The Baltimore Ravens and the Maryland Lottery announced today a new partnership agreement whereby they will release Ravens-themed scratch-off tickets throughout the state of Maryland.
Ravens CASH Fantasy will be a $5 scratch-off game that will feature both cash prizes and Ravens-themed prizes, such as season tickets or access to a suite during a game at M&T Bank Stadium. It will help generate net revenue of $3 million for the state of Maryland.
Allowing NFL themed tickets is a stark contrast over the NFL's previous strict no-gambling policy that deterred any NFL association with gambling. But, owners unanimously approved the new business ventures resolution at their annual Spring Meeting on May 20 designed for the league to bring in more revenue during a weak economy.
Some critics believe the NFL embracing partnerships with state lotteries conflicts with the league taking a hard-line stance on sports betting. But, because scratch-off ticket results are not based on game performances and does not affect the outcome of games, the league saw no downside to the new policy.
"[The policy] is a big deal because it's never been done before in the National Football League," said Ravens Senior Account Executive Erin Howland, who played a key role in getting the deal done. "The NBA, Major League Baseball and NASCAR have all been incorporating their marks into lottery tickets for a number of years."
When the resolution was approved, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said lottery proceeds could generate revenue for "many important public purposes." In Maryland Lottery revenues are deposited into the State's General Fund and used to support such services and programs as education, public health, human resources and public safety.
"We are very pleased that the Maryland Lottery will be selling a Ravens' lottery ticket throughout Maryland," team president Dick Cass said. "The Lottery generates funds that benefit so many people in Maryland, and we are proud to have this direct association with the Lottery. We will work hard with the Lottery to make this effort a success."
The Ravens are one of the first teams in the league to take advantage of the new opportunity. The New England Patriots and Washington Redskins both recently signed agreements with the Massachusetts and Virginia state lotteries, respectively.
The Ravens corporate sales department was working toward a deal even before the NFL approved the resolution. While owners were discussing the matter at committee levels, Ravens officials were working on a deal knowing if the policy didn't pass, the deal would be dead.
"It was a chance we were willing to take," Howland noted. "But we had a pretty good feeling. Once [the resolution] passed, we were able to get into full swing and come to an agreement."
The scratch-offs will be available at over 4,000 retail locations throughout the state, including Montgomery and Prince George's Counties, where the Ravens' reach had previously been limited.