888 and New York Jets - NFL's First-Ever Partnership Involved with Online Gambling



Staff member
May 3, 2008
The first-ever sponsorship deal involved with online gambling was signed between New York Jets and 888 Holdings.

The deal represents the first deal ever signed between a National Football League team with an online gambling operator. So far, there were announcements about tie-ups with casinos by the Baltimore Ravens and the Dallas Cowboys following the removal of the longstanding gambling-related ban.

Details About the Deal

The deal between the NFL team New York Jets and UK-based online gambling operator 888 Holdings was reportedly announced this week. The deal states some limitations regarding the promotion of 888’s online sports betting site launched in September in New Jersey, 888Sports, and involves only the promotion of the 888.com brand, the online poker and casino site. Players of the New Jersey-licensed 888Sport site have the pleasure of accessing the sports betting page in just a few clicks. The site, who features the team’s logo, cites 888 as a proud sponsor of the New York Jets team.

As for the physical promotion, during the Jet’s game vs. the Chicago Bears, banners which were promoting 888 were noticed outside the Jet’s MetLife Stadium. The orange banners, three-story-high where people could see 888.com written on them were displayed outside the stadium, filled with fans. These banners, according to the Jets, do not violate NFL policy, since the name of the sports betting product is not written on them, 888Sport, but instead, the 888.com is displayed.

Although the fruits of the deal were already publically displayed, the formal and official announcement is yet to be provided by either party. This deal represents the first in the history of NFL that has tied online gambling and sports, which was hinted by the NFL at the beginning of season 2018-2019.

Similar Partnerships Throughout the US

After the Supreme Court ruled in favor of New Jersey regarding sports betting, many teams of the four major leagues started announcing partnerships with land-based casinos. Baltimore Ravens made their partnership with Horseshoe Casino Baltimore public earlier this month, as did the Dallas Cowboys, who partnered with WinStar World Casino.

The NHL announced a betting partnership with MGM Resorts, months after the NBA made their gambling partnership with MGM. And finally, you have the New Jersey Devils which announced a sports betting lounge opening with William Hill at the Prudential Center.

Although, as you can see, many major sports leagues have already made a bunch of partnership deals with land-based casinos, New York Jets are the pioneers in partnering with an online casino operator. None of the teams have ever made a deal with an online gambling platform and none of these deals involved direct sports betting. It is fairly obvious that many other will soon follow their steps.

If the mega-popular Jets could do it, maybe Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots, and the New York Giants will as well. New Jersey already has 8 online sportsbooks going but more are yet to come. New York could get them going in 2019, and Pennsylvania even sooner. Rhode Island’s sportsbooks are expected to go live next month. With that in mind, this deal also represents the beginning of many more sponsorship deals to come. This will hardly be the first and the last time that a casino and an NFL team strike a deal in the foreseeable future.

Negative Comments Following the News for the Deal

The Executive Director of National Council on Problem Gambling, Keith Whyte expressed his concerns about this deal, saying that this kind of marketing could have a huge impact on young boys and even kids who come to the games. He says that the kids would start seeing gambling as part of the game due to the ads and will become much more inclined to gamble themselves in the future.

In addition, although it was reported that the Jets do not believe the banners during the Sunday's game violate any NFL policy, people believe that the 888.com is dangerously, seriously close to flouting the NFL rules. As you open the 888.com site, you will notice that the sports betting page is just clicks away. Technically, maybe the Jets are right, but logically, anyone with the purpose of sports betting in mind could easily find and access the 888Sport page.

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