When the New Jersey Devils choose the ice, fans will soon have the choice of seeing their game in addition to other live games out of a lounge area which appears and feels just like a sportsbook.
As part of being a team sponsor, sportsbook operator William Hill will get its name on a Prudential Center sofa where matches can be viewed on more than 20 screens with odds boards displaying the menu of gambling options across all sports.
Since the NHL is not comfortable with the venue being a real sportsbook where bets can be placed at windows and kiosks, William Hill US CEO Joe Asher told ESPN that company ambassadors will assist bettors in downloading William Hill’s betting app. The space has been converted and rebranded quickly, but there is currently no opening date.
Odds will be exhibited not only within the sports couch but also on the team’s 4-story scoreboard. The lounge will be available for every occasion in the place, including concerts. That’s a lot of exposure, as Billboard rated the venue 10th on earth on its own Arena Power List earlier this month.
“Our goal has always been to create Prudential Center the home of sports and entertainment in New Jersey, but ultimately our duty is to create the most lively fan experience in the market today, and the William Hill Sports Lounge will play a role in amplifying enthusiast adventure here,” said Hugh Weber, president of the Devils’ ownership group, Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment.
William Hill, which operates more sportsbooks than every other company in the country thanks to its 108 locations in Nevada, has been competitive in New Jersey since May, if the Supreme Court allowed states to make their own conclusions concerning sports betting after ruling that parts of the skilled and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 were unconstitutional.
The company became the first operator of a sportsbook at the state as it opened at Monmouth Park racetrack on June 14. But competition is fierce within the country, which can be projected to surpass Nevada in sport gambling handle and revenue.
Daily dream sites DraftKings and FanDuel, armed with a nutritious database, were among the first to launch programs on which lovers can bet so long as it was done within state lines. FanDuel followed with its very first sportsbook in the Meadowlands, on the grounds where the New York Jets and Giants play, which opened a month after William Hill’s racetrack location debuted.
“We are spending a considerable amount of advertising dollars in New Jersey,” Asher said. “It will be a very competitive and expensive landscape for the next few years. A think a lot of companies in the space feel the need to push hard at the state as a testing ground to prove they can be everywhere. In a sense, it is similar to the Iowa caucuses in politics.”
Even though New Jersey is one of five states that has legalized sports betting — combined with Nevada, Delaware, Mississippi and West Virginia — it’s the weakest state. In the first four months following sports betting was legalized, New Jersey earned $336.6 million in wagers, according to the nation’s Division of Gaming Enforcement.
“I said that, when fully mature, the New Jersey sports gambling market would double that of Nevada,” Asher said. “It’s early days, but I could see how even that is being conservative.”
William Hill is currently one of eight companies offering mobile gambling on devices within the nation.
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