Sportsbook operator William Hill and the Vegas Golden Knights announced a multiyear partnership Tuesday that will include in-arena signage and updated league-wide odds displayed on the video board during intermissions at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The partnership is believed to be the first in North America between a bookmaker and an NHL franchise.
Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. SportsBusiness Daily first reported the deal.
“We are always looking for innovative ways to engage different segments of our fan base and provide a unique fan experience,” Golden Knights president Kerry Bubolz said in a release announcing the deal. “This partnership between a major professional team and a sports book operator is a historic, landmark agreement and we are delighted to be leading the way with William Hill in this space.”
The partnership between sports franchises and bookmakers could be the first of many as more states elect to offer legal sports betting. The NBA recently completed a deal with MGM Resorts, making the company the “official gaming partner of the NBA.”
“We could not be more excited to partner with the Golden Knights,” William Hill CEO Joe Asher said in the release. “William Hill is the leader in the U.S sports betting market and we are proud of the fact that this is the first sponsorship agreement between a sports book and an NHL team in the country.”
Asher said at a recent gaming conference that the U.S. branch of William Hill has been fielding frequent requests from sports franchises asking about partnerships.
In May, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, a federal statute that had restricted state-sponsored sports betting to primarily Nevada. Since the ruling, Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey and West Virginia have opened sportsbooks.
The NHL, along with other major U.S. professional leagues, has been an ardent opponent of sports betting, with commissioner Gary Bettman often expressing concerns about how legalized betting would impact the atmosphere in the arenas.
“While we know gambling is part of the industry in Las Vegas, we’re not going to make it all that easy for you to pick up a ticket, a gambling ticket, on your way into the arena,” Bettman said in June 2016, when awarding a franchise to Sin City. “We like the atmosphere in our 30 buildings, and we believe that T-Mobile Arena — we can maintain that atmosphere consistent with what the realities are here.”
Deputy commissioner Bill Daly, however, on Tuesday said the NHL has revised its policies to “allow clubs to partner with legal sports books in territories where sports betting is legal,” in lieu of the Supreme Court decision.
Nevada, along with New Jersey, offers mobile betting, and fans were able to place bets from inside T-Mobile Arena during the Knights’ inaugural season.