From New Jersey to Arkansas to New Mexico, legal sports betting is expanding across the US.
Legal sports betting is creating a lot of opportunities, such as the previously unthinkable partnerships professional sports leagues and franchises are inking with licensed sportsbooks.
Many of the partnerships between teams and sportsbooks amount to little more than marketing deals. The focal points being signage, cross-promotion of brands, and in some cases, a branded lounge or kiosk at the arena.
These kiosks and lounges are far and away the most interesting aspect of the deals.
And since they’re a new phenomenon, there is no shortage of questions when it comes to these first-of-their-kind sports betting lounges and kiosks.
- What’s exactly are lounges and kiosks?
- What services and/or products can they offer?
- Will access be limited for minors?
- Where will they be located inside the arena?
In this column, we will do our best to shed some light on what you can expect at NJ sports betting lounges and kiosks.
What is a sports betting kiosk?
A sports betting kiosk can best be described as an information booth.
What kiosks can and can’t offer
Kiosks will be branded booths located somewhere on the concourse. They will be manned by one or more employees, who will answer questions and educate any passersby about their product.
If regulations allow it (more on that in a moment), the employees might be allowed to help register online sports betting accounts or even hand out branded swag and promotional offers.
History says they will. A previous, similar deal between PartyPoker NJ and the New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Prudential Center included kiosks at the arenas. These kiosks were used to register customers.
What is a sports betting lounge?
A sports betting lounge is more or less a sports bar or restaurant. It’s not a sportsbook.
These in-stadium sports betting lounges will prominently feature the associated sportsbook’s branding and sports betting themes, but placing or cashing out bets isn’t on the menu.
What you likely can and can’t do at sports betting lounges
Sports betting lounges outside of licensed gaming establishments won’t be allowed to offer amenities or services that would facilitate betting. In order to facilitate a sports wager, the lounge would need to procure a gambling license from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, and there’s simply no way that is in the cards.
As such, minors are unlikely to be denied entry.
That doesn’t mean you can’t place sports bets while in the lounge.
As they could at an Olive Garden or a local pub, anyone with a registered online account can place wagers through their own mobile device.
What’s important to note is, the lounge cannot offer tablets or any other device that could be used to place wagers by patrons. Not only would that constitute the lounge facilitating wagering, but it would also turn the establishment into a de facto internet café, which is very illegal in New Jersey.
What we still don’t know
As I said in the opening, the long and short of it is, sports betting lounges and kiosks outside of licensed gaming facilities in New Jersey are simply bars and information stands that will act as a marketing tool.
Precisely how far these marketing efforts can be taken is still unclear.
- Can employees of the lounge solicit new customers with special offers and promotional codes?
- Can the employees personally walk customers through the online registration process?
- Can employees let customers use “house” mobile devices to register and/or fund an account — but not to place wagers?
- Can the lounge display a stream of the affiliated sportsbooks lines odds on screens?
And you can be certain some lounge and kiosk operators will push the envelope wherever they feel they can.