges and accept sponsorships from sportsbooks and betting operators, per multiple reports.

One caveat: There will not be any physical betting windows in the lounges, so they're more "hangout spots for bettors" than an actual "places to make bets."

By the numbers: Five states with NFL teams currently offer legal sports betting of some kind (Indiana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania), while six jurisdictions have passed bills but not yet launched (Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, District of Columbia).

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Data: American Gaming Association; Graphic: Axios Visuals

Why it matters: This signals the NFL's willingness to embrace sports betting — an industry that it pushed back against for decades. What was once considered a threat to the game's integrity is now viewed by the NFL (and U.S. sports leagues more broadly) as a way to boost fan engagement and increase revenues.

The big picture: Overall, 14 U.S. states/federal districts currently offer legal sports betting, seven have passed bills but not yet launched, 21 have active bills, eight have no bills set for 2020 and one voted not to move forward with legislation this year (Maine, two weeks ago).

Go deeper: The sports betting industry is set for a big year

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