As we enter 2019, the world of sports gambling is only becoming more prevalent.
How prevalent, you ask? So much so that on Thursday, the NFL announced Caesars Entertainment as its first-ever official casino sponsor.
According to Bloomberg, Caesars will pay the NFL $30 million per year for the sponsorship deal. In return, the company will have exclusive rights to use NFL marks to promote casinos in the U.S. and U.K.
Although the deal doesn't directly involve gambling -- Caesars has agreed to not use the NFL's logo in connection with its sports books -- it certainly seems to bring the league closer to a potential sports betting deal. Last year, the Supreme Court struck down a nationwide ban on sports gambling, leaving it to the states to make their own decisions on such legislature.
In the time since, Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island have joined Nevada in making sports betting legal in their respective states. As a result, sports leagues have found themselves bracing for the realities of more widespread sports gambling -- and the potential opportunities it could bring.
Last August, the NBA became the first league to partner with a sportsbook operator, doing so with MGM Resorts. As a part of the deal, MGM became the exclusive official gaming partner of the NBA and WNBA, while receiving the rights to use league highlights, logos and a direct data feed from the NBA.
Although the NFL's sponsorship with Caesars is more conservative in its nature, it's also likely just the first what could be many sports gambling-related deals in the year to come.
"We couldn't be more excited to work with one of the world's largest gaming and entertainment companies," Renie Anderson, Senior Vice President, NFL Partnerships, Sponsorship and Consumer Products said in a statement. "Combining the NFL with Caesars' expertise in world class entertainment will provide our fans unique experiences both here in the United States and abroad."