The New Jersey Devils NHL team has been at the forefront of sports betting sponsorships since the activity became legal in May 2018. The team now has a William Hill Sports Lounge open in its Prudential Center following an opening ceremony.
The lounge, which occupies more than 1,200 sq ft in the center, will be accessible during all of the home games for the Devils, as well as during various other events that take place at the venue.
At the opening ceremony, among the notable attendees were the president of Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment, Hugh Weber, the US CEO of William Hill Joe Asher, and radio broadcaster Chico Resch.
An activation point
The main take-home point following the opening of the lounge is that it is not a sportsbook in itself. Instead, it is a point for activation for bettors in New Jersey that are looking to use the William Hill app in the region.
If you have an account with the New Jersey William Hill app, you can place sports bets using your mobile device if you are in the lounge. More than 30 LED screens display constantly updated odds and the coverage for the various sporting events that William Hill covers.
William Hill staff will be at the venue to help guests learn more about sports betting and to ensure that they know what they are doing. William Hill will also have its latest odds on the scoreboard display at the Prudential Center. As it is the largest scoreboard inside of an arena in the world at almost 9,600 ft, it is a prominent advertising platform for the betting company.
The New Jersey Devils also have deals with other sports betting operators. One of their other deals is with the former king of fantasy sports in the US, FanDuel, which is working with the Devils to offer a variety of different perks and prizes to their customers, such as VIP experiences. FanDuel will also have its logo on the centre ice in the Prudential Centre, which will be a major sports league first for a gambling company.
Caesers Entertainment is planning on building a similar lounge in the Prudential Centre for its own offering in New Jersey. The Devils certainly are happy to embrace sports betting as it expands in the state and further beyond.
Other sports betting lounges
While sports betting is only now getting going in the United States, other nations have been embracing sports betting lounges for some time.
The Premier League in England is perhaps the best example of this at work. The majority of the teams in the top two football divisions in England have betting sponsors and these companies are looking to maximize their reach as best as possible.
This includes having their logos on the players’ kits, billboards at the stadium, in the stadium name and through on-site betting lounges.
Some of the clubs that offer betting lounges include Chelsea, Liverpool, Everton and Tottenham Hotspur. The gambling operators usually provide betting booths, as well as kitting out the staff in branded uniforms and providing fans with coupons to place sports bets at the stadium.
The operators will also have hospitality suites and boxes throughout the stadium. Those who place successful bets at the stadium can collect their winnings at the relevant bookmaker shops in the UK or through their online accounts.
A few NFL teams already have fantasy sports lounges at their stadiums, including the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons and the San Francisco 49ers. It is only a matter of time before NFL teams in those states where sports betting is now legal begin to offer sports betting lounges, similar to that seen at the Prudential Center.
Many people are concerned about this prospect. They believe that it will further add to problem gambling, especially to younger people who regularly attend games at these stadiums. Everywhere they look they are inundated with gambling advertising. Betting lounges are likely to remain a hotly debated issue in the future.