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Gambling company Caesars becomes 'first founding partner' of Las Vegas Raiders stadium

Matt Gutierrez carries a Raiders football team flag by a sign welcoming visitors in Las Vegas. (AP)
Matt Gutierrez carries a Raiders football team flag by a sign welcoming visitors in Las Vegas. (AP)

Two days, two gambling-related deals for NFL teams.

MGM announced a partnership with the New York Jets on Wednesday. Then MGM’s main rival in Las Vegas, Caesars Entertainment, announced it will be the “first founding partner” of the Las Vegas Raiders’ new stadium.

The stadium is still under construction, but it will have Caesars’ fingerprints all over it. The company announced the 15-year deal on Thursday.

It’s not like the Raiders entered into this without the NFL knowing. As sports gambling becomes legal in more states, the NFL seems to be figuring out that it might be a smart thing to start doing business with gambling companies.

Caesars deal with Raiders is a big one

The Caesars deal seems much more expansive than the Jets’ deal with MGM, and that makes sense. It would be strange to have an NFL team in Las Vegas and there not being a significant casino presence around it.

Caesars said there will be a branded stadium entrance and drop-off zone (it’s still tough to figure out how the team will work out its parking issue in the location of the stadium, but that probably makes the drop-off zone a smart sponsorship for Caesars), digital signage, media, radio and print assets in addition to alumni, player and cheerleader appearances. Caesars said in its announcement that will be “giving the company a commanding presence” at Raiders games.

This being Vegas, there will also be a “Caesars-branded Owners Suite” at the 50-yard line for “select Caesars Entertainment customers and Total Rewards members” … high rollers, in other words.

NFL teams partnering with gambling companies

The NFL is slowly allowing its teams to get into partnership deals with teams. The Cowboys and Ravens have announced agreements with casinos as well as the Jets. The Ravens’ deal is with Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, a Caesars property.

The landscape is changing. States can now decide to make sports gambling legal. The NFL, which treated gambling and Las Vegas as evil entities for decades, now has one of its 32 teams moving to Las Vegas in 2020.

It makes complete sense for the Raiders to partner with one of the biggest and most visible companies in Las Vegas as it moves there. It’s just odd for the NFL to all of a sudden be aligning itself with gambling companies. But by the time the Raiders actually move to Las Vegas in 2020, it probably won’t seem so strange anymore.

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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