Before the Supreme Court allowed states to make their own decisions on sports betting, gambling was a taboo topic for every sports league. It was something that the National Football League (NFL) made every effort to distance itself from even though it was an open secret that billions were being wagered on the games.
Aside from Las Vegas, sports betting was literally illegal even though it was common. That forced the NFL’s TV partners to avoid discussions of betting lines, the spread, and other gambling terms. Some announcers fully ignored the fact that many of their viewers had money on the game while others cleverly nodded at it.
That all changed in 2018 when the Supreme Court made its landmark decision that has paved the way for 37 states (and Washington D.C.) to legalize sports betting. When that happened, it also opened the door for the NFL to take money from newly-legalized sports betting businesses (as well as established ones located on Native American tribal lands not subject to federal regulation).
Before the 2018 ruling, the NFL did not make deals with casinos. Even situations where it seems like they did, with Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, was technically the venue being named after Hard Rock’s hotel, not its associated casino.
Obviously, pre-2018 there was legal sports betting in Las Vegas, but the league worked hard to keep its brand pure and not associated with gambling. That has obviously changed and now, NFL-branded slot machines are coming to the Las Vegas Strip.
The Oakland Raiders moved to Los Angeles.
Image source: USA TODAY Sports
The Las Vegas Strip Has Embraced the NFL
The NFL now has a team, the Las Vegas Raiders, playing in a brand-new stadium just off the Las Vegas Strip. Sin City has also hosted an NFL draft, which took over the parts of the Strip dominated by Caesars Entertainment (CZR) – Get Free Report and MGM Resorts International (MGM) – Get Free Report and it’s hosting the upcoming Super Bowl.
Now, the league will further grow its Las Vegas visibility as new NFL-branded slot machines created by Aristocrat Gaming will roll out on casino floors across the city in time for the 2023 season. The deal was signed in 2021 and it will involve six-different machines being brought to various Las Vegas Strip and Las Vegas casinos.
The NFL-themed slot machines will offer fans the ability to customize their experiences based on their favorite teams.
“Today’s slot machines offer engaging experiences akin to popular video game consoles that our fans adore, and we believe with Aristocrat’s vision, we can bring that exciting gaming experience to fans on the casino floor looking to show their love of football,” NFL Gaming Vice President Rachel Hoagland shared in a 2021 press release.
Highly-themed slot machines have become common all across the Las Vegas Strip. The game show “Wheel of Fortune” has been the best-known intellectual property used for slot machines., but games have been themed to everything from “The Lord of the Rings” to iconic properties like “I Love Lucy,” “Ghostbusters,” and “The Flintstones.”
“The game will be played on Aristocrat’s new King Max cabinet, with players having the chance to win a $1 million progressive jackpot. Before playing the slot machine, a player will be able to select their favorite NFL team, which will serve as the theme during that session,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.