Sports gambling may not yet be legal in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, but that does not mean that professional sports organizations are not taking advantage of the current state of the gaming industry in the US.
This week, the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils signed groundbreaking sponsorship deals with Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment. The online gaming group will promote Internet gambling to millions of sports fans through the new agreement put in place.
The Devils and 76ers are both owned by Josh Harris, and the franchises are considered to be among the bottom half in terms of value in their respective leagues. It is clear that the two organizations want to be pioneers in what is considered to be one of the most up and coming industry’s in the US.
«This is our flag in the ground that we do things differently,» said Scott O’Neill, CEO of the Devils, 76ers, and the Prudential Center where New Jersey plays its home games. «We’re looking for groundbreaking opportunities with companies willing to take chances.»
The Prudential Center is part of the deal. Advertisements for Bwin’s online gambling sites will be featured throughout the arena.
«These are two of the most iconic names in American hockey and basketball with huge and loyal fanbases throughout New Jersey and the surrounding metropolitan areas,» said Bwin CEO, Norbert Teufelberger.
New Jersey became just the third state in the US to regulate Internet gambling last year. The state has been licensing Atlantic City casinos for the past several months, and a few online sites have already launched. To date, over 150,000 online gambling accounts have been created by New Jersey residents, and analysts predict that is only the tip of the iceberg for Internet gaming.
Pennsylvania does not yet allow online gambling, making the 76ers partnership with Bwin somewhat of a risk. The two companies, however, believe that it is only a matter of time before online gambling spreads throughout the US, and they wanted to be ahead of the curve.
Foreign online gaming companies such as Bwin have begun to partner with AC casinos in the aftermath of law changes in New Jersey. The casinos needed companies familiar with regulation and operation of online casinos, and the foreign companies fit perfectly into that mold.