NJ Gaming News: NBA Bounces Back In July; Atlantic City Casinos Remain Closed

Written By Bill Gelman on June 11, 2020

New Jersey residents are still wondering when Atlantic City casinos will reopen.

Tuesday is June 16. And it’s the three-month mark from when Gov. Phil Murphy mandated that the Garden State’s nine gambling halls close.

Atlantic City casinos are part of Phase 3 on the Road Back. During a press conference on June 9, Murphy briefly addressed the situation:

Spoiler: His comments do not include a specific date.

“We’re working like heck to get to casinos and indoor dining. We want to get there on both. I think you asked will casinos come before indoor dining? I don’t have a definitive answer, but if I were a betting man, no pun intended here, I would bet probably yes, but I hope both sooner than later.”

Nevertheless, casinos will be ready to go, including Resorts Atlantic City with its Play Safe, Work Safe plan.

On the upside, harness racing is live again at the Meadowlands Racetrack (sans fans).

Plus, the Philadelphia 76ers are going to Walt Disney World along with 21 other NBA teams when the season resumes next month.

Here are the latest headlines making New Jersey gambling news this week.

Resorts AC preparing for employees and customers

All nine Atlantic City casinos are working together on reopening plans.

While the final decision is Murphy’s to make, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) issued an update on the situation.

“The Division of Gaming Enforcement is working with the Casino Association of New Jersey, Atlantic Care Hospital and United 54 union as it finalizes a reopening plan for operational best practices by the nine casinos in Atlantic City. When finalized, the joint proposal will be submitted to senior leadership in the Administration for its review.”

Resorts is taking additional steps, with a reopening plan announced earlier this week.

It includes extra cleaning measures and operational changes. Here are some highlights:

  • UV-C sterilization technology will be installed on all escalators.
  • Mobile ultraviolet light technology (utilized in the nation’s top hospitals) will be used to clean and disinfect hotel rooms and public restrooms.
  • Every other slot machine will be available to play.
  • Hand sanitizer stations and hand wipes will be readily available throughout the property.
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Big night at the Big M: Horse racing returns to New Jersey

Without fans in attendance (at least for now), the Meadowlands Racetrack is halfway down the Road Back.

For now, just like NJ sports betting, all wagers must be placed using mobile apps. Betting on horses in NJ is available via 4NJBETS, powered by TVG.

As far as the first weekend back goes, it was a big win for the Big M, as it is affectionately called.

The racetrack reported a betting handle of $5.5 million over the two nights.

NBA returns in July: Are the 76ers a good bet?

After several weeks of waiting, the NBA finally revealed its restart plan.

And the rumors were confirmed: The league is relocating to Disney World. While not every franchise is advancing, the 76ers and Brooklyn Nets are making the trip.

However, is either franchise good enough to win the championship?

Bettors likely view both as long shots, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially for those willing to take chances on a big payout.

The Sixers are +2700 at FanDuel Sportsbook, while the Nets are +6000.

For comparison purposes, the Milwaukee Bucks lead the field at +240, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers at +270.

What is Twin River planning for Bally’s?

Twin River Worldwide Holdings is slated to become the new owner of Bally’s AC.

That will be after the sale with Caesars Entertainment goes through. More importantly, Twin River still needs the DGE’s approval for an interim casino license.

But there is a much bigger story. Once TRWH is cleared to own and operate the property, it will gain entry into the NJ online casino market. The NJ sports betting door is wide open, too.

There is the possibility of a Bally’s-branded sportsbook/casino app.

And since Caesars Atlantic City is maintaining ownership of The Book at Bally’s, a new retail sportsbook is needed.

Could a FanDuel-backed space be in the cards?

On the board at NJ sportsbooks: PGA Tour is back

The NJ sports wagering business is picking up this week thanks to the PGA Tour.

Call it the post-pandemic restart. Up first is the Charles Schwab Challenge, which gets underway today. And to tee things off, DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel are upping the props.

This includes the option of wagering on favorite Rory McIlroy turning in a top-10 finish.

But the bigger potential payout is picking him to win it all (+750 at DraftKings).

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Bill Gelman

Bill Gelman is a veteran sports writer based just outside of Philadelphia and not too far from the Jersey Shore. Bill spends time in Atlantic City writing about casino openings and expansions, special events and now NJ sports betting and online gambling.

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