NJ Devils Expect $5 Million This Year in Sports Betting Deals

(Bloomberg) -- The New Jersey Devils foresee a $5 million advantage to playing in a state that has legalized sports betting.

The team, which plays its home games in Newark, expects to make about that much this season by partnering with local sports books and casinos, team President Hugh Weber said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. New Jersey is one of four states to legalize sports betting since the Supreme Court lifted a nationwide ban and is the only one with major professional teams.

That $5 million will come from a handful of different sponsorship deals with a variety of different operators, Weber said. “Being the only (NHL) team in New Jersey gives us a huge advantage,” he added.

Deals like these are just starting to come to professional leagues, which have traditionally avoided deals with sports books. The NBA in July signed made MGM Resorts International its first sports gambling partner, and last week the Dallas Cowboys accepted a sponsorship from WinStar World Casino and Resort. Sports betting is still illegal in Texas and in Oklahoma, where WinStar is based.

Weber’s comments show how quickly professional sports has warmed on the topic. When New Jersey tried to legalize sports betting in 2012, the NHL, along with the NFL, NBA, MLB and NCAA, sued the state, prompting the lawsuit that eventually landed at the Supreme Court. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has routinely downplayed the effect the new rules could have on the game, citing the small percentage of hockey bets typically seen in Las Vegas.

“We see sports betting as additive to the experience for our fans,” said Weber, who also runs the Prudential Center. “There’s a lot on the horizon.”

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