A legal sportsbook will open Saturday, the first to do so on the same property that hosts an NFL team. Make that two teams.
FanDuel announced Thursday that it will open a 5,300-square-foot sportsbook with 10 tellers and 27 televisions at the Meadowlands Racetrack this weekend. The New Jersey location is adjacent to MetLife Stadium, where the New York Giants and Jets play.
“We’re hoping to be able to coordinate with [the Giants and Jets] so that their customers, if they get there early and want to make a bet, they could [come to the sportsbook] and then we could shuttle them to the stadium,” said Jeff Gural, chairman and CEO of Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, which owns the track.
But just how closely the sportsbook and the NFL will work together is still very much up in the air.
The NFL has opposed the legalization of gambling and has advocated for Congress, not the states, to make the legislation. The states were given the right to make their own decisions when the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in May.
“Prior to this, we were persona non grata,” Gural said. “I think five years from now, we’ll look back and say, ‘What? Why were the sports leagues opposing sports betting?'”
Delaware and New Jersey began taking legal sports bets last month.
Matt King is CEO of the newly formed FanDuel Group, the result of the daily fantasy company’s acquisition by European betting conglomerate Paddy Power Betfair, which closed Wednesday. King said the company expects the NFL to be “a big part of our business” but can’t conclusively say how they’ll capitalize on crowds for NFL game days.
“It’s tough to speculate how things will work,” King said. “Obviously there’s a lot of people whose goal is getting this right and providing the best user experience for everyone. We’re playing the long game.”
Neither team would speculate on what would likely happen. An NFL spokesman did not return messages seeking comment.
Helen Strus, vice president of event marketing at Meadowlands Sports Complex, said in a statement that MetLife Stadium officials are “evaluating the options, but no decisions have been made” regarding what stipulations the stadium would possibly impose on the sportsbook.
FanDuel becomes the first originally online company to get its first brick and mortar sportsbook, but having betting by an app is very much part of the plan. King said the idea is to have it up and running by football season. The group is helped by the fact that FanDuel’s partner BetFair already operates the second-largest online betting operation within the state of New Jersey.
The NBA, a former equity partner in FanDuel, has divested from the company but maintains a commercial relationship.
The Giants host the Cleveland Browns on Aug. 9, the first NFL preseason game of 2018 at MetLife Stadium.