Washington Football Team first in NFL to land sports betting licence
The Washington Football Team have become the first franchise in American football’s NFL to secure a sports betting licence through its partnership with FanDuel, the fantasy sports company.
The team and FanDuel received a joint licence to operate in Virginia, a day after legalised sports betting went live in the state.
FanDuel’s mobile sports betting app also launched in Virginia at the same time.
Despite playing their home games in Maryland, the Washington franchise’s headquarters and training facility are in Virginia.
NFL teams are not permitted to directly participate in or provide sports betting, but franchises in states that grant teams market access can select a sportsbook to utilise their licence.
FanDuel will have rights to use Washington Football Team marks and logos on its online sportsbook in Virginia.
Last February, the league announced that teams could bring in sportsbooks as betting partners, with the Denver Broncos becoming the first to take advantage in June, in a deal with FanDuel.
Washington originally partnered with FanDuel in 2014 though that deal was limited to promoting the betting company’s daily fantasy offerings.
More mobile sportsbooks are expected to soon launch in Virginia, but FanDuel was able to steal a march on its rivals due to its relationship with the Washington team.
Mike Raffensperger, chief marketing officer for FanDuel, said: "The way the Virginia legislation is written, there is preferential treatment to the team, which is one of the reasons why we're privileged to be the first sportsbook live in the state of Virginia."
The partnership with FanDuel also extends into Washington D.C., where the company’s branding will feature inside the team’s Fedex Field home.
In addition to Virginia, Illinois and the District of Columbia also allow professional teams and stadiums to have sports betting licences.
The Capital One Arena in Washington, home to the NBA’s Wizards and NHL’s Capitals, has a retail sportsbook, while the MLB’s Washington Nationals last week announced plans to launch one outside their Nationals Park stadium as part of a tie-up with BetMGM.
With Virginia's launch, the number of states offering live sports betting stands at 20, and five other states have passed legislation and are in the process of enacting the ruling.
Idaho, Utah and Wisconsin are the only remaining states that have not introduced sports betting legislation since a 2018 ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which prohibited the majority of sports betting outside Nevada, was not consistent with the US constitution.
Many NFL teams have taken advantage with commercial deals in recent months involving the Pittsburgh Steelers, Las Vegas Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Indianopolis Colts, Detroit Lions, Tennessee Titans.
The league’s betting market has so far largely been dominated by major players such as BetMGM, FanDuel and DraftKings.