Tabcorp and the NFL have struck a landmark deal paving the way for Australians to bet on NFL matches.

The Melbourne-headquartered gambling giant has entered into a wagering partnership with the NFL and sees a host of benefits. Tabcorp, valued at $10 billion, becomes the official betting partner of the NFL in Australia. It is the first time the NFL has entered such an agreement.

Australia has a small but dedicated NFL fanbase and this deal is great news for them. The National Football League pulled the broadcast rights in Australia from ESPN last month and it seemed the only way Aussie NFL fans would be able to watch the action would be by subscribing to the NFL’s own streaming service. This new deal sees Tabcorp secure rights to air the popular show RedZone on the Sky Racing channel. Thousands of licensed venues around Australia will also be able to show the show.

Sports rights expert Colin Smith said this deal is a sign of things to come.

“More dollars flowing into the NFL, but more people will watch the NFL as well. Which means, over time when the next rights deal comes up, it’s worth more. The same applies to horse racing, If I’ve got vision, I’m going to watch more and wager more.”

It is not known how much Tabcorp had to pay for these rights, but industry experts say it will not have broken the bank.

Tabcorp announces NFL deal

Tabcorp announced the deal on its website late last week. Part of the statement reads:

“As part of the multi-year agreement, TAB will be the exclusive Official Wagering Partner of the NFL in Australia. The partnership combines TAB’s position as Australia’s biggest and best-known multi-channel wagering brand with the NFL’s position as the premier global sporting brand.

The partnership also enables Tabcorp to create unique NFL content and experiences for Australian fans across its digital platforms and venues. In addition, TAB and the NFL will combine to promote the NFL’s official Pick’em free-to-play football game. The game will provide NFL fans in Australia the chance to win weekly prizes, as well as a grand prize trip to the Pro Bowl. Fans can visit nflpickem.com.au to participate in the game.”

Managing Director of Wagering and Media for Tabcorp, Adam Rytenskild, said this. “We are proud to bring Australians NFL action to enhance our existing sports offering to customers and venues and complement Sky’s unrivalled coverage of Australian and international racing. Our goal is to support the growing appetite for the NFL in Australia. This gives fans more value in line with our strategy of using our assets to create unique experiences for the customer.”

Christopher Halpin, the NFL Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy & Growth Office, said the deal, “We are looking forward to working with Tabcorp, the leading operator in Australia. We are excited about our growing popularity in Australia and this partnership will help further serve our fans there.”

No plans to make a similar deal in the U.S.

NFL has no plans to strike a similar deal in the USA despite the majority of its audience living here. Sports betting in the U.S. is undergoing a transformation with states now permitted to allow gambling. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act 1992 prohibits sports gambling. The bill was put in place to protect sports in the US as lawmakers believed betting on sports could lead to match-fixing and other unlawful behaviours.

Many legal challenges of the bill have taken place over the years without success. That was until May 2018 when the Supreme Court made two industry-changing rulings. The first was voted 7-2 that parts of the bill were unconstitutional and they commandeered power from the states. With a 6-3 vote, it was determined the enter bill was unconstitutional.

This paves the way for individual states to allow sports betting; each state makes its own laws. Several major bookmakers are already lobbying to be allowed to be the sports betting provider across America. It is not known if Tabcorp is among them, but they may be after this deal on home soil.