William Hill Signs Sports Betting Deal with NHL

Bookmaker giant William Hill have signed a deal with the NHL to become a sports betting partner. This comes as a surprise to many, as – previously – the NHL (along with the NBA, the NFL, the MLB and the NCAA) were vigorously against the legalization of sports betting.
In fact, the NHL themselves put up multiple legal challenges to try and prevent sportsbooks becomming legalized, and they spent millions of dollars on lawsuits and legal teams, doing all they could to prevent the US’s court systems from legalizing it. However, once the Supreme Court made their ruling, there was nothing more they could do – bar accepting the result – and it looks as though, as part of that ‘acceptance’, they’ve started to look at how they can monetize from betting.
One of the ways in which the major sporting leagues have tried to cash-in, is by taking ‘integrity fees’ from sports betting operators. While no state yas yet written these integrity fees into law, it’s likely some will – so, already, the operator of the major sporting leagues will be benefiting, financially. (The NCAA is the only sports betting organization that doesn’t want anything to do with sports betting. As a result, they haven’t been asking for integrity fees. Whether their stance will change when they see the potential monetary worth of such an arrangement remains to be seen.)
The NHL has already entered into partnerships – and in November 2018, they entered into a partnership with MGM Resorts. MGM Resorts managed to become the NHL’s official gaming partner – and this was a move that allowed the casino to use the NHL’s logo on much of its advertising, as well as gaining exclusive access to much of the league data.
This data – unavailable to anyone else, at the time of writing – allows MGM Resorts to have access to a huge variety of data. For example, one of the devices which transmits data is placed in the actual puck during NHL games. Another source of data comes from sensors which are placed in the players’ shoulder pads. What’s the rationale behind all of this? Well, it allows MGM Resorts to have live, up-to-date information that they can then use when offering prices to punters – and it gives them a clear advantage over any other sporting operators. Of course, the NHL have expectations, and in return, MGM Resorts will aide the NHL in building and maintaining its integrity monitoring systems. These systems are designed to ensure fairness in betting – and will help to ensure players aren’t getting involved with match-fixing or anything like that.
Alongside the deal with MGM Resorts, the NHL also entered in a partnership with FanDuel. FanDuel are one of the biggest and most reputable sports betting providers in the USA, and Paddy Power – a leading bookmaker in the UK and Ireland – own a large share of FanDuel. Paddy Power are highly-experienced in running betting operations, so US players can enjoy relative comfort when betting with FanDuel that they’re in safe, good hands.
William Hill’s Partnership: What Does It Mean?
Now that the NHL has entered into an agreement with William Hill, many people are asking what this deal will entail. Well, under the terms of the deal, William Hill will be able to use the NHL’s logos in their advertising campaigns. In return, William Hill have agreed to pay a portion of their revenue to the NHL.
However, it should be stated that – at the time of writing – this is only a preliminary arrangement. The ‘finer details’ – basically, the legal jargon – has yet to be finalized, and both sides of the agreement may make changes in the near future before an agreement is finalized. However, the NHL are likely going to push for the partnership to go ahead as quickly as possible, given that William Hill are becoming a leading name in virtually every state where sports betting is now legal.
As sports betting continues to open up – legally – it’s likely we’ll see even more partnerships. This is important to the major sporting leagues, as it allows them to enjoy revenue from an industry they’d – otherwise – struggle to profit from.
Speaking about the partnerships in general, Luc Robitaille – the president of the Los Angeles Kings – said: “If teams profit, then everybody will profit. If you go by the numbers on the illegal part, it’s pretty significant. If that part ends up on the team side, I think it’s going help everyone.
“First of all, the [salary] cap will go up. Fans will be happy. Teams will spend more money on players. Players’ salaries will go up.”
Financial experts form Nielsen Sports have estimated that the NHL could earn as much as $216 million as a result of the legalization of sports betting – and a whopping $65 million of this would come directly through gambling-related advertising. Essentially, the NHL are set to earn millions of dollars, for simply allowing their logo to be used by betting operators like William Hill.
These profits will also have a trickle-down effect, with fans benefiting from things like loyalty programs, that allow them to earn free/discounted tickets to NHL events for betting regularly on events. This means it’s a ‘all sides win’ type of arrangement – and it will be interesting to see which direction this new partnerships trend takes in the future!