Upcoming NFL season spurs applications for NJ sports betting licenses

Less than two months after the Supreme Court ruled that states could legalize sports betting, New Jersey – the state that challenged Congress's ability to limit that option – is racing ahead. New Jersey already had the legislation in place before SCOTUS's May 14th ruling and almost immediately casinos started to submit their applications to operate sports betting online Vegas games in their venues.

Borgata casino in Atlantic City was the first casino to accept sports bets in New Jersey.  Now additional gambling companies are scrambling to take advantage of the big bets that occur once the NFL season starts in September.

In an interview with the Associated Press, David Rebuck, director of the state Division of Gaming Enforcement, said that his agency received two new applications from brick-and-mortar facilities, and three applications for online/mobile sports betting.

Rebuck said that “Everybody wants to be fully functional by the end of August. We’ll see.”

State regulators are rushing to consider the applications in time for the outlets to begin sports betting at the beginning of September, at the start of the football season. Applications that arrive later will still be considered, though they might not be activated before the start of the season. 

Operators

Golden Nugget executive vice president, Tom Pohlman said that the casino has applied for mobile and in-person sports betting. Caesars Entertainment has applied for permission to offer mobile sports betting in the name of its Harrah's, Bally's and Caesars casinos.

If their applications are accepted Golden Nugget and Caesars, as well as their affiliates, would join the Borgata and the Ocean Resort in offering sports betting. Two horse tracks, Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands, presently offer sports betting.

Rebuck says that there are 14 potential sports betting licensees. They include nine Atlantic City casinos, three racetracks (Freehold Raceway in Freehold, Monmouth Park in Oceanport and, the Meadowlands in East Rutherford) and two former track sites (the former Garden State Park site in Cherry Hill and Atlantic City Race Course in Mays Landing).

Moving Forward

Rebuck said that regulators will make every effort to approve the applications as soon as possible. “I fully expect that by August first we will see additional properties up and running,” he said. The casinos are understandable anxious. Sports betting took in $16.4 million at the Borgata and Ocean Resort and at Monmouth Park during the first two weeks that it was offered in June. 

Parnership for IGT and FanDuel

Daily Fantasy Sports is also a big winner in the new post-Christie vs. NCAA SCOTUS ruling. The fantasy games, which had, until the SCOTUS ruling been disallowed as a form of sports gambling, is now a feature in New Jersey and other states that offer legal sports betting.

IGT, the gaming designer, has partnered with FanDuel to power New Jersey sports betting at Meadowlands Racetrack. The partnership advances Paddy Power Betfair's plans to advance the FanDuel brand in the United States. Although the deal is presently only optional in New Jersey, it should soon spread to other states that have legalized sports betting.

The deal means that IGT will be FanDuel’s sports betting platform provider. FanDuel announced the partnership, writing "FanDuel will leverage Paddy Power Betfair’s leading pricing, trading and risk management capabilities, which have been integrated into the IGT platform, along with a bespoke user interface to offer a best-in-class consumer experience. The joint solution operates under the widely known FanDuel brand as FanDuel Sportsbook."

FanDuel CEO Matt King explained the rationale behind the partnership.  'We are delighted to choose IGT’s leading platform for our sports betting platform in New Jersey, starting with the recent ‘go live’ at the Meadowlands Racetrack,” King said. “When we evaluated sports betting platform provider partners in the U.S., IGT was the ideal choice, based on the Company’s proven history in the space and the quality, reliability and flexibility of the sports betting technology that it has deployed for customers around the world.” 

For its part, IGT will gain a foothold into New Jersey sports betting. IGT was able to get in on the ground floor of NJ sports betting and now operates the sportsbook at the Borgata, one of the first NJ casinos to offer sports betting.  

Enrico Dragon,  IGT Senior Vice President Interactive explained: “IGT’s sports betting technology combined with the expertise of FanDuel represents two experienced, complementary sports betting companies coming together to create a reliable, world-class sports betting experience in New Jersey. As sports betting in the U.S. continues to evolve, IGT is prepared to address the needs of its partners through proven solutions and technologies that can be deployed today to advance sports betting across land-based and mobile platforms.” 

Meadowlands

Meanwhile, Meadowlands opened a FanDuel sportsbook. The Meadowlands sports betting operation is the forth in New Jersey. Lines were long and many industry insiders came to observe. Their take on the action was that the prices were not competitive with Nevada sports betting or even with illegal offshore books.  After the first week, however, FanDuel’s prices adjusted back to reflect market norms.

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