Aside from a few scandals (see 1919 Chicago White Sox), there has always been a clear separation between American professional sports teams and gambling. Sure people love to gamble on sports in the United States. But as for a pro sports team aligning itself with a gambling entity, well, that’s usually been a clear no-no over legality/fear issues.
However, the unthinkable has happened after the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils signed a deal with bwin.party digital entertainment. Not surprisingly, these are the first two US sports teams to ink such a deal with an online gambling company.
As many poker players know, bwin.party runs the Party Poker site in the legalized and regulated New Jersey online gaming market. Seeing as how the New Jersey-based Party Poker has nothing to do with sports betting, neither the NBA nor NHL have a problem with this deal. So for the first time ever, we may see US professional sports teams promoting gambling sponsors on their uniforms and/or team merchandise.
As for the New Jersey online poker operation, business has been pretty good so far. Nearly 150,000 accounts have already been created, which is quite impressive when you consider that the Garden State has a population of roughly 8.6 million people.
Most Wall Street analysts believe that New Jersey internet poker will generate between $200 million and $300 million in its first year. This is far below the over-inflated predictions made by Governor Chris Christie, who said that he expected $1 billion in revenue by the summer. But it’s definitely a nice piece of the internet poker pie.
Given that New Jersey now has professional sports teams that’ll be advertising for them, their number of players only figures to boost revenue figures even more.