The 100th NFL regular season opens on Thursday, Sept. 5, when the Green Bay Packers travel to Chicago to face the Bears. With less than a week to go, New Jersey sportsbooks are gearing up for a huge season of NFL football.
After all, while 2018 was the inaugural football betting season in the Garden State, most retail books were simply temporary spaces. It wasn’t until later in 2018 and early 2019 that the 10 sportsbooks upgraded to their permanent facilities. Borgata, for its part, created a whole new space next to the existing Race & Sports Book.
I’ve been reviewing every NJ retail sportsbook in advance of opening day. Today’s focus is Borgata’s Moneyline Bar & Book.
Initial impressions of the Moneyline Sportsbook at Borgata Atlantic City
Address: 1 Borgata Way, Atlantic City, NJ 08401
The Borgata property is still a relative newcomer to the Atlantic City landscape, opening in 2003. Now under full ownership by MGM, Borgata is one of three Atlantic City casinos located in the Marina District.
From a betting perspective, Borgata is unique as they are the only Atlantic City casino offering wagering on horse racing, with a fantastic 100-seat theatre for simulcast horse betting. With their existing horse racing infrastructure in place, it was no surprise that Borgata was the first Atlantic City casino to offer sports betting on-site at their property last summer.
Moneyline Bar & Book opened on June 29 and is located directly adjacent to the horse racing simulcast center (which still offers sports bets). With MGM as the parent company of Borgata, they know how to deliver first-class entertainment properties. At an estimated cost of $12 million, Moneyline is a striking space.
The book is large, with a total capacity of 444, so you’ll have plenty of space at the table or around the bar. The best way to describe the feel of the Moneyline is “ultra-high-end sports bar.”
It’s a large space (8,000 square feet, second only to Bally’s Atlantic City sportsbook) dominated by a visually striking 40-foot wide by 11.5-foot high LED video wall. There are 17 other TV screens, and they’re all large format and provide ample viewing options. There’s also space available for both a shuffleboard and foosball table if you need to kill some time before your football game kicks off.
In addition to the bar area that provides a wide selection of drinks and craft beers, there is also a food menu with plenty of appetizer and sandwich options.
However, I see some drawbacks to the Moneyline’s design.
For one, the lighting is kept low. While it’s great if you are watching a game, it’s a challenge when you’re reading a menu or scouring last-minute game info. But the major concern for me is what I call the “form and function” of the Moneyline. Its form, as noted, is top shelf. It does have some challenges as a functioning sportsbook.
Among the many great things about a sportsbook is the ability to drop in, make your bets, and find a seat to watch the game(s) whether it’s for 10 minutes or 2 hours. At Moneyline, one’s ability to have a seat is tied to a pre-existing reservation for a table or sofa.
If you snag an unreserved seat, it’s at a table and you likely will be asked what you would like to order to drink or eat. I guess being at a sportsbook to watch some games is not enough.
My point-of-view: There’s a feeling that you also need to step up on a food or beverage order. Point is, while there is seemingly plenty of room to do so, there aren’t any “unattached” seats at the Borgata sportsbook.
In terms of access to the Borgata, if you are not taking a jitney or a ride-share company to Moneyline, the self-parking fees are a veritable bargain at $5.
Moneyline has an “in-the-round” design with a large bar at the center of all of the action.
The 35-foot-long bar also has video gaming terminals, if you can’t get enough sports betting action. There are some great high-end touches with 10 high-top tables with self-charging stations and five lavish U-shaped sofa booths. There is also a VIP lounge area with additional seating.
Amenities at the Borgata Atlantic City sportsbook
There are six live teller terminals at Moneyline. As a point of clarification, at Borgata’s horse racing simulcast center (the Race & Sports Book) there are sports betting windows. But at Moneyline, it is sports betting only; no horse betting options.
RATING: 4 stars
Borgata currently has two self-service terminals available at Moneyline.
RATING: 3.5 stars
Minimum Sportsbook Bet Amount
The minimum wager at the live teller window is $5, which outside of the William Hill NJ properties, is the standard live teller minimum at AC sportsbooks. While some other locations have kiosks that offer lower betting minimums, that’s not an option here as the kiosks also have a $5 minimum.
RATING: 2.5 stars
The 35-foot high video wall is a dazzling display, with a definite “WOW” factor.
As mentioned, all of the other TV screens in the book are also in a large format, so it’s definitely a “quality over quantity” approach to the TV screen décor of the Moneyline.
This certainly works if a game you want to see is on one of the screens, but if you are looking for something other than Eagles, Jets, and Giants at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 8, there might be some challenges.
RATING: 5 stars
With a “fire marshal” maximum total capacity of 444, but by my estimate there are no more than 100 seats in the book.
As mentioned, there are no stand-alone seats available. The seats that do exist are at the bar or part of table seating and (in my opinion) inherently tied to a drink and/or food order. I would definitely add more seats to the venue.
RATING: 2.5 stars
The flip side of limited “unattached” seating is the availability of reserved tables.
While many sportsbooks offer limited to no reserved seating options (unless you are a VIP), Moneyline sportsbook at the Borgata allows tables to be booked in advance. Currently, Moneyline is offering several Fantasy Football draft party packages for a minimum of eight people starting at $59 per person.
RATING: 5 stars
As mentioned, there is an extensive food and drink menu at the Moneyline. This is certainly an upgrade from grabbing a slice of pizza or hot dog from the casino food court and schlepping it back to your table.
This is a definitive intersection of “Sports Bar” meets “Restaurant” meets “Sportsbook” menu. It’s higher-end and is higher-priced as one would expect. That’s not just a soft pretzel on the menu; it’s a “Giant Bavarian Pretzel accompanied with Stone Ground Mustard.”
RATING: 4.5 stars
Staffing/Customer Service Support
The Borgata sportsbook has a reasonable amount of betting staff at the teller windows. The majority of the Moneyline personnel buzzing about the book are hospitality and wait staff moving to and from servicing the tables.
On the day of my off-peak time visit, there were some daily line and future price sheets available. It was fine, but nothing remarkable.
RATING: 3.5 stars
Parking and Accessibility
Borgata is one of three casinos located in the marina. Atlantic City does offer a jitney shuttle service that is relatively cheap ($2) and can get you to the other Marina District casinos (Harrah’s, Golden Nugget) and all of the other Boardwalk spots.
If you aren’t riding the AC jitneys, the self-parking fees for Borgata are $5, which is a relative bargain compared to most other Atlantic City casinos.
RATING: 4.5 stars
Borgata has casino gaming action as well as restaurants, clubs, and a spa located on-site.
As is the case with Harrah’s and Golden Nugget, once you’re at Borgata, there are no other casino options within easy walking distance. But there are plenty of on-site activities here at the Borgata to keep you occupied.
RATING: 4 stars
My Borgata Sportsbook Football Bet
As part of every sportsbook visit, I am placing a football-related wager for the upcoming 2019 season.
Borgata has posted players futures for individual season leaders in both receiving and rushing yards. I made a future bet on Leveon Bell to play 2019 with something to prove after sitting out last year, currently priced at 14-1 to lead the NFL in rushing:
Overall Score: 3.9 stars
Moneyline sportsbook at Borgata is definitely worth checking out. It’s top-shelf décor, large TV screens and a large variety of drink and food options put it on the definitive short-list of AC sportsbooks to set up shop on a college football Saturday or NFL Sunday.
Moneyline feels like a restaurant first, albeit a restaurant that’s part of a sports bar, which also happens to have sportsbook on-site. If this is the experience you are looking for, then it’s an ideal spot.
It’s definitely not sportsbook “standard-fare” design that might include dozens of unencumbered seats and 50-plus TV screens. MGM has taken a different and unique approach with their $12M sportsbook investment at the Borgata. It just may not be for everyone’s appetite, but that’s OK.
If you want to get elbow-to-elbow with a boisterous crew, then head next door to the Borgata racing book and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to mix it up.