NJ Gaming News: Atlantic City Poker Rooms Update; MLB Playoffs Loom

Posted By Bill Gelman on September 24, 2020 - Last Updated on October 18, 2020

The last full week of September is a time to ponder the future. Unfortunately, it doesn’t include predicting what date the COVID-19 problem will go away.

As far as New Jersey gaming news goes, pondering what could replace the former Trump Plaza after it’s imploded is something to think about.

And once the sale of Bally’s Atlantic City is complete, what will the new owners want for a retail sportsbook, if any?

On the NJ sports betting front, the Philadelphia Eagles desperately need a win. Will it come this week against the Cincinnati Bengals?

Plus, the 16-team Major League Baseball playoff field is just about set. The MLB futures market tells us the Los Angeles DodgersNew York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays are the top three teams on the board. Could one of the other teams pull off an upset?

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

The life and death of Trump Plaza

We know the former Trump Plaza is scheduled to be imploded on Jan. 29, 2021. Anybody who follows Atlantic City history knows the property located at Boardwalk Central had quite a roller-coaster ride.

There were the celebrity appearances by previous owner Donald Trump and ex-wife Marla Maples, along with NBA stars Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson.

On the flip side, the multiple bankruptcies are hard to ignore. But that’s all in the past.

The bigger question is, what will happen to the land once all the debris is cleared?

Like you, we have no idea. Anything from an esports arena to a mixed-use hotel/condo/dining complex is a possibility.

The more important question might be, how quickly will the current owner Carl Icahn sell the land?

In other words, there are still a lot of questions to answer.

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Is a PointsBet-branded sportsbook coming to AC?

The sale of Bally’s AC moved one step closer to reality last week. At the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority meeting, the board approved a request dividing the land lots that are impacted by the pending sale.

Caesars Entertainment is keeping the Wild Wild West casino floor and William Hill-branded sportsbookTwin River Worldwide Holdings will take over as owner of the main Bally’s building and its hotel towers.

After the sale and licensing process is completed, how quickly will the new owners of Bally’s get a retail sportsbook up and running? And which NJ sports betting company will they partner with to run the operation?

Expanding the current partnership with PointsBet makes the most sense. The companies already have an NJ online casino deal, but the Australian-based operator is internationally known for its sports wagering product.

Plus, PointsBet is establishing a retail presence in just about every US market it enters. It doesn’t have that in New Jersey … yet.

Additionally, this scenario presents a golden opportunity to tie in the NBC Sports/PointsBet partnership.

Atlantic City poker rooms still closed

We don’t know what day it’s going to be, but the five Atlantic City casino poker rooms will eventually reopen. Hopefully.

All of them closed on March 16 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. When properties started reopening in early July, poker rooms remained closed.

Same with August and September.

At the moment, the casino operators do not have any updates. Since the word “temporary” is still being used, there is a chance the poker rooms will start welcoming back players in the not-too-distant future.

So what are New Jersey poker players supposed to do between now and then?

Playing on any one of the seven NJ poker apps should fill the void.

Free-to-play presidential debate pool at DraftKings

There is no chance of legal presidential election betting happening anytime in the near future in NJ or elsewhere in the US.

However, DraftKings Sportsbook continues to find unique ways of working around the rules.

The latest example of this is a free-to-play $50,000 presidential debate pool. It’s a nationwide contest, and don’t worry if you’re not a fan of politics.

The pool consists of 10 questions, all of which are multiple choice. Seriously, what does Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s Corvette have to do with politics? Nothing. But it’s the topic of one of the questions.

Another question pertains to how the two candidates will greet each other when they take the stage.

The first of three presidential debates is taking place on Tuesday night. To win a share of the pool, just answer more of the questions correctly than anyone else. Entries must be submitted by 9 p.m. EST on Sept. 29.

As of Thursday morning, there were more than 22,000 contestants.

Eagles need a win against the Bengals

The Philadelphia Eagles are in desperate need of a win. They are hosting the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday at 1 p.m. Both teams are 0-2.

The Birds were a 4.5-point favorite at FanDuel sportsbook as of Thursday morning. The line opened at 6.5.

Even though the Eagles’ odds have dropped two points, is wagering on them a smart bet? Philadelphia is coming off back-to-back extremely poor showings against the Washington Football Team and Los Angeles Rams.

They have been outscored 64-36 for a -28 point differential. From an NFL betting perspective, Philadelphia is 0-2 on the moneyline and against the spread.

Cincinnati, on the other hand, is 0-2 on the moneyline, but 2-0 against the spread.

Luckily, all four NFC East teams are struggling, and there is still time to turn things around.

On the board at NJ sportsbooks

The abbreviated 60-game MLB regular season concludes on Sunday afternoon. A total of 16 teams (eight from the National League and eight from the American League) will move on to the postseason.

By the end of October, bettors will find out if their futures bets made back when spring training started will pay out. However, the league championship and World Series markets are still open.

So there is still an opportunity to place bets via your NJ sportsbook app of choice.

The Philadelphia Phillies, for instance, are +2000 to win the National League at DraftKings. The team enters Friday’s game against Tampa Bay with a 28-29 record. They’re a half-game behind the Miami Marlins as of this morning.

Here is a look at the National League futures from DraftKings as of 11 a.m. today:

  • Dodgers +130
  • Padres +500
  • Braves +550
  • Cubs +700
  • Cardinals +1600

Here is a look at the American League odds:

  • Yankees +280
  • Rays +300
  • White Sox +500
  • Athletics +500
  • Twins +550

So there is some stiff competition for the 2020 World Series crown. Will it be the Yankees, Dodgers or somebody else? The current odds from DraftKings show the race being extremely tight:

  • Dodgers +350
  • Yankees +600
  • Rays +650
  • Athletics/Padres +1000
  • Braves/Twins +1200
  • Cubs +1500
Photo by AP Photo/Nick Wass
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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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