It's the human and fun side of our sports heroes

Once-wary NFL makes Caesars first league casino sponsor

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By Agence France-Presse

The NFL, once fearful of gambling ties that might raise questions of match fixing and point shaving, announced Caesars Entertainment Corporation on Thursday as its first-ever casino sponsor.

The deal begins with the playoff contests starting Saturday and allows Caesars to use league trademarks and logos as well as promote casinos at such events as the Super Bowl.

Caesars will have the exclusive right to use NFL trademarks in the United States and the United Kingdom to promote Caesars casino properties and activate at key NFL events including the Super Bowl and NFL Draft.

“We couldn’t be more excited to work with one of the world’s largest gaming and entertainment companies,” said Renie Anderson, an NFL senior vice president of partnerships, sponsorship and consumer products.

“Combining the NFL with Caesars’ expertise in world class entertainment will provide our fans unique experiences both here in the United States and abroad.”

Caesars will host events on the Las Vegas Strip as part of the 2020 NFL Draft in America’s gambling hub, which will have its own NFL club next year when the Oakland Raiders move to Las Vegas.

Eight of the NFL’s 32 clubs already have a relationship with Caesars, including the Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles and the Raiders.

The new NFL deal includes casino aspects only, not such areas as sports betting and daily fantasy gaming.

But it still represents a far cry from the 1960s threats of life bans for gambling ties by league officials or even worries over how the integrity of game results would be seen if there were betting links to players or officials.

Those concerns were renewed as the NFL began playing contests in nations without tight gambling restrictions, such as Britain, and after last year’s US Supreme Court ruling allowing states the option to legalize sports books.

The NBA, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League have made deals with MGM Resorts International aimed at sports betting, with league data being used from partners to settle wagers at MGM bookmaking sites.

Caesars plans to use its properties, celebrity chefs and musical acts as part of the unique entertainment under the NFL agreement to offer league-related events at its properties.

“All of us at Caesars Entertainment are thrilled,” Caesars Entertainment president Mark Frissora said.