In 2018, the USA betting landscape went from a restricted field, with only one state allowing this pastime, to a wide-open one when the US Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act and lifted the federal ban on sports wagering in the country. Since then, over thirty states have regulated this activity, and sports teams in virtually all pro and semi-pro leagues instantly began looking for ways to profit from this shifting landscape and create new revenue streams.
One of the more popular investments gambling operators are exploring in collaboration with sports teams is bringing sportsbook fun to or near stadiums. That is happening with the help of laws that allow arenas or franchises to become wagering affiliates to regulated gambling brands. D.C. was the first market to pass such a law.
At first sight, this move may seem counterintuitive, as why would betting companies spend millions opening physical wagering facilities when around 80% of gambling gets done online? This venture aims to create a space in an underutilized piece of real estate where fans can drink, eat, socialize, and watch games with other sports enthusiasts, with betting being an afterthought. The long stadium queues make people question where to bet on NFL games online instantly, safely, and with better odds. Not to mention juicier bonuses and promotions.
Below is a list of NFL stadiums that have or will likely transform their online betting lounges into retail sports betting locales.
State Farm Stadium – Arizona Cardinals
In August 2021, The Arizona Cardinals announced that they had reached an agreement with gambling brand BetMGM for this entity to become the team’s official sportsbook partner. One section of their contract with BetMGM specified that the team would allow this operator to open a sportsbook at State Farm Stadium at the start of the 2022 NFL season. That occurred as planned in September 2022, when BetMGM debuted a 17,000-square-foot, two-story establishment inside the Cardinals’ arena, featuring concert-hosting facilities and state-of-the-art wagering amenities. The locale, which can seat five hundred people, operates on event and non-event days, offering indoor and outdoor dining options, complemented with thirty-eight TV sets showing sports action. It is the first full-fledged brick-and-mortar sportsbook inside an NFL stadium.
Empower Field at Mile High – Denver Broncos
In September 2021, BetMGM also forged a deal with the Broncos to become the team’s third betting partner, along with FanDuel and BetFred. The difference between it and these other brands is that BetMGM, like in Arizona’s State Farm Stadium, will also have a physical space in the Empower Field at Mile High. However, it will not have a betting kiosk inside it or any counter-wagering service. Instead, it will hope to persuade visitors to download the BetMGM app and wager from inside this lounge. Essentially, it will initially operate as a fan engagement area that aims to convert guests into BetMGM app users. Going forward, it may transform into a physical sportsbook if all goes well.
Lincoln Financial Field – Philadelphia Eagles
Before the kick-off to the 2021 season, the Eagles debuted the Fox Bet Lounge, now called the FanDuel Lounge, a two-level space that could accommodate four hundred guests in a 4,000-square-foot area. It boasted a bar and TVs everywhere. Currently, there are no physical betting kiosks here, but visitors of this membership-only club get encouraged to bet using Pennsylvania-regulated sportsbook apps. Around the same time, the Eagles struck a multi-year partnership with Fox Bet. They also came to a similar agreement with DraftKings. And in August 2021, the pair opened the DraftKings Field Club at the Lincoln, an invitation-only sideline pen. It is likely only a matter of time before these two spots transform into physical sportsbooks and expand to accept casual patrons.
Ford Field – Detroit Lions
WynnBET is undoubtedly one of the most massive and surging US betting entities, advertising itself as a premier mobile sports wagering app. Operated by the luxury hospitality giant Wynn Resorts, WynnBett, in July 2021, it agreed with the Detroit Lions to open The WynnBET Sports Bar at Ford Field, near section 222. There, fans over twenty-one can order beverages and food while following the latest odds and betting lines from the WynnBET app, whose wagering options are comparable to the ones offered by platforms ranked as the top 5 sites by internet bettors.
Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis Colts
WynnBET also has a lounge in Lucas Oil Stadium, as does Caesars Entertainment. Again, these are betting-friendly areas, not physical counter ones where visitors can walk up and wager. They feature sports bars that serve food and drinks and have tailgating spaces.
Other Stadiums with Betting Lounges
These include FedEx Field, MetLife Stadium, Allegiant Stadium, FirstEnergy Stadium, and Highmark Stadium.
This article was written in collaboration with NFL gambling experts.