The National Football League (NFL) is not happy about the new partnership between the New York Jets and 888 Holdings. There are concerns that this partnership violates the NFL’s rules on gambling sponsors.
The Supreme Court struck down the federal law prohibiting sports betting in May. Since then, sports teams have moved to capitalize on this new potential revenue source. Teams can sell advertising space, uniform sponsors, and other resources to gambling companies.
The Dallas Cowboys were the first NFL team to do so when they made a deal with Oklahoma’s WinStar World Casino and Resort. The Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets soon followed suit.
Why might this be a violation?
There are concerns about the Jets’ partnership with 888 Holdings and how it is affected by the league’s rules about gambling sponsorships. While the door is open to teams accepting casino sponsors, they are not allowed to be associated with sportsbooks.
In the ads that the New York Jets are doing with 888 so far, there has been zero mention of sports betting, which is why the team believes it is on the right side of the rules. However, the NFL could cancel this sponsorship deal if they decide that it violates those rules.
888 Holdings has several different platforms under its umbrella, including platforms for casino, poker, and sports offerings. They are looking to expand into the United States to take advantage of newly legalized sports betting opportunities.
They had a good year in 2018, and they are looking to build on these results going into 2019. The company will already have gotten a significant amount of exposure thanks to their relationship with the New York Jets.
Other sponsorship deals
The team is also in partnership with MGM Resorts. This makes the Jets the first team in the league with multiple gambling sponsors.
As part of their deal with MGM Resorts, the Jets have a game known as “I Called It” in which fans can predict the scores of future games involving the Jets. PlayMGM is the sponsor of this app. This partnership does fit into the rules of the NFL.
Because the Jets’ stadium is in New Jersey, the team can offer sports betting. They have a facility at their MetLife Stadium to do so, and they see significant results. As part of the deal with MGM Resort, there are signs in the stadium and studios, as well as having different media content with Jets players.
While the Jets believe everything is above board with the 888 sponsorship deal, the NFL will have the final say. Traditionally, the league has been conservative in these matters. Therefore, it would not come as a surprise if it makes an example of the Jets in this regard.
Concerns with gambling sponsorships
Many sports teams and events rely on money from gambling sponsors to continue their operations. In English football, for example, most teams in the Premier League and Championship have kit sponsors that are gambling companies.
There are calls for this practice to be curtailed because it helps to create problem gamblers, particularly among young people. As those of all ages watch sports, they are being exposed to these gambling calls to action.
Football fans see television ads, sponsored television content, stadium naming rights for gambling companies, kit sponsors, and billboard advertising for gambling companies. This subconsciously seeps into the brains of people, particularly youths. It normalizes gambling and makes it appear as if it is an acceptable daily activity.
Around the world, there has been a crackdown on this sort of advertising. In Italy, for example, the new coalition government has levied a total ban on gambling advertising and sponsorships. Teams have until summer 2019 to find alternative sponsors.
Many teams will struggle to do so and will fall into financial trouble. There is also a new ban on gambling ads coming into place in the United Kingdom. No ads will be allowed to be shown during games. While this is a small step in the right direction, many believe it will lead to additional curtailments.