If you’re looking for 888sport in New Jersey, you won’t find it. Now, the online sports betting brand, which launched in September 2018, is a thing of the past.
As of Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021, 888sport is no longer taking bets. Bettors logging in to their 888sport accounts received a message that bettors could either withdraw their money or use it at 888casino or 888poker. The message also said that any open bets would be settled.
However, 888 Holdings is not closing its US operations. In fact, the opposite is true; the Gibraltar-based gambling company has made a game-changing partnership.
New Jersey players using 888casino and 888poker can rest assured, those brands are not going anywhere. At least, for now.
888sport Changing to Sports Illustrated Sportsbook
Back in June, 888 Holdings announced a deal licensing the famous Sports Illustrated name. Right now, the Sports Illustrated Sportsbook is only live in Colorado. So far, it’s unknown when the newly branded online sportsbook will go live in New Jersey.
However, launching in time for Super Bowl 56 would be a smart move. With March Madness coming on the heels of the Super Bowl, the rebranded online sportsbook could cash in on the biggest sports betting events of the year.
However, 888 Holdings is keeping its New Jersey launch a secret. Likely, the company doesn’t know, since its SI Sportsbook will be seen as a new product by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. It will need to go through the process of regulatory approval from scratch.
The director of business development at 888 Holdings, John Atkinson, simply said that as part of the strategic partnership with Sports Illustrated, they have shut down 888sport.com in New Jersey. Also, they are preparing the SI Sportsbook for launch in the state.
Atkinson also said that the Colorado launch in September was well received, with positive feedback from bettors across the state. He assured New Jersey bettors that the company was laser-focused on launching in New Jersey, as well as other states.
For now, New Jersey sports bettors who loved 888sports will simply have to stay tuned for the Sports Illustrated Sportsbook to go live.
Provisional Sports Betting License Granted in Virginia
While a New Jersey license is still in the works, 888 has been granted a provisional license in Virginia for the SI Sportsbook. The Sports Illustrated Sportsbook app is expected to launch in the state sometime in early 2022.
This makes Virginia the second state in which the new SI sportsbook app has gone live. The Virginia Lottery has licensed ten sportsbooks so far and has five more licenses up for grabs. FanDuel leads the market, with DraftKings coming in second and BetMGM taking third place.
The Virginia market only opened in January 2021, and by September, the state recorded $1.965 billion in legal sports wagers.
Rebranding as Sports Illustrated Makes Sense
New Jersey sports bettors can choose between 21 online sportsbooks currently available. That includes well-known names like DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars, and BetMGM. Needless to say, it’s a saturated market, and it pays to have brand name recognition.
Unlike 888, Sports Illustrated is a name that sports fans recognize. Sports Illustrated has been published for nearly 70 years, and its iconic swimsuit edition draws a wide audience. Everyone in the United States is familiar with the name Sports Illustrated.
As sports wagering is legalized across the country, more and more partnerships are being formed between sports media and sports betting companies. For example, there is Fox Sports and Fox Bet, and the deal between NBC Sports and PointsBet.
The deal between 888 Holdings and Authentic Brands Group, Sports Illustrated’s owner, gives 888 an exclusive license to the ports Illustrated brand for up to 20 years.
Currently, the SI.com website has a link to SI Sportsbook, showcasing the product to potential users. However, right now, only Coloradans can sign up for the app.
The print version of Sports Illustrated will also advertise the new sportsbook. This will give 888 Holdings another way to attract new users, and thus, increase its profits.
888sport Not the Only Sportsbook to Rebrand
Name changes and rebranding are nothing new to sports bettors. Since 2018, at least four well-known online sportsbooks have made the move.
- BetStars became Fox Bet
- William Hill became Caesars Sportsbook
- PlayMGM rebranded as BetMGM
- Sportsbetting.com changed to MaximBet
Now, 888sport rebranding as SI Sportsbook can be added to the list.
The US sports betting industry is going strong, and name recognition gives sportsbooks an edge over the competition. Don’t be surprised to see a few more rebrandings and name changes in the coming months and years.