The Arizona Cardinals made some history on Thursday, the same day that members of the Los Angeles Rams received their Super Bowl rings in a lavish pre-game ceremony.
The Cardinals and OKBET Betting Partners launched the OKBET Betting Partners Sportsbook. At the two-story, 17,000 square foot State Farm Stadium, which features a variety of large-screen TVs, a gourmet bar, and a number of sports wagering options. According to the team and OKBET Betting Partners, this facility is the first retail sportsbook to open at an NFL stadium.
The much-hyped debut has an asterisk next to it. The Great Lawn, a large tailgating and entertainment area with eight acres of well maintained green space and a stage for pregame music, is where the sportsbook is situated. The Great Lawn is a distinct area that is not connected to the actual stadium; the distance to the closest entrance is around 0.3 kilometers. Even yet, the lawn is regarded as a ticket-free zone.
The sportsbook will open its doors at 7 a.m. local time on Sunday when the Cardinals meet the Chiefs in the team’s home debut. It will remain open until the end of the game. Long after the conclusion of the Buccaneers-Cowboys Sunday night game, an MGM official said that the venue would shut down for the evening at 11 p.m.
The Maryland State Lottery & Gaming Control Commission granted the Washington Commanders a sports betting license a few weeks prior to the opening of the OKBET Betting Partners brick-and-mortar book. Although a retail sportsbook will eventually be opened by the Commanders inside FedEx Field, a team spokeswoman declined to give Sports Handle an estimate of when that would happen.
On game days, in-stadium sportsbooks are not permitted to operate according to NFL policy. The Commanders knew about the game-day restriction when they submitted their application for a Maryland sports betting license last month, but they still intended to do so, according to ESPN.
The NFL is the first significant professional sports league in the United States to implement such a rule.
On the one hand, if the sports betting venue is separate from the stadium itself, the policy permits a sportsbook operator to accept live, game-day bets on the premises of a stadium. On the other hand, if a team’s brick-and-mortar sportsbook is physically situated inside the boundaries of the venue, the policy mandates that it close on the day of an NFL game.
Let’s assume the Commanders locate a partner that can hasten the development of a retail sportsbook by December 18, when the team meets the Giants at FedEx Field.
When will the NFL demand that the sportsbook close down for the day? Will the operator be required to close the sportsbook section at a predetermined time before to kickoff, or must it close at 12:01 a.m. on the 18th? Will the league permit the book to reopen on Sunday evening in time for the Sunday night game in prime time if the game begins at 1 p.m. ET?
The Commanders will fly to San Francisco a week later to take on the Niners on Christmas Eve. Given that the Commanders will suit up more than 3,000 miles away from their home arena, is it permissible under the policy for the FedEx Field sportsbook to be open on that date? After the college football regular season is over, what about Monday Night Football games, the three Thanksgiving Day games, and certain Saturday matches?
The ban appears to be designed to prevent in-stadium sportsbooks from being open on days when the home team is playing in the stadium. According to a source familiar with the rules, any specifics outside of the basic in-stadium game day policy must be worked out between the league and eligible teams.
The policy appears to take into account the importance of responsible gaming. If the NFL implemented the rule with protecting young children as its primary goal, the league deserves praise. The possibility of turning a $10 parlay into a payout of $10,000 could lure an inquisitive 10-year-old who passes by a garish sportsbook with a dazzling facade.
The NFL released a commercial with former San Francisco 49ers coach Steve Mariucci in December of last year as part of its first PSA on responsible gaming. The American Gaming Association and two NFL teams, including the Commanders, collaborate to promote the “Have A Game Plan. Bet Responsibly” campaign.
For this report, the NFL made no comments. It was impossible to get in touch with David Highhill, the league’s new sports betting czar.
Policies for Game Days in Other Sports
Six retail sportsbooks are currently open near professional sports stadiums across the US, including three in Arizona and three in the Washington, D.C., region.
In the nation’s capital, there are sportsbooks operated by Caesars at Capital One Arena, FanDuel at D.C. United’s home stadium Audi Field, and OKBET Betting Partners at Nationals Park. According to MLB rules, that book, which is associated with the ballpark, may be left open throughout Nationals home games.
It is unclear if consumers are permitted to enter the OKBET Betting Partners facility immediately through a stadium entrance once a game has started. Additionally, the sportsbook has a separate door that leads straight out onto the street. A Caesars-branded sportsbook can be found at Chase Field in Arizona, another MLB ballpark.
Direct access from a betting facility into an arena during a game is not prohibited under NBA policy. FanDuel runs a physical sportsbook in addition to the Caesars book at Capital One Arena at the Footprint Center in Phoenix. Both are reachable from the street as well as through inside concourses.
The NHL initially forbade direct admission into the arena for Washington Capitals games from the Capital One Sportsbook when it first opened. There were no such limitations for the Washington Wizards’ home games in the NBA.
A Defeat on British territory
When I was on vacation in England a number of years ago, I traveled from London to Manchester to attend a Premier League game at the Ethiad. One of my pals, a former Daily Mail reporter, pointed out a William Hill sportsbook in the main concourse as we were making our way to our seats. The match between Manchester City and Fulham took place in 2014, four years before the PASPA ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Even though I had participated in sports betting in the past as a hobbyist bettor, I had never encountered exotic props with such alluring combinations. We returned to our seats with the parlay cards and placed many fictitious bets. One in particular stood out: odds of 200/1 for a Yaya Toure hat trick and a Manchester City victory by a score of 4-0. I decided to wager 10 pounds on Toure to score three goals in a 4-0 rout.
Ivory Coast’s talented midfielder Toure opened the scoring with two goals on uninspired penalty attempts. We got our money’s worth when the Ivorian midfielder curled in a beautiful shot from 30 yards out in the 65th minute. The unlikely prop would have paid off if Man City continued to score exactly once more over the final 25 minutes without conceding a goal.
On a chilly Saturday afternoon, a City midfielder scored in the 84th minute as both teams battled through a hailstorm. My joy only lasted for around four minutes until center back Martin Demichelis scored a goal into an empty net to secure a 5-0 victory.
With his teammates surrounding him, Demichelis took advantage of the rare occasion. Only three goals were scored by the defender in 78 Premier League games for City. The area became insane. The improbable prop, meanwhile, was seconds away from being rated as a winner.
In all honesty, I had a limited amount of money at that time in my life. Even if it was only £10, I couldn’t afford to spend any money on sports betting. An argument may be made that restricting access to a sportsbook to 80,000 people on game day won’t have much of an impact here in the United States, especially in states that allow mobile betting from stadium seats.
However, a wise parent can prevent his son from visiting The Great Lawn and the crowded lines inside the sportsbook building. It is more difficult to avoid a sportsbook right in the heart of a concourse. Any obsessive bettor is aware that it just takes one losing prop for a small gambling interest to develop into a full-blown addiction.
Following a $10 loss, a bettor may place a $20 bet, double it to $40, then $80, then $160, and so on. Soon enough, the losses exceed a weekly allotment considerably.