Why A PointsBet Retail Sportsbook At Bally’s Makes A Lot Of Sense

Posted By Bill Gelman on September 18, 2020 - Last Updated on October 20, 2020

The Wild Wild West is one step closer to separating from Bally’s Atlantic City.

During this week’s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) meeting, the board approved a request dividing the land lots.

As part of the pending sale to Twin River Worldwide Holdings, the gaming floor will remain under Caesars Entertainment’s ownership, while the parking garage is being included in the sale.

This means the Rhode Island-based company will not be inheriting the William Hill-branded sportsbook located on the Wild Wild West casino floor. And Bally’s will be the only casino without a retail book.

So this has us wondering.

Once Twin River completes the regulatory and licensing process (expected to happen before 2020 comes to a close), how will the new Bally’s retail sports betting plans play out?

The future owner of Bally’s AC may not have the keys to the 40-year-old property yet, but Twin River clearly has big plans. Retail sportsbook plans, however, are still an unknown.

Instead of waiting for the big announcement, we are taking a hypothetical look at the possibility of a PointsBet Sportsbook at Bally’s.

Why? It all comes down to logic, necessity and marketing.

Twin River and PointsBet are already partners

In early August, a Twin River and PointsBet deal announced plans for a PointsBet NJ online casino. The partnership is an intriguing one.

For one, the company based out of Australia launched its PointsBet NJ sportsbook app back in December 2018 via a land-based partnership with the Meadowlands Racetrack.

The casino product, however, is totally new. It’s expected to launch in Michigan first, likely in 2020.

But clearly, PointsBet has built international brand recognition around sports betting. NBA Hall of Famer Allen Iverson continues to serve as the company pitchman. It’s a good way of capturing the attention of potential NJ sports betting customers.

More importantly, the other eight Atlantic City casinos have established retail operations, so teaming up with a big-name operator makes logical sense if Bally’s wants to attract attention.

Remember, Bally’s new owner is not getting the 15,228-square-foot sportsbook (AC’s largest) as part of the deal. Customers need a good reason to choose the new Bally’s over the connected Wild Wild West space.

PointsBet adding a land-based presence in NJ would be a smart business decision on its end. It would put the PointsBet name in lights.

While retail sports betting is not the breadwinner in New Jersey, it certainly is a nice perk for casinos and racetracks.

And New Jersey operators have the option of partnering with multiple license holders. William Hill is the perfect example. The company now runs five of NJ’s 10 retail sportsbooks, four of which are at Atlantic City casinos.

PointsBet does not have an NJ retail presence, but it should

Look at legal sports betting jurisdictions across the US. In the majority of them, PointsBet partnerships include plans to run online and retail operations. One such plan includes multiple PointsBet books in Chicago.

Here are the states in which PointsBet currently has these types of partnerships in place:

  • Colorado 
  • Illinois
  • Iowa 
  • Indiana 
  • Michigan

The product launches in Colorado and Michigan are targeted for later this year. But New Jersey is the market that reported $677.9 million in wagers.

And that is a US monthly legal sports betting record. Sure, 90% of the bets were placed using mobile apps, but the retail option does have some marketing value.

Sports bettors could take a liking to a PointsBet-operated space. While sitting at a PointsBet sportsbook at Bally’s, there is a good chance a customer will download the app and make that initial deposit. This is likely what happens in other such cases.

For instance, market leader FanDuel Sportsbook has a strong retail presence at the Meadowlands, but the bulk of the wagers come via online.

Same deal with the DraftKings Sportsbook at Resorts.

Time to build on the partnership with NBC Sports

Of course, we have yet to touch on the biggest reason why a PointsBet-Bally’s sports betting deal makes sense.

You may have heard the news about PointsBet becoming the official sports betting partner of NBC. There are hundreds of millions of dollars tied up in this multiyear deal.

NBC Sports is the network home to Sunday Night Football, the PGA Tour‘s US Open and the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Tie-ins to the marketing deal can be seen during Philadelphia Phillies broadcasts on NBC’s regional network.

However, this is just the tip of this deal’s potential. Opening an NBC Sports-themed sportsbook/restaurant/bar would really take this deal to new heights.

Plus, a sports bar-style retail operation is not as far-fetched as it sounds. The BetMGM Sportsbook at Borgata doubles as a restaurant and bar serving lunch and dinner.

Neither is an NBC Sports-themed restaurant. Fans who attend Philadelphia Eagles games (when permitted) take in some of the pre- and post-game action at the NBC Sports Arena.

The website uses the words “one-of-a-kind sports viewing experience.” A similar setup at Bally’s will likely do really well next to the array of options in AC.

So chalk this up as a win-win for all parties.

Bally’s (or whatever the property’s new name will be) would have a major year-round attraction. And the PointsBet name would get even bigger in the Garden State.

And NBC Sports, for its part, would reap more rewards from its PointsBet deal.

Photo by Peter Cade/Getty Images Stock
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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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