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Sixers-Devils boss not worried about poker deal

1-9-14

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The chief executive of the New Jersey Devils of the NHL and the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA doesn’t believe the professional teams will be cast in a bad light by agreeing to a multiyear sponsorship deal with one of the world’s leading online poker companies.

Scott O’Neil, who runs the teams and the Prudential Center for groups led by leverage buyout specialist Josh Harris, and Norbert Teufelberger, the chief executive of bwin.party digital entertainment that operates partypoker, announced the historic deal Thursday.

It’s the first between major U.S.-based professional teams and an online gambling company, but there were immediate questions about the relationship between sports and online gambling, which isn’t seen positively in all circles.

O’Neil realizes it’s new territory, and hopes the reward outweighs the risk.