Two more casinos are joining the New Jersey sports betting party. Bally’s Atlantic City and Harrah’s Atlantic City will both open their sports wagering facilities for customers this week.
The Press of Atlantic City reported this morning that Bally’s, or more specifically, its Wild Wild West casino, opened its sportsbook at 11 a.m. today (July 30). Harrah’s will open its facility in two days on Aug. 1.
— David Danzis (@ACPressDanzis) July 30, 2018
Both sportsbooks will be temporary facilities. Per New Jersey law, the casinos may operate via temporary facilities for nine months while constructing a permanent facility.
So, the new operations will more closely resemble kiosks. However, these locations are critical for both offering land-based sports betting and for applications to offer online sports betting.
Bally’s and Harrah’s are both Caesars casinos
The dual openings create questions about the logistics of the operations. Fortunately, Caesars Entertainment, the casinos’ parent company, already had an answer for that issue.
Today, the gaming giant announced that it had reached a deal with gaming technology provider Scientific Games. Scientific Games will facilitate both retail and online gaming at the properties with its OpenBet technology.
There is no specific timeframe for Caesars‘ launch of the online sports betting product. However, Scientific Games President and CEO Barry Cottle had this to say:
“We’re thrilled to partner with Caesars to help them bring best-in-class sports wagering experiences to their players. Our SG Digital team is excited to help Caesars stay ahead of the game, as they work to expand their sports betting, digital and mobile offerings into newly regulated markets.”
Scientific Games will also provide sports betting solutions for Caesars in Mississippi. Although the online potential in the Magnolia State is more limited, bettors could be able to wager on their devices while physically inside the casino.
Upcoming football season applying pressure
The rush to open a sportsbook in the US is no accident. Most states with legal sports betting are feeling the crunch because of football season.
The college football season will begin on Aug. 25, less than a month from now. The NFL season will start Sept. 5.
The revenue potential for those seasons is too great for casinos to ignore. Just in Nevada, bettors wagered $1.7 billion on football games in 2017.
That figure merely captures the legal betting that took place. Some estimates place the figure for bets placed illegally in the tens or hundreds of billions.
Even conservative estimates figure that legal sports betting will be a $6 billion business by 2023. For an industry that has struggled in recent years, particularly in New Jersey, the chance at a piece of that revenue is a no-brainer.
August 2018 will be a frenzied month for the gaming industry. Expect more mergers, partnerships, and joint ventures to proceed before that first snap of the pigskin.