When then-New Jersey Gov. Brendan Byrne cut the grand opening ribbon at Resorts in May 1978, so began a rollercoaster of casino/resort openings, closings, re-openings, refurbishments up and down the Boardwalk.
Forty-one years later, Resorts is still going strong in the heart of Atlantic City, and they welcomed their newest amenity, the DraftKings Sportsbook, last November 2018.
DraftKings initially was focused on daily fantasy sports. But along with its cohort and challenger, FanDuel, it’s a relative newcomer to the legal sports betting game. Despite its relative newness, DraftKings has more than held its own on the mobile front versus established names such as William Hill, Caesars, and MGM.
And they also make a strong showing on the retail front in concert with Resorts.
I’ve been reviewing every NJ retail sportsbook in advance of the NFL regular season, and today I am looking closely at DraftKings Sportsbook at Resorts in Atlantic City.
Initial impressions of DraftKings Sportsbook at Resorts
Address: 1133 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Resorts is in the heart of Atlantic City’s “Boardwalk Strip.”
The new DraftKings location is easy to find, just inside the boardwalk entrance. Resorts offers all the casino action as well as amenities including a spa, Margaritaville bar, and numerous dining and club options.
Like most Atlantic City casinos, if you are not a hotel guest or a loyalty cardholder, you’ll be hit with a $20 charge for basic self-parking. Not ideal, but it’s the cost of “doing business” in AC.
While the DraftKings space feels small, it’s 5,000 square feet and has a total capacity of almost 400. The interior décor and color scheme are adorned in “DK colors” of black and green. The branding is subtle but on point with neon “kings crowns” located throughout the space.
Other than the opulent décor, the most striking aspect of the DraftKings space are the copious amounts of self-serve kiosks located at the entrance and adjacent to the sports bar.
All told, there are 18 self-serve terminals in the space, rivaling only FanDuel at the Meadowlands (wait, are these daily-fantasy-turned-sportsbook operators onto something?) for the number of kiosks at NJ sportsbooks.
The self-serve kiosks offset the live teller space, which is tucked into a corner. It’s a smallish space with capacity for up to five tellers.
While the reported size (5,000 square feet) and capacity (396) is large, the book feels much smaller and cozier. With low ceilings and smaller format video screens, it does have a similar “Fan Cave” feel comparable to, say, the Golden Nugget book.
Again, not a bad thing, as DK has done an outstanding job outfitting the space that they must work with.
The Resorts sportsbook has a rectangular shape in its main sportsbook viewing area with two offshoots: one leading to a bar and live teller area, the other in the back of the book that holds four VIP areas. The main viewing area features four main large screens that aren’t “giant” by any means but fit the space allotted.
Underneath the four large video displays are 10 smaller screens for game action. There is a large-format ceiling-hung ticker screen scrolling the latest scores and updates and an eye-catching digital odds and information wall located opposite the main bar.
DraftKings’ “fire marshal” capacity of 396 belies the fact that there is somewhat limited seating in the main sportsbook area. There are 40 theater seats anchoring the main viewing area with 15 more standard seats located behind on a tabletop rail. Unfortunately, there’s a bit of a design flaw in this main area as a support partition will obscure some of the screens for those that are sitting behind it.
Additionally, the bar area has about 15 more seats. That’s a total of 70 seats, not counting the space in the four VIP areas that can seat up to 48 more.
Amenities at DraftKings Sportsbook in Atlantic City
There are five live betting windows adjacent to the main bar.
While my visit was not at a “peak” time, one could visualize some crowd issues at busier times, with people wedged into the corner of the space.
RATING: 3.5 stars
DraftKings knocks it out of the park with 18 kiosks throughout their space. What’s even better is that the self-serve machines are open and accessible 24 hours a day. Well done, DK.
RATING: 5 stars
Minimum Sportsbook Bet Amount
The live teller minimum is $5, consistent with other non-William Hill NJ retail sportsbook locations. This higher “live-teller” minimum is offset by the user-friendly kiosks, which have a low $1 minimum.
RATING: 4 stars
One is not overwhelmed with screens in the Resorts book. The TV screens are serviceable, with no “wow” impact.
There are four large screens in the main viewing area and four more in the VIP area. All the other screens in the main viewing area and adjacent to the bar are a smaller format.
Not the best situation for watching NFL Sunday in action.
RATING: 3 stars
The “non-VIP” seating capacity is approximately 70. Yes, the 40 theatre-style seats in the main viewing area are outstanding; I just wish there were more.
The 15-seat back rail does come with power outlets (a nice touch). The VIP areas are listed to hold up to 12 people (12 would be the absolute max) and features plush leather sofas and low tables. It feels “VIP-ish,” as the four areas are consecutively adjoined (not private) with one large screen that can be set to whichever game you want to watch.
RATING: 3.5 stars
The day-to-day seating access is “first-come, first-serve,” with the VIP areas available to be booked in advance.
RATING: 4 stars
Like other AC sportsbook locations, the casino was built well before the opening of the retail sportsbook. While some other books have limited to no food options (i.e., leave the book to find the food court), DraftKings Sportsbook presents some solid options if you choose to never leave your seat or the sportsbook itself.
In addition to the large bar in the book, there are drinks available via table service and “Happy Hour” discounted drink pricing on Sunday-Thursday from 2-7 p.m.
The food menu is short, but solid featuring some traditional sports bar food including chicken wings, hot dogs and burgers but also some other unique offerings featuring chicken parm, quesadillas, and sushi rolls.
RATING: 4.5 stars
Staffing /Customer Service Support
On my off-peak visit, there were four DraftKings personnel on-site and all were customer focused to answer questions, explain bets, or instruct how to use the self-betting kiosks.
DK has also nailed the betting lines paper display. There is a large wall opposite the main bar that displays a myriad of lines and future screens. Beneath these screens is a seemingly endless row of paper sheets. Well done, DK!
RATING: 5 stars
Parking and Accessibility
Resorts Casino is in the heart of the Atlantic City Boardwalk. This prime location is reflected in the self-parking pricing of $20. Yecch!
RATING: 2 stars
As highlighted earlier, Resorts has a multitude of options under its roof as well for whatever “non-sports betting” frame of mind that you may happen to be in, there is something for everyone.
As mentioned, the location in the heart of the Boardwalk also makes it easy for you to journey up or down the boardwalk to find more entertainment options.
RATING: 4.5 stars
My DraftKings Sportsbook at Resorts football bet
As part of every sportsbook visit, I am placing a football-related wager for the upcoming 2019 season.
With its 18 kiosks adorned throughout the space, it was only fair that I made this bet at one of their terminals. In addition to the lower bet minimums of $1, the DraftKings kiosks are loaded with extra props and futures that you don’t see on display at the book.
After looking at some NFL potential bets around “NFL team to win the fewest games” and “NFL defensive rookie of the year,” I took a shot at “Last NFL team to be undefeated in the 2019-20 season.”
Good luck and go get ‘em, New Orleans Saints:
Overall Score: 3.9 stars
The Resorts sportsbook offers some amenities that aren’t currently available at most other Atlantic City sportsbooks. DraftKings scores solid marks in the areas of reserved seats, in-seat food-and-drink ordering, and an extraordinary number of available self-serve kiosks.
The knocks on DraftKings at Resorts, however, stem from its allotted space within the Resorts space. The TV screens are on the smaller side in relation to other books and the seating capacity is on the low side.
If given a free rein to design a space from scratch, one assumes that DraftKings would do things differently, but they must do the best with the space available.
So the positives do outweigh the negatives. Combined with a positive customer-service approach and commitment, it does put the DraftKings Sportsbook at Resorts on the “must-consider” list for a visit during the upcoming college and NFL seasons.