New York Jets Partner Online Gambling Operator 888, Face Backlash from Football Purists

Yet another NFL team joins forces with a casino operator as the league relaxes gambling advertising rules
The New York Jets have penned a sponsorship deal with online gambling operator 888 and football purists are not happy about it, news outlet the New York Post reported on Monday. The deal is set to be officially announced later this week, but 888 banners have already appeared outside MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the home stadium of the New York Jets.
Following the mid-May ruling of the US Supreme Court that struck down a federal ban on sports betting, the NFL reversed ahead of the new season a long-standing ban on casino advertising, allowing teams to partner with casino operators and advertise those in exchange for financial contributions.
However, the NFL rules still prohibit sports betting operations from being advertised by football teams. Aside from casino games, 888 also offers poker and sports betting services. Critics of the partnership between the Jets and the online gambling operator have argued that the fact that it offers wagering products crosses the line and violates NFL’s gambling advertising rules.
As mentioned earlier, the tie-up between the Jets and 888 has already manifested itself in the form of several orange banners displaying the 888.com logo outside MetLife Stadium. Sources familiar with the deal have told the New York Post that the banners do not violate league advertising rules as they do not specifically refer to 888sport, the gambling operator’s online sports betting operation.
However, critics have pointed out that the banners were “dangerously close to flouting the rules.” The deal is expected to be announced later this week, which means that more details about its scope are to emerge.
Normalization of Gambling through Ads
According to Keith Whyte, Executive Director of the National Council of Problem Gambling, advertising partnerships of this kind can have a big and lasting impact on young fans of football who go to the games. He told the New York Post that children and young people “will become much more inclined to see gambling as being part of the game.”
The four major sports leagues – MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL – were long opposed to sports gambling, arguing that the activity threatened the integrity of sports. However, the US Supreme Court ruled this past May against the leagues and annulled the long-standing federal sports betting ban. Since the ruling, league officials have softened their stance on the wagering issue and have been seeking a share of the proceeds generated from sports betting in the form of an integrity fee and advertising revenue, among other things.
The NFL decided to relax its advertising rules ahead of the new season, allowing teams to take advertising money from casinos. The Dallas Cowboys became the first team to align itself with a casino operator in early September, thus making history. It joined forces with Oklahoma-based WinStar World Casino.
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