New Jersey is one of the most established sports betting markets in the US, and operator 888 has been a key player in the state pretty much since day one. So, it’s understandable that the operator pulling its sportsbook from the state has led to plenty of questions.
Below, we take a closer look at why 888 might have made its Garden State exit, and what it means for other European and online-only brands targeting the wider US market.
What’s the News With 888 in New Jersey?
In December, 888 announced that players in the Garden State would no longer be able to use 888sport to wager on events. The company partnered with Authentic Brands Group (ABG) in 2019, which has since purchased Sports Illustrated (SI), and this could be the reason why.
It is possible that 888 has pulled its own-brand sportsbook so that it can launch a Sports Illustrated sportsbook instead. This won’t be the first state in which 888 has done this; a sports betting site with SI branding went live in Colorado in September 2021.
Will Big Media Brands Dominate the US Sports Betting Market?
The US sports betting scene is still relatively young, and we can already tell that it has several differences when compared to Europe’s more established market. One of the most significant is the success being enjoyed by branded online sportsbooks such as Maxim Bet and The Score.
Another well-known media company that has launched a US sportsbook is Barstool Sports. In 2020, the site partnered with Penn Nationa and since then has launched a sports betting site and app in several US states including Pennsylvania and Indiana.
What Does This Mean for Online-Only and European Betting Brands Looking to Expand in the US?
As an online-only sportsbook, or a foreign brand trying to make ground in the US market, this trend could be seen as either a blessing or a curse. On one hand, it makes things significantly more difficult for European operators looking to go live with their own brands.
On the other, these sportsbook-media company partnerships make for a dynamic duo with US bettors seemingly keen to wager with the brands they know and trust. Of course, these media giants lack proprietary sports betting platforms and tech and this is where European companies can fit in.
Is 888 the first of many?
Over time, 888 might not be the only operator to pull its own sportsbook brand from a state in favor of launching a sportsbook branded to a media partner. With a limited number of skins up for grabs in states such as New Jersey, operators can only run those brands with the highest chance of success.
Savvy operators will look at how their own brands are performing and if a media partner brand has the potential to perform to a higher level, they will swap them out. While 888 is the first to do this, they will not be the last.