NFL Owners Approve Rule Change On In-Stadium Sportsbooks

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NFL owners approved rule changes on Tuesday that will enable in-stadium retail sportsbooks to remain open on home game days, a league spokesman told Sports Handle.

At the moment, there is only one operational brick-and-mortar sportsbook inside an NFL venue: the Fanatics Sportsbook at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.

Fanatics opened the retail sportsbook on Jan. 20, one day before the start of the NFL divisional playoff round. FedEx Field has been the home of the NFL’s Washington Commanders (formerly Redskins) since 1997.

The NFL did not immediately disclose the results of the vote.

Another facility, the BetMGM Sportsbook at State Farm Stadium, is located in a separate, detached area from the physical stadium of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals. The sportsbook is located in The Great Lawn, a tailgating and entertainment area that is approximately 0.3 miles from the stadium. Previously, the NFL allowed only detached sportsbooks to stay open on home game days.

BetMGM opened the retail sportsbook last September, several days before the Cardinals’ 2022 regular-season home opener against the Chiefs. In February, the Chiefs returned to State Farm Stadium for Super Bowl LVII, marking the first time the NFL held the Super Bowl in a state that offers legal sports wagering.

Reports: Two $6B Commanders bids submitted

The vote came on the same day that reports surfaced that two separate groups have submitted fully funded proposals to purchase the Commanders from majority owner Daniel Snyder. The first bid from a group led by Josh Harris and Mitchell Rales has met Snyder’s $6 billion asking price, ESPN reported. Three-time NBA MVP Magic Johnson has joined the ownership group, according to ESPN.

Johnson is part of an investor group that purchased the MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012. Harris, co-founder of Apollo Global Management, a leading private equity firm, is also a managing partner of the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Devils through Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, another company he co-founded.

Rales, a billionaire businessman, co-founded the Danaher Corporation with his brother Steven in 1983. Rales has also served as the president of the National Gallery of Art since 2019.

The other bid, according to ESPN, has been submitted by Steve Apostolopoulos, a Canadian billionaire. The fully funded bid from Apostolopoulos is also for $6 billion, ESPN reported. Apostolopoulos serves as managing partner of Triple Group of Companies (TGC), a Toronto-based real estate firm.

If Snyder approves any offer, a sale needs to receive approval from 75% of NFL owners before the transaction can be consummated. If a purchase agreement for the Commanders is completed over the next few weeks, it would take about 60 days for the sale to be ratified by the league. Based on the timeline, a new ownership group could be in place around the start of NFL training camp, according to ESPN.

Fanatics betting division appoints new COO

Also on Tuesday, Fanatics Betting and Gaming (FBG) announced the appointment of Hank Couture as chief operating officer of the division. Couture, a former DoorDash executive, will report to Fanatics Betting & Gaming CEO Matt King.

Couture will play an integral role in developing strategies across numerous operations, as the Fanatics Sportsbook is poised to launch nationwide in mid-2023, the company said in a statement.

Fanatics Sportsbook is live in only one state, Maryland, where it offers legal sports betting on a retail-only basis. Fanatics has not set a timeline for the launch of its online sportsbook across the country. While Fanatics reported sports betting handle of $658,953 in February, its gross gaming revenue remained in negative territory at minus-$142,666.

Fanatics reported a win rate of 32.2% in January before the hold dipped to minus-21.7% last month.

Chris Altruda contributed to this story.


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