William Hill, NHL Hope To Leverage Fan Engagement With New Sports Betting Deal

Written By J.R. Duren on April 3, 2019 - Last Updated on April 30, 2021

This past week, international sports betting operator William Hill Sportsbook announced big news.

According to a statement, William Hill US reached a deal with the NHL to become the league’s official sports betting partner.

“We are thrilled to become an official sports betting partner of the National Hockey League,” William Hill US CEO Joe Asher said. “Commissioner Bettman and his team at the NHL have been at the forefront of understanding the opportunities to engage fans through sports betting.”

The deal marks the third sports betting partnership for the NHL in the last year including a deal with MGM Resorts and FanDuel Sportsbook.

Partnership excites NHL, leverages fan interest

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the move reflects the league’s commitment to innovating the fan experience.

“Partnering with William Hill US, a leader in both the sportsbook and mobile betting marketplace, provides a tremendous opportunity to further fan engagement,” Bettman went on to say.

Referencing a recent report from Nielsen Sports, the press release noted hockey fans love to bet. As a result, they are more likely to wager on the NHL, NBA, NFL, and MLB.

The Nielsen report said the NHL can expect an additional $216 million in revenue as a result of legal sports betting. New Jersey sports betting, with its almost two dozen online and retail sportsbooks, is just one part of that addition.

NJ Devils, William Hill already know each other

While the NHL’s partnership with William Hill might be news, the sportsbook operator isn’t a newcomer to this type of partnership.

In fact, William Hill already joined forces with the NHL’s New Jersey Devils back in October. The new William Hill sports lounge opened outside Section 18 in the Prudential Center a few months later.

While you can’t make a bet via a physical machine while relaxing in the lounge, you can use the William Hill NJ sports betting app to place a bet.

In addition to the Devils, William Hill also has a partnership with fellow NHL franchise the Las Vegas Knights.

A long list of partnerships with leagues

But William Hill and the NHL aren’t the only entities partnering up across the gambling community. As far as the four major leagues go, each one has an official sports betting or casino partner (or two). They are as follows:

  • NHL: William Hill US, FanDuel, MGM Resorts
  • MLB: MGM Resorts
  • NBA: MGM Resorts, FanDuel, BetStars
  • NFL: Caesars (casino only)

Those partnerships are part of a growing northeast sector of sports betting relationships between operators, casinos, and teams.

For example, Caesars and FanDuel also have partnerships with the Devils. The Philadephia 76ers teamed up with Caesars. Additionally, the New York Jets signed with MGM Resorts and 888 Casino.

Fortunately for New Jersey bettors, there are no known conflicts of interest between NJ casino owners and NHL teams. Such a partnership would most likely result in a ban on betting on that league.

As per NJ sports betting regulations, any casino or sportsbook operator that holds ownership of a sports team is prohibited from offering bets on that team or league.

A good example is the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City. The casino’s owner is Tilman Fertitta. Fertitta also owns the Houston Rockets. As a result, the Golden Nugget can’t take bets on NBA games.

Golden Nugget aside, all NJ sportsbooks are open for NHL, MLB, NFL, and NBA bets.

William Hill a family name among NJ casinos

In New Jersey, however, William Hill holds a huge slice of the sports betting pie. The operator powers the land-based sportsbooks at Monmouth Park, Ocean Resort Casino, and Tropicana Atlantic City.

The operator’s facility at Ocean Resort is a symbol of the best sports betting has to offer. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Ed Barkowitz went as far as to say it was the most impressive sportsbook in the state.

As far as the everyday aspects of the partnership, we don’t know how the NHL will promote William Hill US other than via its partnership with the Devils.

However, it’s not outside the realm of possibility to see in-arena ads as well as TV and online ads featuring the two organizations.

The statement from William Hill offered the following insight:

“As an official sports betting partner of the NHL, William Hill will receive promotional media in relevant NHL markets and will leverage branding opportunities in connection with the League’s calendar of marquee events.”

Of course, all of this has to fall under each state’s rules for gambling and sports betting deals. But suffice it to say, William Hill has its ducks all lined up.

J.R. Duren Avatar
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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has been awarded the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism prize three times. A freelance writer and author covering the legal NJ online gambling industry, J.R.’s work has appeared in numerous publications, among them Barcelona Metropolitan, Snooth, the Villages Daily Sun, Our Amazing Norway, and Bespoke Post.

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