Rovell: XFL Non-Committal on Future Sports Betting Integrations

Rovell: XFL Non-Committal on Future Sports Betting Integrations article feature image


  • The XFL announced its eight franchises on Wednesday, but didn't make any proclamations one way or the other on how sports betting would be integrated once the league launches in 2020.
  • XFL commissioner Oliver Luck told The Action Network's Darren Rovell that he hopes to make some decisions on the gambling front by February.

The opening video at the presentation to the XFL’s announcement of the eight cities that will begin playing pro football in February 2020 promised that it would be “padded roulette.”

That promise turned out to be more buzz than reality, as details of betting didn’t take center stage at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on Wednesday.

XFL commissioner Oliver Luck told an audience that betting would fall along the lines of giving the league an opportunity to “drive revenue,” but, as of now, only one of the teams plays in a state where gambling is legalized (the New York team will play at MetLife in New Jersey).

That could change significantly change by the time the league launches. There’s a team in Washington D.C. for example and there’s hope that a sports gambling bill can formally pass by the last day of the session on Dec. 18.

“We expect that by the time we launch in February of 2020 that legalized gambling will be available in many more states,” Luck said. “Timing continues to be on our side.”

After the news conference, Luck took some time to talk the gambling angle with The Action Network, admitting that the sports betting space is the one area in which the league’s sole backer, Vince McMahon, really doesn’t have much experience.

“He’s done just about everything else and at a high level,” Luck said. “He’s done media deals, marketing, storytelling and licensing, but he’s never really done anything with the WWE and betting.”

In September, the XFL’s other new pro football competitor, the Alliance of American Football, announced that it was building its own in-house gambling product that would allow fans to watch games and bet on the same screen.

MGM has invested in the AAF’s gambling proposition and will be the exclusive gambling partner of the league for the next three seasons, with the mobile gaming being hosted on MGM’s Play MGM app.

“I’m not sure exclusivity is the right way for us to go on gambling,” Luck said, mentioning that he had hoped to make some decisions by February, a year before kickoff.

If it happened, an insider could be DraftKings, as McMahon owns a small equity stake in the company.

While the XFL could have two teams located in places where bets can be made by the end of 2018, the AAF doesn’t have one team in a state where gambling has been legalized.

Note: The Action Network is majority owned by The Chernin Group, which is also an investor in the Alliance of American Football.

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