Sportsbook operator William Hill has become the first gaming company to partner with a sports team in New Jersey. The European sportsbook giant will join with the New Jersey Devils to create a “sports lounge” at the Prudential Center.
The sports lounge area will feature many trappings of a typical sportsbook. There will be several large televisions and an odds board to keep patrons informed about different wagering options.
There will not, however, be any kiosks or betting windows located at the arena. Patrons can make their bets through the William Hill app instead.
According to Press of AC, the new lounge will open outside Section 18 in the venue’s Main Concourse. The area will open for all Devils home games and nearly 200 events and concerts scheduled for the arena.
“We are thrilled to partner with the New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center,” said William Hill US CEO Joe Asher, in a statement. “Five years ago, we placed a bet on New Jersey when we invested in opening a sports bar at Monmouth Park without knowing when sports betting would be legalized. Today, we are proud to continue to double down on that commitment by partnering with the New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center.”
William Hill continues to expand its New Jersey profile
Asher’s comments refer to the company’s rather prescient decision to partner with Monmouth Park racetrack back in 2013. The company spent $5 million to rig the track’s former cafeteria as a sportsbook.
At the time, the decision looked overly optimistic, since PASPA was still firmly in place. However, William Hill’s patience resulted in the company becoming the first operator to accept a sports bet in New Jersey history.
Since then, William Hill has continued to find new partnerships in the Garden State. It helped the new Ocean Resort create what is perhaps the finest land-based sportsbook in New Jersey.
The company also added its third in-state partnership this week. Tropicana Atlantic City opened its sportsbook on Thursday, and William Hill is a strategic partner for both the property itself and its parent company, Eldorado Resorts.
William Hill is no stranger to the NHL
This deal is not William Hill’s first foray into the world of major league hockey. Last month, the company announced that it reached a multi-year partnership with the Vegas Golden Knights, the NHL’s franchise in Sin City.
That partnership seems to be a more garden-variety sponsorship arrangement. However, William Hill is clearly unafraid to reach out to sports teams. This willingness is surprising because of the historical hostility the leagues have towards sports betting.
Given MGM‘s arrangement with the NBA, strategic partnerships are certainly gaining traction as a way for leagues and books to team up, especially compared to the still-polarizing data rights and royalty fees.