Speak of the Devil.
Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill US commented on the deal to Forbes.
“We are thrilled to partner with the New Jersey Devils and the Prudential Center. Five years ago, we placed a bet on New Jersey when we invested in opening a sports bar at Monmouth Park without knowing when sports betting would be legalized. Today, we are proud to continue to double down on that commitment by partnering with the Devils and the arena.”
The devil is in the lounge
The deal gives William Hill permission to open a new lounge in the main concourse of the Prudential Center which is home to the Devils.
Fans can watch the game and other live games on more than 20 TVs, find the latest odds, and scout out the betting options for all sports.
The lounge is designed to act and feel like a sportsbook. With one exception, that is. A visitor can’t actually walk up to a kiosk or a window and place a bet.
The NHL is not comfortable with a full-service sportsbook being on-site at its venues. Bettors can, however, place bets on their mobile sports betting app. Asher even committed to having staff on hand to help bettors get the William Hill app, if necessary.
There is not a scheduled opening date for the soon-to-be William Hill-branded lounge at this time. Chances are, the company is working around the clock to make this happen sooner rather than later, though.
In addition to the lounge, odds with William Hill’s branding is now showing on the team’s scoreboard sitting high above the ice.
The lounge is not limiting its open hours to just Devils’ home games, either. It will be open and available for every activity in the Prudential Center.
Hugh Weber, president of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, the group that owns the Devils, spoke about the deal to ESPN.
“Our goal has always been to make Prudential Center the home of sports and entertainment in New Jersey, but ultimately our mission is to create the most dynamic fan experience in the industry today, and the William Hill Sports Lounge will play a part in amplifying fan experience here.”
The deal is not exclusive and allows the Devils to shop additional sponsorship opportunities with other casinos, sports books, and gaming companies.
Making a deal with the devil
The New Jersey Devil’s agreement with William Hill is the second NHL team deal with the London-based sportsbook in as many months.
Ahead of the NHL season opening puck drop, the Las Vegas Golden Knights entered into a sponsorship agreement with the company.
While exciting, it is not all that unexpected.
The American Gaming Association (AGA) commissioned a study with Nielsen Sports on the impact of legal US sports betting.
The study reports the NHL can expect around $216 million in additional revenue per year thanks to nascent industry. At the time the study was released, Weber told Bloomberg:
“We see sports betting as an additive to the experience for our fans. There’s a lot on the horizon.”
“A lot on the horizon,” is probably the understatement of the century.
This agreement is the second one of the week. The first deal being between the NFL‘s Baltimore Ravens and Horseshoe Casino Baltimore.
All four major sports leagues are in action. Granted, it is not for much longer, as the MLB is in the midst of its World Series.
As more deals make headlines, it is hard to imagine more teams not wanting in on the action and additional revenue. It is also hard to believe, a sportsbook, casino or other gaming company will not be ready and willing to sign on the dotted line.
The bottom line is to expect the pace of these announcements to pick up in the coming months.