State records still show SugarHouse under the Golden Nugget license as of this afternoon. Some users report seeing a pop-up message on the SugarHouse site indicating the move to Monmouth Park, though.
NBA betting is not a possibility while SugarHouse works with Golden Nugget. Tilman Fertitta, the casino’s owner, also owns the Houston Rockets of the NBA. New Jersey sports betting regulations prohibit any operator who also owns a sports franchise from offering action on that sport.
SugarHouse off to a decent start in New Jersey
Golden Nugget’s only digital licensee posted more than $619,000 in sports betting revenue for the month. Combined with a few August days after launch, the year-to-date total for SugarHouse checks in at better than $722,000.
SugarHouse now moves onto a Monmouth Park license that includes William Hill‘s mobile skin as well. While the retail operation at Monmouth is past $6 million in revenue for the year, the digital side stands at just more than $70,000. (William Hill’s digital total is split with Ocean Resort in the monthly reports.)
Golden Nugget hopes for a change in the law
The partial ban on joint team/casino owners offering New Jersey sports betting actually represents an improvement from first drafts. New Jersey legislators originally included language in this year’s bill to ban such owners from offering any sports wagering.
Golden Nugget backed an effort to amend that part of the law, leading to the current statute. But Fertitta would greatly prefer to take NBA wagers on teams other than the Rockets.
That’s the setup Golden Nugget enjoys in Nevada, where only the Rockets come off the board. Nevada regulators do not separate college and pro basketball in revenue reports, but basketball betting drives the winter months after football ends.
The casino will push for that change in New Jersey sports betting law in the future. Golden Nugget issued a statement in June calling the total ban “unnecessary” and pledging to work toward a better solution.
But what if Golden Nugget merges with Caesars?
News on Tuesday of a potential merger between Fertitta and Caesars Entertainment raises more questions about NBA betting. Reuters reports that Fertitta made overtures to Caesars to explore a potential partnership.
Caesars, which operates Bally’s and Harrah’s in New Jersey, likely would tread carefully to avoid losing the ability to book NBA action. From a political perspective, the joint forces of Caesars and Golden Nugget also could strengthen Fertitta’s case for loosening the ownership law.