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Aristocrat unveils NFL-themed slot machines as league navigates legal gambling

NFL-themed slots are coming to casinos for football season

Aristocrat Gaming unveiled Thursday new NFL-themed slot machines slated to appear on casino floors when football season kicks off in September.

It’s symbolic of a major reversal for the National Football League, from its vehement opposition to legalized sports betting prior to the 2018 Supreme Court decision, which paved the way for states to adopt sports wagering, to partnering with the American Gaming Association on responsible gambling initiatives.

Now, its highly sought-after license will appear on casino slot machines nationwide, designed and manufactured by Aristocrat.

“The unveiling of the first NFL-themed slot machines represents an opportunity to bring the League closer to our fans in a new area,” said Joe Ruggiero, senior vice president of consumer products at the NFL.

Aristocrat Gaming first announced the multiyear agreement in 2021.

Aristocrat unveils the first look of its NFL-themed slot machines that will begin appearing on casino floors in September.

Source: Aristocrat Gaming

“I truly believe that this could be an industry changing event for for slot machines and for casinos themselves … pushing the boundaries, driving innovation to something that really has never been done before,” Aristocrat Gaming CEO Hector Fernandez told CNBC.

Part of the innovation challenge was to create a gaming opportunity that appeals to fans of different NFL teams, 40% of whom are what Aristocrat calls “displaced fans,” or those who don’t live in the city they root for.

The Aristocrat games will have customizable skins. Players can choose their favorite team, which will then load relevant imagery, videos of key game moments and even stadium anthems.

Aristocrat unveils the first look of its NFL-themed slot machines that will begin appearing on casino floors in September.

Source: Aristocrat Gaming

Fernandez believes the NFL-branded slot machines will encourage younger men to give slots a spin, where previously, slot machines have traditionally been the domain of older women.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, casinos began drawing a younger crowd, eager for entertainment options. Young adults, especially men, may be visiting casino sportsbooks more often as sports betting proliferates across the nation.

Fernandez was quick to highlight the strategy around responsible gaming initiatives, developed in partnership with the NFL, which will launch alongside the new slot machines.

The NFL has made a public commitment to responsible gaming and integrity but has struggled this year with players and other team staff breaking its rules about who can engage in sports gambling and where and when it can take place.

On Monday, the league confirmed that Eyioma Uwazurike of the Denver Broncos has been suspended indefinitely for betting on NFL games during the 2022 season. Uwazurike marks the 10th player this year to be suspended for violations of the league’s sports betting policy.

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