William Hill Makes Deal With The Devils, Opening Branded Sports Betting Lounge At Arena

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New Jersey Devils hockey games at the Prudential Center in Newark will soon feature a bit more action, with a lounge on site offering a convenient way to bet on sports such as … well, the Devils game in front of them.

Of course, fans age 21 and older can already take part in sports betting on professional events — and many college ones — anywhere within New Jersey borders.

But in this case, per an announcement on Thursday, the William Hill Sports Lounge will provide a convenient place for gamblers to gather in the main concourse, with William Hill employees helping if there is any confusion about setting up their mobile app.

It’s a more direct relationship than, say, FanDuel Sportsbook has with the Giants and Jets. The sportsbook is located at the Meadowlands Racetrack grandstand, which is visible from MetLife Stadium. But there’s no official partnership between the teams and the sportsbook, and on game days, they don’t make it easy to get to the betting windows.

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William Hill US partnered up with Monmouth Park more than five years ago, correctly anticipating that the state eventually would prevail in its quixotic battle to get the U.S. Supreme Court to pave the way for sports betting in any state that desires it.

“One day sports betting will be legal in New Jersey. When it is, William Hill will be there,” William Hill US CEO Joe Asher said in May 2013.

Willliam Hill’s other Jersey plays

William Hill’s Ocean Resort sportsbook — that’s the former Revel casino site in Atlantic City — is considered state of the art. The British firm also has an expanded sportsbook on the grounds at Monmouth Park in the works for next year. And just today, Tropicana Casino AC went live with a William Hill branded book, with the present book being a mere placeholder for a planned 5,000 sq. foot, state-of-the-art, facility.

While William Hill only has the Las Vegas Golden Knights as a fellow NHL partner alongside the Devils so far, don’t be surprised if more teams fall in line in the coming months.

This effort is not out of character for the Devils, who in 2014 teamed up with PartyPoker not long after New Jersey legalized online casino gaming. That deal also included the Philadelphia 76ers, who are owned by the same group that owns the Devils and Prudential Center.

Devils fans will get a look at NHL odds on the arena’s giant scoreboard during intermissions; it will be interesting to see if the team also decides to post odds on other sporting events down the road. The deal means the lounge also will be open for all events at Pru Center — so a concert-goer less familiar with sports betting legalization in New Jersey gets exposed first to the William Hill option, out of more than a half-dozen online options already out there (though the Devils are expected to cut other deals with rivals at some point for presumably lesser visibility).

In-game branding, of course, is inevitable. As with the Golden Knights, the first change of shifts in a Devils game will be billed as the “William Hill Line Change.”

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John Brennan

John Brennan has covered NJ and NY sports business and gaming since 2002 and was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist in 2008, while reporting for The Bergen County Record.

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