In northern New Jersey, the New York Jets franchise of the National Football League (NFL) has reportedly raised the ire of critics after signing a sponsorship agreement with online casino and sportsbook operator 888 Holdings.
Banners appeared on Sunday:
According to a Monday report from the New York Post newspaper, the previous day had seen workers erect several three-story-high bright orange banners outside the team’s 82,500-seat MetLife Stadium home that featured advertisements for the online casino at 888.com.
NFL’s new stance on casino advertising:
The newspaper reported that the sponsorship deal and the subsequent appearance of the ‘gaudy displays’ were only made possible after the NFL reversed a long-standing ban on casino advertising earlier in the year. This purportedly followed May’s invalidation by the United States Supreme Court of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) although the gridiron league’s rules still forbid teams from advertising sportsbetting.
A difference of opinion:
The New York Post cited ‘sources close to the Jets’ as claiming that the advertisements do not break the NFL’s new rules because they do not specifically mention the operator’s 888sport sportsbetting brand. But, the newspaper declared that punters entering 888.com are first greeted by an image of an American football player being tackled alongside a link inviting them to wager on games before seeing links to online casino and poker games.
Executive Director for the National Council on Problem Gambling, Keith Whyte, to the New York Post…
“There are a lot of kids who go to games and this kind of marketing may have a big impact on them. They will become much more inclined to see gambling as being part of the game.”
Campaign ‘crosses the line’:
The New York Jets were playing away against the Chicago Bears when the banners for 888.com appeared on Sunday and are not scheduled to host a game at their MetLife Stadium, which sits next door to the Meadowlands Racetrack, until their November 11 AFC East match-up against the similarly under-performing Buffalo Bills. Whether the new ads break the NFL’s rules remains to be seen although the newspaper cited ‘one source familiar with the sponsorship deal’ as proclaiming that the campaign ‘crosses the line’.