NFL becomes associated with an online gambling operator for the first time in history, following the sponsorship deal between the New York Jets and the UK-lined online gambling operator 888 Holdings.
Although there have been partnership deals between casinos and major league teams before, New York Jets is the first team to sign a deal with an online gambling platform.
Major League Teams and Casinos So Far
Following the removal of the ban for sports betting in New Jersey, members of the four major leagues started making partnerships with well-established brick-and-mortar casinos. The NBA started a gambling partnership with MGM, and the NHL agreed on a betting partnership with them.
Dallas Cowboys partnered with WinStar World Casino, while Baltimore Ravens made a deal with Horseshoe Casino Baltimore just earlier this month. In New Jersey, locally, a partnership between New Jersey Devils and William Hill was announced, along with the information that a sports betting lounge is about to open at the Prudential Center.
However, although the leagues have managed to strike a deal with land-based casinos, the first ones who did actually make a deal with an online gambling operator were New York Jets. The deal includes 888 promoting their online poker and casino website and not promoting their sports betting site since that is against the NFL rules.
This partnership might as well be proclaimed as the beginning of a new era, where other major league teams will follow the Jets and start partnering with online casinos in the near future. That is if the Jets manage to go through with this partnership since there were some very negative comments that arouse suspicion.
During the Sunday’s game between the Jets and the Chicago Bears, fans could see banners with 888.com written on them hanging outside the MetLife Stadium. Many are now concerned with what kind of influence these banners can have on the younger audience, including Keith Whyte, the Executive Director of the National Council on Problem Gambling. Whyte says that these banners will make kids begin to see gambling as part of the game and this will have a big impact on them. He believes that they will become more inclined to start gambling in the future.
The Jets, in their defense, say that the banners did not violate the NFL policy, since the mention of the sports betting page, 888Sports, is not present, but instead, the brand 888.com is embroidered on the banners. And although technically they’re right, many consider the 888.com to be dangerously close to violating the rules, since the page 888Sports is just a few clicks away on the very same 888.com site.