The new Ocean Resort Casino opened this week, bringing the active Atlantic City casino count to nine. That’s down from an all-time high of 12, but it’s up from a low of seven as of yesterday. Hard Rock Atlantic City has also opened its doors to customers a few yards further down the Boardwalk.
Only two AC casinos have sportsbooks so far.
Borgata launched on the very first day of NJ sports betting two weeks ago. The gem of the Marina District is using its existing racebook as a hybrid space while it prepares something more permanent.
Ocean Resort is the other, and the first Boardwalk casino to open a sportsbook. It’s centrally located, powered by William Hill US, and a heck of a spot to watch (or wager on) a game.
First look at Ocean Casino Resort sportsbook
The first thing you should know is that the Ocean Resort sportsbook is not finished yet. So far, the bar and one betting window are the only parts that aren’t roped off.
Here’s what you’ll see if you enter the sportsbook from the Boardwalk side:
There’s your bar with eight TVs, and you can just see the betting window in the background. It’s a temporary window that will be removed once the space is finished.
That purple/yellow William Hill logo sticks out nicely, and there are “Bet sports here!” signs placed around the floor. The branding on the other side of the entryway is elegant, but it could use a splash of color for visibility.
Behind the curtains
The bar occupies one small end of the sportsbook, the side nearest the Boardwalk and the entryway. We’ll use cardinal directions and call it the southern end for the sake of simplicity.
Here’s a wider view, first looking south toward the bar, then looking north from it:
You can tell that the space used to be a nightclub when the property first opened years ago as Revel. That hardwood was a sunken, sweat-soaked dance floor.
William Hill US executive Michael Grodsky tells us that those naked upper areas will soon be filled with TV screens.
The curtains along the east and west sides keep us from seeing too much, but we did spot many large, semi-circular booths waiting to be installed. Grodsky says the betting windows and additional banks of TVs will be located on the side walls.
Ledge bars and stools overlook both flanks.
Sports betting planned from Day 1
It’s certainly no surprise to see Ocean Resort with ambitious sportsbook plans in progress. Here’s owner Bruce Deifik on the very day he announced his purchase in January:
“Atlantic City is coming back with a vengeance and with the groundwork for the legalization of sports betting, we foresee a great opportunity to bring a state-of-the-art sportsbook to a city which caters to a large and diverse sports market.”
His statement came months before the US Supreme Court decision that removed the federal hurdles to legal sports betting. The property confirmed the William Hill US partnership in May — 10 days after the ruling — securing a clear and robust path into the new market.
Those well-laid plans allowed Ocean Resort Atlantic City to open (part of) its sportsbook from Day 1.
Time will tell whether or not it can be the “best in market” book Deifik envisions. Both Borgata and, eventually, Hard Rock will likely have something to say about that. The latter expects to shed light on its sports betting plans within a month or two.
Actor and restauranteur Mark Wahlberg placed the ceremonial first bet at the Ocean on Thursday. Wahlberg put down $200 on the Patriots to win the Super Bowl at 6/1 odds.