Major sports leagues in the U.S. have quickly taken to sports betting during the first few years of legalization. Of these, the National Football League (NFL) and National Basketball Association (NBA) have both been forerunners in this regard. Two weeks ago, the NFL extended their partnership with Sportsradar, the company that provides sports data for them.
Now opening day is less than a week away and individual sports teams within the NFL are also creating/extending partnerships with sports betting companies. Earlier this week, the Green Bay Packers partnered with Oneida Casino. The Buffalo Bills are now the latest team to find a gambling sponsorship. They have chosen the Seneca Nation for their partnership, with Seneca Resorts and Casino acting as the team’s official betting avenue.
The Seneca Nation has three locations on the westside of New York. This will give bettors not located directly in the main city an excellent opportunity to place a wager on their favorite team without needing to travel far. Mobile sports betting is still not available in the state.
Both the Buffalo Bills and Green Bay Packers are sponsored by tribal groups, but they weren’t the first NFL teams to do so. The Dallas Cowboys partnered with the Chickasaw Nation last year when they chose WinStar World Casino as their official casino. With the Bills and Packers recently partnering with tribal groups, this will likely become a trend for other teams as well this upcoming season.
One problem with the deal is that the Seneca Nation is currently having a financial dispute with the state. In 2016, the gambling combat between the Seneca Nation and the state of New York was automatically renewed. One of the provisions in the agreement is that the Seneca Nation would give 25% of revenue earned from slot machines to the state.
Prior to the renewal, the Seneca Nation upheld this provision, but they stopped once the compact actually renewed. Leaders of the tribe hold the opinion that the stipulation regarding slot machine revenue only applied to the previous compact, and is not included in the renewed compact.
The state and local community estimate that more than $220 million in revenue has been withheld. This has become such a point of contention for the state of New York that they have refused to fix a portion of Interstate 90 near the tribe’s casino.
If the money conflict isn’t resolved, there’s a great chance that the Seneca Nation will also be restricted from offering sports betting. But with tip-off for football season now just days away, it’s unlikely that the Buffalo Bills’ new sponsor wouldn’t do their best to ensure that the disagreement is resolved as soon as possible.