Officials: Clock Is Ticking If Casinos Want Sportsbooks Approved By Football Season

NJ sports betting

Atlantic City casinos will have to submit their sports betting plans by the end of the day Monday if they want to open sportsbooks by football season.

According to the Associated Press, officials at the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement said they cannot guarantee approvals in time for the season on later submissions.

The warning extends to plans for online sportsbooks as well. The DGE informed the casinos about the deadline July 9.

Learning from past mistakes

DGE Director David Rebuck cited the need for adequate time to test and approve each sports betting plan.

“They’ve got to give us a reasonable amount of time to evaluate and test all this,” he said. He added that each approval would proceed one at a time, rather than as a group.

The more deliberate approval process is a result of lessons learned in 2013’s online gambling launch. Problems regarding geolocation and banking abounded during the flurry to get into the NJ online gambling space.

At the time, the DGE ended up approving five casinos at once, warts and all. Five years later, a wiser governing authority is unwilling to travel the same road.

Football revenue potential too large to ignore

As rushed as the casinos and sportsbook operators may feel about this deadline, they will likely bend over backward to get their applications in before the end of the day. The revenue potential for wagering on football games is simply too great to ignore.

Nevada’s revenue figures reveal the staggering potential that casinos will see for football wagering. Bettors wagered $291 million on football in January 2018 alone.

Estimates for betting on the Super Bowl range even higher. The level of wagering on this one game is likely greater than $5 billion.

The season officially begins Sept. 5 with a Thursday game between the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles. Full action follows on Sept. 8.

NJ sports betting is going OK so far

The deadline comes on the heels of the first revenue report for NJ sports betting. In June 2018, the three locations in the state managed to accept wagers in excess of $16.4 million.

Granted, that number came with only two days of Ocean Resort’s William Hill sportsbook. This month, the NJ sports betting revenue data will add 16 days of Meadowlands sports betting.

If anecdotes are any clue, the contribution from East Rutherford should be significant. The FanDuel Sportsbook at Meadowlands Racetrack was still going strong at 11 p.m. on its opening day:

For the remaining five locations, today’s deadline will serve to show who is prioritizing sports betting as part of its business portfolio and outlook. Frankly, if a property can’t submit something by now, it’s probably not that into the concept.

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Bart Shirley


Bart Shirley is a writer and poker player from Houston, Texas. When he's not teaching high school math and business, Bart writes about the NJ online casino industry and US online poker. He has a master's degree in business administration from Texas Christian University and a degree in English from Texas A&M.