Horseshoe Casino Baltimore announced a multi-year marketing deal with the Baltimore Ravens on Friday that will allow the casino to use team trademarks and logos and is expected help it take advantage of its proximity to M&T Bank Stadium.
It’s the second-ever partnership between an NFL team and a casino, and more are likely on the way in the wake of the NFL’s decision in September to allow its teams to enter such casino marketing agreements.
The Dallas Cowboys became the first NFL team to take on a casino as a corporate sponsor, announcing a partnership early last month with WinStar World Casino.
Under the Ravens’ deal, the Horseshoe complex just blocks from M&T Stadium on Russell Street, a popular game day destination, becomes an official casino of the team. The Ravens also are exploring similar sponsorships with other casinos, said Kevin Rochlitz, the team’s senior vice president of corporate sales and business development. Horseshoe and the Ravens did not disclose financial terms of the confidential agreement.
“It’s a great thing for us and a great thing for Horseshoe,” Rochlitz said. “The opportunity to merge our brands together allows our fans to do certain things inside Horseshoe Casino, and we’re going to be working on some consumer promotions that they’re going to announce to rewards members. It also allows a great opportunity for our our fans to come in here to the casino and win certain prizes.”
The agreement does not cover the possibility of Maryland eventually ushering in sports betting, a move supported by the state’s largest casinos. In May, the Supreme Court struck down a federal law that banned some states from offering wagering on sports, allowing states to decide whether to permit sports betting.
Maryland voters likely would not have a chance before November 2020 to consider a state constitutional amendment on sports betting. During its most recent session, the General Assembly did not approve legislation to put the measure on the November ballot.
“We’ll see what the state of Maryland does as it goes through the approval process,” Rochlitz said. “It’s to be determined. Right now, we’re going to take it one state at a time and take this partnership and develop it.”
[ FAQ: What the Supreme Court's decision on sports betting means for Maryland ]
The Evening Sun
Erin Chamberlin, regional president for casino operator Caesars and Horseshoe’s general manager, said the casino would be “very supportive” of the state legalizing sports gaming, which would likely be available at casinos.
“We’re hoping that this agreement would put us in a great position should we achieve that goal in Maryland,” Chamberlin said. “It’s obviously something that we think would be very beneficial to the casinos and drive revenue that would benefit the education fund and the state overall.”
The marketing partnership works well, she said, because the team and casino both offer entertainment and are located in the city’s developing Southern Gateway Entertainment District. Promotions are expected to help draw additional Ravens fans before and after games, she said.
“Horseshoe Baltimore has always been a great place for Ravens fans to come, and with this agreement it’s about to get even better,” said Chamberlin, promising giveaways and promotions, such as chances to win trips on the team plane with the players. “One of the things that we think is a really big opportunity for us is to show people that we’re not just a casino, not just slots and table games, we have a lot of great restaurants ... a lot of great bars.”
The casino plans to re-brand its three-level feature bar as a Ravens-themed bar. The gaming complex also will become a sponsor of the Ravens’ “Legendary Moments and Plays,” shown during games on the new stadium video boards the team installed last year.
Both the Ravens and casino expect to benefit from the development of the city’s planned entertainment district in the area.
Baltimore Sun reporter Jeff Barker contributed to this article.