NJ casinos and racetracks are at various stages of readiness for online sports betting
Legal Sports Report

Here’s Everything We Know About NJ Online Sports Betting As New Portion Of Law Kicks In

NJ online sports betting

Gov. Phil Murphy signed New Jersey sports betting into law on June 11, meaning we’ve reached the end of the 30-day waiting period for online and mobile wagering. Beginning this week, bettors could, in theory, legally place electronic bets anywhere inside the state.

Except, as of now, nobody appears ready to accept those bets.

Casinos are permitted to form as many as three online partnerships apiece — and several are in place — but they must have a physical sportsbook (at least under construction) first. Only three properties have sportsbooks at the moment. In addition, all potential partners must secure supplier licenses from the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement, which can be a time-consuming process.

It doesn’t appear anyone has met the full list of requirements yet, so let’s run through what we know so far. Some of the land-based intel might help frame the timeline for the first online/mobile bets.

Monmouth Park

Monmouth Park began making plans for sports betting way back in 2013, securing a partnership with William Hill.

Years later, that forward thinking allowed the property to open the state’s first sportsbook and print the first legal ticket. The governor was on site to christen the NJ sports gambling industry and bet on the World Cup.

The partnership figures to bode well for Monmouth Park’s endeavors in the digital realm. Based in the UK and with a US arm in place, William Hill is richly equipped with resources, and its US team already operates a Nevada sports betting app. There’s no reason to expect anything different in New Jersey.

Monmouth Park hasn’t revealed a date for internet/mobile betting yet, but the two parties likely won’t waste time. That’s especially true when you consider what’s happening up the road in East Rutherford.

Meadowlands Racetrack

If you could choose a spot to build an NJ sportsbook, you might pick Meadowlands Racetrack.

The property lives in the shadows of MetLife Stadium, home to the New York Giants and Jets. Owning a sportsbook near the border is enviable right now, as bills to legalize NY sports betting are dead until 2019. Expect fandom and geography to drive busloads of visiting traffic this year.

Like its competition in Oceanport, Meadowlands is putting together an ambitious plan for sports betting. It recently entered into a long-term partnership with Betfair US, the domestic arm of Paddy Power Betfair. If you’re counting, we’re up to two large European bookmakers with a foothold in the NJ marketplace.

In the meantime, PPB acquired daily fantasy sports brand FanDuel to serve as the face of its US products. The FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands Racetrack is scheduled to open this Saturday at 9:30 a.m.

Online and mobile betting likely won’t be ready on day one, but it shouldn’t be long. A former Betfair executive said the group would be taking remote wagers “by the start of NFL” this fall.

As with the retail operation, the online/mobile platform will be branded as a FanDuel Sportsbook.

Borgata

In the Marina District of Atlantic City, the beautiful Borgata has thrown open its betting windows.

Borgata is using its existing racebook as a temporary, hybrid space, but expansion is on the horizon. Back in December, MGM said the property would invest $7 million in a new standalone sportsbook. Timeline? Uncertain right now.

The same can be said regarding the timeline for online betting. Borgata is owned by MGM, which serves up mobile betting in Nevada through its playMGM app. PlayMGM is also available as an NJ online casino, so adding sports betting to the NJ app shouldn’t be terribly time-consuming.

A placeholder on the playMGM website says “it won’t be long” before it launches mobile betting in NJ.

Ocean Resort Casino

Down on the Boardwalk, the new Ocean Resort Casino is the other place you can wager right now.

When Bruce Deifik bought the property in January, he said he wanted it to be the “best in market” for sports gambling. Although the ORC is less than two weeks old, it looks like Deifik is working to make good on those plans.

The physical sportsbook is open for business in the center of the casino floor, occupying the large footprint of the former nightclub. It’s partially open, that is, but ongoing construction keeps us from knowing what the final space will look like. You can see a sneak peek here, though.

Sportsbook operations for ORC are also powered (and branded) by William Hill US. That leaves the property on the same online/mobile timeline as Monmouth Park — uncertain, but likely not far off.

Hard Rock Atlantic City

A name change and a renovation have turned the old Trump Taj Mahal into the beautiful new Hard Rock AC property just a few strides down the Boardwalk.

At the grand opening last month, Chairman Jim Allen confirmed Hard Rock would be in the business of sports betting. We also learned that company is subject to some additional restrictions due to its relationship with the NFL and the Miami Dolphins. Hard Rock will not be able to “set the bet” as Allen put it, needing a third party to manage the action.

Last week, a new partnership between HRAC and Bet365 surfaced in documents filed with the DGE. If you’re still keeping track, that’s three large European bookmakers with confirmed deals for NJ sports betting.

Bet365 is an enormous outfit based out of England, and Hard Rock will provide its entry point into the US market. You’ll see its mobile app hit the virtual shelves at the appointed time, whenever that time may come.

This deal doesn’t seem to solve anything for Hard Rock, though. Since bet365 is not a business-facing supplier, Allen and company still need someone to make their books and activate that partnership. Expect to hear more in a month or two.

Resorts Atlantic City

Resorts AC has multiple sports betting partnerships under its belt. One of them involves FanDuel’s primary DFS competitor, DraftKings.

Last month, rumors that DraftKings had found its launchpad for NJ sports betting began to stir. The prospective casino partner remained a mystery for a short while before Resorts confirmed it was the chosen one. It looks like the DraftKings Sportsbook deal is just a skin deal, though, detached from the physical sportsbook.

That’s unconfirmed, but it seems evident based on a follow-up partnership between Resorts and B2B heavyweight SBTech. This one leads us to believe that SBTech will supply both the brick-and-mortar bookmaking and an online/mobile platform for Resorts itself.

With the details coming together and the property still lacking a physical sportsbook, though, the timeline is as unclear you’d expect. Still, securing a top-tier supplier like SBTech seems shrewd as the Boardwalk begins to get a little crowded once again.

Golden Nugget

The Golden Nugget has a significant partnership in place, but once again, the implementation isn’t exactly clear yet.

In may, Churchill Downs announced partnerships with both the Nugget and SBTech, charting its course into New Jersey. Whether this is a turnkey partnership or just a skin deal (more likely) remains to be seen, and launch is not especially imminent — maybe early next year.

Golden Nugget operates live and virtual sportsbooks in Las Vegas, so it likely won’t need to hire a new supplier. It should be noted, though, that ties to the Houston Rockets will preclude the Nugget from taking bets on NBA games in Atlantic City.

Caesars and Tropicana

In case you missed it, nothing above provides any clear timeline for any online or mobile betting. And that’s coming out of partnerships that are already in place.

Caesars hasn’t said much about sports betting at Ballys, Harrah’s, or it’s eponymous casino on the Boardwalk — only that it plans to launch in August. It uses software from Miomni for its Nevada app.

Apart from Freehold Raceway, that leaves Tropicana as the only other property we haven’t mentioned. Its recent sale makes things cloudy for now. Penn National Gaming owns the building, Eldorado Resorts owns the gaming operations, and neither group has made public plans for sports betting.

As with nearly everything else on this list, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Eric Ramsey
- Eric is a reporter and writer covering poker, sports betting, and DFS. He comes from a poker background, formerly on staff at PokerNews and the World Poker Tour.