More Online Sportsbooks Set To Join The Sports Betting Race In New Jersey

Written By Joss Wood on August 23, 2018 - Last Updated on February 9, 2021

As of today, New Jersey has three mobile sports betting providers. DraftKings was the first to launch at the beginning of the month, and playMGM joined them with an Android app available on Aug. 22.

SugarHouse sportsbook launched its integrated online casino and sports betting site Aug. 23.

They won’t be the only options available to New Jersey bettors, and we have confirmation of that from the top man himself, David Rebuck, director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

In an interview with LegalSportsReport, Rebuck said:

“We’ve got a lot of mobile products in the lab now and we’re very anxious and optimistic that before the end of the month we’re going to have a few more out there in New Jersey.”

He wasn’t surprised that DraftKings was the first to launch. Their mobile sportsbook was developed in-house with the support of technology partner Kambi. Since the software was developed almost from scratch, the project didn’t have any legacy problems to deal with. Rebuck explained:

“You integrate piece A into piece B and you think it’s going to work and then all of a sudden piece C over here, on the other side of the house goes crazy. Why’d that happen? Technology is not as clean as people make it out to be.”

playMGM’s position is not too dissimilar. It has a sportsbook up and running in Nevada developed in partnership with IGT. To date, it’s IGT’s only mobile sportsbook, so again legacy software problems are thin on the ground and an early launch became more feasible.

PlaySugarhouse shows its sports betting ambitions

SugarHouse joined the NJ sports betting market with the first combined sportsbook and online casino in the US, let alone New Jersey.

SugarHouse online casino and sportsbook has a licensing agreement with New Jersey’s largest online casino business, Golden Nugget Casino.

Golden Nugget pulled in almost twice as much online casino revenue in July as its nearest competitor, but it has been beaten to the launch of a mobile sports betting app by its partner.

SugarHouse also has Kambi for a technology partner, and Kambi has delivered the same rapid development that played such a role in getting DraftKings out of the starting gate so soon. The combining of the online casino and sportsbook into one app makes it all the more impressive.

Sugarhouse is owned by Rush Street Interactive (RSI), which is also no stranger to getting into regulated markets early. In June this year, they announced that they would be the first US-based operator to offer nationally regulated sports betting in South America.

The NJ online casino and sportsbook may not be the biggest brand in the market, but Sugarhouse has big ambitions. Legalized sports betting could give them a chance to play with the big boys if they can pull off a strong performance in the Garden State.

But who will be next?

The main NJ online sports betting competitors who look like they are most likely to enter the market by the end of the month or shortly after are:

Caesars may not be slow this time

Caesars is definitely one of the big boys so its entry into the online sports betting market in NJ is inevitable. On the other hand, Caesars may take a more measured approach than some of its peers.

Like MGM, Caesars has a mobile sports betting app for its customers in Nevada. The app was launched in late 2017 after development by Mionmi, which was first licensed in Nevada in 2014.

Caesars wasn’t exactly an early mover in the Nevada market. Station Casinos was the first to offer mobile sports betting back in 2010 — hence the possibility that Caesars may move more slowly in New Jersey.

However, Caesars just signed a big deal with Scientific Games. This will see Scientific Games provide the technology for Caesars casino’s sports betting in New Jersey and Mississippi.

The press release made a point of mentioning mobile sports betting:

“Caesars Entertainment plans to quickly introduce mobile sports betting throughout New Jersey and on property in Mississippi on the Caesars Casino & Sports mobile app HERE. This will expand Caesars’ existing online poker and online casino offerings in New Jersey. Caesars plans to introduce the mobile application in additional states when and if it becomes legal and economically attractive for Caesars to do so.”

The link in the original text leads to a page announcing that “Sports wagering is coming to”

So, the owner of Harrah’s and Bally’s is definitely planning to launch a mobile sports betting app. Skeptics, and New Jersey has its fair share, will have noted the absence of the word “soon” from the Caesars advertising copy, but we think this is a case where Caesars will confound its critics and be ready to go sooner than expected.

FanDuel is fronting for Paddy Power Betfair

The odds of another daily fantasy sports (DFS) provider getting a headstart on the mobile sports betting competition are also pretty high. In the interview quoted above, Rebuck pointed out that transiting to regulated sports betting made perfect sense:

“Daily fantasy sports companies have a strong financial motive to get moving in this area because with the legalization of sports betting there’s an expectation that fantasy sports becomes a niche market.”

FanDuel Sportsbook got off to an incredibly quick start in New Jersey as the power behind the Meadowlands racetrack sportsbook, which opened to bettors on July 14. FanDuel Group is now owned by Paddy Power Betfair (PPB). It has a global online sports betting footprint and is keen to expand to the newly opening US markets.

In the guise of Betfair, the group has already been licensed for horse race betting and an online casino. In partnership with the Golden Nugget, Betfair NJ online casino is part of the biggest revenue generating casino partnership in New Jersey so an expansion to sports betting is inevitable.

The FanDuel brand has more name recognition than Betfair, so again it was the logical choice to be the leading PPB brand in the US.

Both of these front runners in the NJ online sports betting market won’t surprise many if they can launch mobile sports betting by the end of this month. But there are still more players getting ready to join the online sports betting market.

And Resorts is one of them.

Resorts hints at a self-branded online sportsbook

Just last week, in an interview, Resorts Casino in Atlantic City confirmed that it wasn’t going to let DraftKings Sportsbook have all the fun. DraftKings entered the market via the Resorts AC license. And Resorts opened its physical sportsbook just last week.

But the casino has every intention of launching its own NJ online sports betting site.

Ed Andrewes, a consultant at Resorts, said a Resorts-branded online sportsbook is forthcoming:

“That’s a big project for us,” he said. “But it’s an exciting one. We think sports (betting) was going to flourish both on the property, which offers a different and social experience, and mobile and online as well because that allows the consumer to bet and watch it at home or at the sports bar they use to quench.”

The timing, however, puts Resorts on the back end of the potential online sports betting sites to open next. Andrewes expected a launch date closer to the end of September.

There are likely other Atlantic City casinos, NJ racetracks, and sports betting companies that are getting all their ducks in a row to launch in the state.

New Jersey sports bettors can look forward to plenty of competition and a full slate of products to choose from by the end of the year. The brief period of DraftKings’ having a mobile sports betting monopoly is well and truly over.

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Joss Wood

Though Joss Wood's primary focus is on international regulated online gambling markets, he also follows the legal New Jersey online gambling industry and writes extensively about sports betting. Previously he worked as the editor of Poker Industry Pro, worked in business and finance, and played online poker professionally for seven years.

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