Online poker and real-life sports
Online poker now has a foothold in real-life sports.
PartyPoker.com, a website where players wager money in online poker games, had reached advertising deals with the NHL's New Jersey Devils and NBA's Philadelphia 76ers. Both teams are owned by Josh Harris.
The multiyear agreement with PartyPoker NJ, a division of Gibraltar-based Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment, reportedly is worth $10 million.
Bwin also has a deal with Borgata casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, but its deal with the Devils and 76ers is the first time that United States professional sports teams have partnered with an online gambling operator.
The deal involves radio and television advertising, as well as signs at teams' arenas and booths where the millions of NHL and NBA fans who attend games can get information about establishing an online poker account.
The 76ers and Devils' affiliation with an online betting site upset many sports traditionalists, as well as folks opposed to gambling in general. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, however, has no problem with the deal or betting on major league games. In a New York Times op-ed last November, Silver argued for the legalization and regulation of sports betting on professional, not college, athletic events.
In Europe, where gambling on sporting events is commonplace, Bwin has deals with many European sports teams, including soccer teams Real Madrid in Spain, FC Bayern Munich in Germany, Manchester United in the United Kingdom, Olympique de Marseille in France, Juventus in Italy and RSC Anderlecht in Belgium.