The sports world might be currently shut down, but the National Football League continues to make plans for the 2020 season and beyond. The NFL players recently voted to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement that will give the league labor peace for the next 10 years.
Adding a 17th game to the regular-season schedule was the biggest takeaway from the new CBA, but sports betting was also snuck in. As a part of the new CBA, NFL teams will be able to open and operate a sportsbook inside of their stadium on game days.
The NFL has long been an opponent of the sports betting industry, but things have started to change over the last year. Earlier in 2020, the NFL passed a new law stating that NFL teams could partner with sports betting companies, but sports betting was still not allowed inside of the stadium.
With the new CBA, that has completely changed, and sportsbooks can be open as early as the first preseason game in August 2020.
Nine Teams Could Open Sportsbooks
One stipulation that does come with the opening of sportsbooks is that this can only take place in states where sports betting is currently legal. There are currently nine teams that play in states where sports betting has already been legalized.
The nine teams are the Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, Las Vegas Raiders, New York Giants, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, and Pittsburgh Steelers. These teams would all have to work with their state governments to ensure that all sports betting guidelines are being met if they choose to operate a sportsbook.
The NFL also plays games in London each season, and this would allow a sportsbook to be open and operating in Wembley Stadium during NFL games. There are currently 17 states that have legalized sports betting, but that number is expected to grow significantly by the start of the 2021 season as states continue to discuss the possibility of legalizing sports betting.
Players, Owners Will Share Sports Betting Revenue
Money was at the forefront of all of the CBA discussions that took place over the last few months, and allowing sportsbooks to be open gives both sides a chance to earn even more revenue. As per the CBA, the players and owners will each split a share of the sports betting revenue that is earned at the sportsbooks.
The exact numbers have yet to be revealed, but each sportsbook would likely be able to form their own deal with the NFL before starting their operation. Sportsbooks can remain open in the stadiums during the NFL offseason, but the owners and players would share a much smaller part of that revenue.
This new deal will also force the hand of some state legislatures throughout the country. The NFL is one of the most powerful industries in the United States, and they will pressure lawmakers into legalizing sports betting to get a new sportsbook in their stadiums.