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Sports Betting

William Hill and New Jersey Devils Bring Sports Lounge to the Prudential Center

The partnership will give fans the chance to place bets from the comfort of the William Hill Sports Lounge, ushering in a new era of sports entertainment.

Adam White

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After PASPA was struck down by the Supreme Court earlier this summer, the state of New Jersey became the first state outside of Nevada to offer legalized sports betting.

Since then, the state has reaped the rewards. In September alone, NJ sports books took in a whopping $184 million in wagers during the month, up from about $95 million in total wagers in August.

It’s not only the state who is benefitting. Take for example the New Jersey Devils, who expect to bring in north of $5 million in sports betting related partnerships this year alone.

The Devils, who expressed that sentiment in September, are now one step closer to that goal after locking in a deal with William Hill US.

“William Hill wants to own New Jersey, this partnership was incredibly natural.” – Adam Davis, CRO of the New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center

The deal, which is the second deal in the NHL for William Hill US and first for a professional sports team in New Jersey, will see the parties create the “William Hill Sports Lounge”, a permanent in-arena activation that will feature multiple TVs and a full-service bar. While there will be no betting kiosks or windows, fans will be able to place bets on any games going on at that time through William Hill’s app. 

Like their deal with the Golden Knights, William Hill will also get a TV visible dasherboard, in-arena signage, updated league-wide odds displayed on the scoreboard during intermission, and recognition on the LED ribbon board of the “William Hill Line Change” the first New Jersey Devils’ line change each period.  

With both entities laying stake in the market early on in the process of the legalization of sports gambling, the partnership was only natural according to Adam Davis, the CRO of both the New Jersey Devils and the Prudential Center.

We’ve worked very hard to brand Prudential Center as the home of sports and entertainment in New Jersey. Now with the onset of sports betting, there is no better place to connect with passionate fans in the state of New Jersey than ‘The Rock;’ and no one knows that better than William Hill, who made a similar investment in New Jersey years ago – we share that foresight.”

SEE MORE: How the Golden Knights Landed Their Sportsbook Partnership With William Hill

Outside of the 41 regular season hockey games at the Prudential Center, the venue hosts a bevy of other entertainment options including concerts with some of the world’s biggest music superstars.

On a yearly basis, the venue will do 175-plus events and attract over one million fans and guests, a number that played into the partnership shaking out as it did according to Davis.

“From the beginning, William Hill’s team honed in on the sports lounge as the way they preferred to connect with the million-plus sports fans and guests that attend the over 175 events at Prudential Center each year.”

One can expect that as more states move towards legalizing sports betting, “sports lounges” will become the next big potential area in which to activate partners like a William Hill US.

Adam is the Founder and CEO of Front Office Sports. A University of Miami Alum, Adam has worked for opendorse, the Fiesta Bowl, and the University of Miami Athletic Department. He can be reached at adam@frntofficesport.com.

Sports Betting

Rovell’s Move to The Action Network Over 20 Years in the Making

In his new role, Rovell will find himself in an executive position for the first time in his career.

Adam White

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Rovell - Darren - Action Network - ESPN

You may love him, you may hate him, but there is no denying what Darren Rovell has been able to do for the sports business industry.

Not one to let trends or hot topics pass him by, Rovell’s move to The Action Network is part living out a passion and part wanting to get in on the action (no pun intended) as to what he believes is an area of the industry that will cause the most positive disruption for the foreseeable future.

“Living in New Jersey, you can’t ignore the impact of the sports betting industry. On the NJ Transit trains alone, I’ve seen three to four different book operators advertising. I’ve even had a chance to download up to eight apps on my phone which has given me a good peak into what this thing will look like at maturity.”

This isn’t the first time in which Rovell will turn his focus to sports betting content. While a sophomore at Northwestern in 1997, he saw piles of the Northwestern Chronicle, the weekly school newspaper, all over campus.

Sensing an opportunity to do something differently, he took over the sports section of the paper and turned it into a section devoted entirely to sports betting.

“No one read it (the Northwestern Chronicle) and my strategy was to change the sports section into only sports betting. Instead of other commentary, I put together a two-page spread of my picks of the week. While I was thinking more of a sports business at the time, I was very well aware of how popular sports gambling was and how it had the ability to draw people in.”

A look at his picks of the week section from his time at Northwestern. (Photo via Darren Rovell)

Like most people, leaving a good job at a company that likely isn’t going anywhere anytime soon can be tough.

For Rovell, making the move from ESPN was aided by the fact that the company’s leadership was willing to let him out of his deal, along with the fact that Chad Millman, his former boss at ESPN, had already made the move to the sports betting startup.

“Chad took the risk of going over before the repeal of PASPA and I know I wouldn’t have made the move if PASPA hadn’t been struck down by the Supreme Court. The executives who are there currently gave me faith in the product, plus with the Chernin Group being majority owners in the business and being known for best practices in the space, it was easier to believe in the company, which is key for anyone moving to a startup.”

Finding himself in an executive position for the first time, and having an equity stake in the company, Rovell will have a larger impact on the overall direction of the content being created.

The end goal? Become the number one editorial company in the business of sports betting and a very large company within the next two – five years.

Although a change of company, there won’t be much of a change from Rovell, who will still cover the sports business industry and put out content that gets people talking.

Some of that content will come from a collaboration with Big Cat, something that Rovell said will happen “sooner rather than later.”

“It will be relatively early. I will finally go on Pardon My Take.”

Going on Pardon My Take will likely be just the beginning, as Rovell pointed to the two potentially competing in a decathlon with all of the benefits going to a charity. 

“I think we will do some sort of decathlon. I think we could do a lot of PPV buys and incorporate some sort of live betting and live odds component to it. It would be insane, but I think we could even fill an entire normal track stadium with people to watch.”

Whatever your take may be on Rovell, he built a niche for himself, owned that niche, and is now benefiting from that, something not many people can do.

(*Edited: In a previous version, the it was said that the PPV event was on. The parties have confirmed with us that the event is still an idea and there is nothing set in stone from the PPV side of things.)

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Sports Betting

Why Dover Brought Sports Betting to NASCAR

Dover took advantage of the Supreme Court ruling to become the first speedway to have betting available on-site during a race weekend.

Kraig Doremus

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Dover International Speedway is aptly known as the “Monster Mile”. (Photo via Visit Delaware)

During its fall NASCAR tripleheader weekend on October 5-7, Dover International Speedway became the first NASCAR facility to offer sports betting, opening up a world of possibilities for the industry.

Full-scale sports betting, including auto racing wagers, was implemented at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, along with Delaware’s other casinos, on June 5, following a May Supreme Court ruling overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. Since 2009, Delaware had offered parlay betting on professional football only, but October marked the first race weekend that wagering on all sports was permitted.

“We knew that sports betting becoming legal would have a huge impact on the NASCAR races at the track,” said Gary Camp, the assistant vice president of marketing and communications at Dover. “For the track side of things, we saw it as a real opportunity to tout the addition of sports betting to our race fans who had never experienced it before but wanted the opportunity to wager.”

Just what could they wager on? Anything from the stage winner, to overall race winner or finishing position of their favorite driver.

“To wager on the stages, the outcome of the race, and even manufacturer winner is a unique opportunity for our fans,” Camp said. “We saw it as an opportunity to make the races even more exciting than they already are. A good percentage of our fans took advantage of the opportunity.”

On the Dover property, there are two publicly traded companies – Dover Motorsports Inc., which owns Dover International Speedway, and Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment, which operates Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. John Hensley, the general manager and senior director of horse racing and sports betting at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, knew just how important the recent Supreme Court ruling was for Dover.

WATCH: Inside Toyota’s Massive Daytona Activation

“In Delaware, there are three casinos, and we are all agents of the Delaware Lottery,” said Hensley. “Being an agent of the Delaware Lottery is what allows us to have the sports betting games. We sell sports betting tickets on whatever they allow us to sell.”

The speedway’s partnership with the Delaware Lottery allowed it to develop a unique display area during its October NASCAR weekend with a popup tent on speedway grounds to take bets. The track also pushed heavy social engagement, press releases, emails to fans and even a paid social media campaign to drum up interest and excitement.

Safe to say, it worked.

“At times there were 50-100 people in line making bets,” Hensley said. “We did not look at it as a revenue generator, but rather as a gaming company to have a presence and add that as addition and enhancement for the NASCAR fans. Now, they could bet at the track, not just the casino. It’s a great addition for the NASCAR fans to do and a way for us to help our sister company.”

Camp said the speedway kept NASCAR updated on its plans for promotions and activity around sports betting before the green flag dropped on weekend activities.

“We tried to be forthcoming with the folks at NASCAR in terms of our plans and the buzz in and around Delaware about the Supreme Court ruling,” Camp said. “For the track, it’s a point of differentiation that the fans can bet here on property, but not at any other track. I know some other facilities have it near the track, but not at it. We did our best to promote it, and it paid off.”

For the future, Hensley plans for more outlets to be available, while Camp said the track will have more time to promote it.

“From a gaming standpoint, we were conservative in our setup, but were pleasantly surprised at the reaction this year,” said Hensley. “We plan to have an additional machine and some more staff. I’m impressed with the knowledge of the race fan. The learning curve was smaller with this group of people when educating what spreads, props and over/under mean. They were knowledgeable.”

READ MORE: How NASCAR Stays Up to Speed in the Ever-Changing Digital Space

Camp said the addition of betting at the track just added more excitement to an already thrilling experience.

“We enjoyed it,” said Camp. “The buzz around the race track was incredible, and it provided another storyline for our weekend. Some fans bet on (race winner) Chase Elliott. It was fun to see them so excited and able to bet on the drivers and racing action.”

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Sports Betting

Why PointsBet Turned to Darrelle Revis to Bolster Marketing Efforts

You might remember Darrelle Revis as one of the best shutdown cornerbacks in NFL history. It appears he’s found a new initiative to dominate.

Bailey Knecht

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Darrelle Revis

With the recent legalization of sports betting in the U.S., sportsbook companies have already begun making waves in the American market. One of those bookmakers is PointsBet, which recently signed former NFL star Darrelle Revis to serve as the face of the U.S. branch of the Australia-based digital sportsbook.

“We wanted to feel the nuances of this market, especially in New Jersey and New York,” said Johnny Aitken, CEO of PointsBet USA. “Darrelle is widely known, and he’s one of the greatest New York Jets of all time. He has an eye for business. We wanted an advocate that didn’t just look like a phony ex-sports star.

“They had to have relevance. [Revis] will do videos about education on how to use the sites, how to bet, all in an authentic way, which is how he has handled himself throughout his career. He’s a savvy businessman.”

READ MORE: Inside the NFL’s New Partnership With ‘Fortnite’

Revis’s involvement will feature a video series called “The Revis Betting Academy” in which he provides an overview of basic bets. He will also be a part of a blog series called “Betting 101” and a weekly segment called “Darrelle’s Corner” where he provides NFL analysis and betting picks.

“We put an emphasis on education, how to bet and be safe; not betting more than you have,” Aitken stressed.

In addition to betting content, Revis will assist in educating users on how to use the PointsBet app.

According to Aitken, Revis is the perfect fit for PointsBet because the company is modern and exciting. The team offers a feature called PointsBetting — a point-of-difference style of betting that is high-risk, high-reward.

“It’s a very highly engaging, leveraged way of betting,” he said. “It’s like betting on steroids. It’s highly engaging and ego-driven. It’s not just about being right — it’s about being really, really right.”

That dedication to innovation allows PointsBet to stand out from other bookmakers, added Aitken.

“We use our own technology,” he said. “Competitors use other systems, which prevents them from being innovative, but we control our own destiny.”

READ MORE: Free Sports Prediction App GameOn Launches for the Casual Fan 

Revis joins NBA Hall of Famer Allen Iverson as another one of PointsBet’s big-name signings. In the past few months, Iverson has been featured in PointsBet marketing campaigns and will continue to serve as a brand ambassador, with a play on his NBA nickname, “The Answer.”

“He’s unique, for sure,” said Aitken of Iverson. “He has a lot of swagger, and he challenges the establishment, which is how his career was… Allen is a worldwide, household name.”

Bringing that fresh, fun perspective to sports betting has been PointsBet’s primary goal — and the efforts were certainly enhanced by bringing Revis aboard in such a large role.

“It’s really important,” Aitken said. “You go to a casino and go to the old sportsbooks, and they’re filled with male, 60-something-year-old gentlemen, in a dark, dimly lit corner of the floor. We need to bring it into the 21st century.”

With a contemporary feel on the website and the app, PointsBet has the power to make a statement in the quickly-growing U.S. sports betting industry.

“There are a lot of areas that we can outperform [competitors] — client experience, promotions, things of that nature,” he said. “We bring that fun, digital sense to this space.”

PointsBet, backed by its high-profile faces such as Revis, will officially launch its sportsbook in late November. 

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