The team announced today that it has formed a partnership with the official Maryland Lottery for Ravens-themed scratch-off ticket with a $1 million top prize.
Sales are scheduled to begin prior to the Ravens’ Aug. 13 preseason home game against the Washington Redskins, and will be conducted at M&T Bank Stadium and other businesses throughout the state.
The business development for the AFC North franchise follows similar deals for the New England Patriots, Washington Redskins and the Houston Texans after NFL owners unanimously approved a motion at the league meetings that allows NFL teams to launch partnerships with official state lotteries.
"We are very pleased that the Maryland Lottery will be selling a Ravens lottery ticket throughout Maryland," Ravens team president Dick Cass said in a statement. "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."
NFL teams have been looking to generate extra revenue due to a languishing economy and have been laying off employees and cutting back on expenses.
Economic estimates for team profits through a lottery deal have consistently been placed at $1 million annually. Annual revenue for the state of Maryland has been estimated at $3 million.
According to the Associated Press, the $810,000 contract between the Ravens and the lottery has been approved by state officials.
Although the NFL has drawn criticism for allegedly acting in a hypocritical fashion because it remains a staunch opponent of gambling, league officials have argued there’s a distinction between betting on games and lotteries.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently told New York reporters that the league isn’t being "high and mighty" on gambling.
Especially when it comes to lotteries.
"It’s a game of chance and it’s a scratch-off," Goodell said during a press conference. "The outcome of our game, that’s a much different issue. We’re not making a statement that nobody should gamble."
However, Goodell also stressed that the NFL isn’t backing off its hard-line opposition toward betting on games. The league is mounting a legal challenge against the recent approval of sports betting in Delaware.
"All we know is how it impacts on us," Goodell said. "The issue is that legal or illegal sports gambling on the outcome or our games does impact us and the integrity of our game and we want people to understand that it’s something we remain opposed to. The lotteries are something that’s become more and more involved as stadiums are getting built.
"People are using lottery revenues to build stadiums and using lottery revenues for educational purposes. It’s something that’s become accepted in our world. We have not crossed over the line to casinos. We take a very strong view on trying to keep an arm’s distance from them."
The $5 scratch-off tickets, which prominently feature the Ravens’ official logo and name, has been dubbed "Ravens CASH Fantasy."
Cash prizes will range between $5 to $1 million. There’s also a code on the tickets where season tickets, game-day premium seats, players’ game-worn jerseys and other prizes.
"I’m thrilled about this unprecedented partnership linking two Maryland icons," Maryland Lottery director Buddy Roogow said in a statement. "This is an excellent affiliation for the Maryland Lottery, and I’m looking forward to collaborating with one of the most beloved teams in the NFL."
Aaron Wilson covers the Batimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.