With the NFL pre-season completing its first full slate of games over the past weekend, that means the start of the regular season is now one week closer to getting underway. And at the end of the month, college football kicks off.
Of the 10 land-based sportsbooks in the Garden State, each one now has a permanent space up and running. And each has a different atmosphere, style, layout, and amenities to entice a bettor.
Eight of the 10 sportsbooks are based in Atlantic City alone, and yes, these sportsbooks are prepping for the college and NFL betting action just like the 14 NJ sports betting apps. I will be reviewing each of the books layouts, features, and amenities. Today’s focus is the sportsbook at Golden Nugget.
Initial impressions of the Golden Nugget Sportsbook
Address: 600 Huron Avenue (Huron Avenue & Brigantine Boulevard), Atlantic City 08401
Golden Nugget has been a mainstay of the Atlantic City casino lineup since they opened their doors in 1985. Its sports betting location, aptly named “The Sportsbook,” opened just before the NFL season began last September. The space is small (fire marshal listed capacity of 173) but mighty, with an “Uber Fan Cave” feel about its layout and design.
The Sportsbook is easy to find, located just to the right of the main entry escalators. It has a single main entrance. The book is enclosed on two sides with one side partially separated by columns between the book and the adjacent Michael Patrick Brasserie restaurant.
There are 50+ TV screens that cover just about every square foot of available wall space. One can almost be overwhelmed (in a good way) by the TV viewing options. On the weekend afternoon of my visit, there were 10 different game options, led mostly by MLB but also included tennis, golf, soccer, and even horse racing coverage on TVG.
The seating options also have that “Fan Cave” feel ranging from 12 single theatre-style leather chairs (with power outlets!) to bar top tables with chairs and sofas that could each seat five to six NFL fans comfortably.
In terms of getting to the Golden Nugget, it’s one of the three casinos not located on the Atlantic City Boardwalk “Strip.”
You will need a car or rideshare service to get there, as it’s not in easy walking distance to any other casino. For those that drive, the good news is that Golden Nugget has a self-park garage and there is no parking charge.
Free parking is definitely a nice feature and you can save the $10-$20 that you might have spent on parking to invest in your five-team parlay once you hit The Sportsbook.
The “Fan Cave” theme dominates the layout and as mentioned, there is a hyper amount of TV screens for viewing all contained in one small room. The space can be a challenge, however, if you don’t have a seat as there is limited standing room area.
If you have to stand, you will feel like you are blocking someone’s sightline of the TVs.
The teller area is located in a corner, and it reminds me of the small DJ booth in a nightclub. There is enough space for three, maybe four tellers, but its close quarters behind the counter. For those waiting to place wagers, there isn’t room afforded for ropes or cordons to separate the lines, so it will get a bit hectic in the tight space to bet with the tellers.
Recognizing the limited number of live tellers and general space limitations, the Golden Nugget sportsbook has eight self-serve terminals inside as well as two located directly outside the book’s entrance.
Amenities at the Golden Nugget Atlantic City Sportsbook
There are four live teller terminals all located in one corner of the sportsbook. As mentioned, it’s a small space, and the space can get crowded.
RATING: 3.5 stars
Golden Nugget has eight self-serve terminals within the book, which does help to alleviate the bull rush lines to the live tellers. Also, they have two terminals just outside the entrance to the sportsbook, coincidentally and conveniently located next to an ATM.
RATING: 5 stars
Minimum Sportsbook Bet Amount
The minimum wager at the live tellers is $5, but for those wanting to make a lower denomination wager, the self-service terminals have a $1 minimum. The self-betting machines take cash with no need to be a Golden Nugget online sportsbook account holder or Golden Nugget VIP cardholder.
RATING: 4 stars
There are 50+ TV sets in The Sportsbook, with screens seemingly covering most of the available wall area.
In a small space, you’re never far from seeing the action. While there are several larger format screens, the size of the Golden Nugget book hinders the ability to show off a “giant” screen or large format video wall that other books have on display.
RATING: 4 stars
With a “fire marshal” total capacity of 173, we calculated about 100 seats. There are small chairs, large theatre chairs with in-seat power, sofas, and high top tables with chairs.
As I have seen 100-seat capacities in other larger sportsbook spaces, you’ll most likely be sitting elbow to elbow with other fellow bettors as you watch the finish of late afternoon NFL games and then roll into watching the Steelers and Patriots play the first Sunday Night game of the season at 8 p.m. on Sept. 8.
RATING: 3.5 stars
Seating at the Golden Nugget is “first-come, first-serve,” currently, with no available pre-reserved seating options.
There are drinks available during the busy peak times via table waiter/waitress service.
Food can be ordered (and it will be delivered) from Michael Patrick’s Brasserie located next door to the Golden Nugget sportsbook. The Brasserie features Breakfast All Day (feel free to try the scrapple or the “Trenton” sandwich) plus deli sandwiches and burgers. Other quick grab options at the Golden Nugget include Bill’s Burger Bar and the Bean and Bread.
All of the food purchased can be brought back into the sportsbook.
RATING: 3.5 stars
Staffing /Customer Service Support
The Sportsbook has a reasonable amount of staffing. While the number of live tellers are limited, there is other supervisory staff to assist with “how to bet” questions or guidance in using the self-service betting machines.
One element that is lacking are the racks of daily and future sheets for the day’s upcoming action. Perhaps this is due to space limitations, but looking for current odds requires the help of a live teller or searching through the self-service kiosk.
RATING: 3.0 stars
Parking and Accessibility
As mentioned earlier, self-parking at the Golden Nugget is free. And it’s a relatively short walk from the parking garage to the casino and sportsbook.
RATING: 5.0 stars
Golden Nugget has all of the traditional casino gaming action and restaurants/clubs located on-site.
The negative is that there are no other casinos or entertainment/restaurant venues in walking distance. While there are some very nice views overlooking the marina, there are no Atlantic Ocean views or Boardwalk sights in direct view.
RATING: 3.0 stars
My Football Bet at the Sportsbook at Golden Nugget AC
As part of every sportsbook visit, I am placing a football wager for the upcoming 2019 season.
The NFL futures wagers market is still speculative right now. I am taking a shot that the Philadelphia Eagles will have so many offensive weapons at Carson Wentz’s disposal this year, that there can be no way that he won’t be handed the NFL MVP, right?
Although I’m not thrilled with the 10-1 odds, I decided to jump in any way:
Overall Score: 3.8 stars
The Sportsbook at Golden Nugget packs a sizable punch above its relatively small size. It’s like visiting the sports den in your basement.
There are TV screens galore and some very cool seating options. Since the space is small, you will need to arrive early on a college football Saturday or an NFL Sunday to secure a seat as well as out-maneuvering your fellow sports bettor to get in line at the live teller booth.
But, overall, the Golden Nugget does a very credible job of making a new sportsbook location work in the flow of an existing casino space that is nearly 35 years old.
Golden Nugget sportsbook may not be the flashiest location in Atlantic City, but it’s definitely a great option to consider for betting/watching college and NFL football this late summer and fall.
Exterior photo courtesy Golden Nugget Atlantic City