Resorts Casino Hotel is not the first to open a sportsbook in New Jersey. Or the first to do so in Atlantic City. It wasn’t even the first to do it Wednesday.
Yet none of that took away from the landmark moment when longtime casino patron Mike Sylvester put money on the New York Giants (at 40-1 odds) to win the Super Bowl — the first legal sports wager at the newest sportsbook in Atlantic City. A Resorts-branded online sportsbook, meanwhile, is expected next month.
“The sports lounge looks great,” Ed Andrewes, a consultant at Resorts who heads up the online casino and sportsbook, told PlayNJ.com. He noted that the Resorts Sports Book, as it is called, is only temporary as the permanent book is being constructed.
Still, Andrewes said, the area is “a cool, modern, more interactive zone. It’s translated very well into a sportsbook. Even though it’s a temporary solution, it’s got more of a permanent feel than a lot of the temporary solutions at some of the other properties.”
From iGaming lounge to sportsbook
Resorts president Mark Giannantonio performed the ceremonial ribbon cutting just after 11 a.m. Wednesday, officially opening the Resorts Sports Book to the ever-growing NJ sports betting market.
The temporary sportsbook replaced the casino’s old iGaming lounge, which, Andrewes said, “was an area that really educated our customer base on online gambling.”
Now the sportsbook serves as another educational tool, he said, as the era of legalized sports betting in the US continues to expand.
Andrewes said the permanent sportsbook will be located elsewhere on the property and is expected to be open “by the end of the year.” When that time comes, the temporary sportsbook, which will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. each day, will be converted back into the iGaming lounge.
“It’s very big for Resorts,” Andrewes said. “But it’s also big for all the casinos in Atlantic City, really, and for the US as a whole. I was in Europe and specifically the UK betting market. … This kind of makes total sense for the industry and the government and the regulators. Everyone knew (sports betting) was going on. Now it can be taxed and properly regulated.
“It’s great product offering for everything. In a well-regulated, free environment, you’re going to see the product develop very quickly and give the consumer a much better experience, having the protection and the type of product that will be delivered.”
An online sportsbook… or two
The oldest of the AC casinos, Resorts had long been preparing for Wednesday’s debut.
Andrewes said “the whole process started last year” as casino higher-ups waited on the US Supreme Court to decide the future of legalized sports betting in America.
“We were taking things as far as we could until PASPA was finally overturned by the Supreme Court,” Andrewes said. “Since that day we’ve really been working as fast as we could to get it up and running.”
After the high court repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in May, Resorts partnered with daily fantasy sports giant DraftKings to offer regulated wagering. A month later, Resorts teamed with SBTech to develop a “sportsbook solution across on-property, online and mobile channels.”
DraftKings Sportsbook launched its mobile sports betting app last week. Andrewes said “it was kind of always planned” that the DraftKings Sportsbook app would go live before Resorts. After all, he noted, the DFS powerhouse boasted an in-house technology team that was working on the product for some time.
Resorts, though, is planning on rolling out its online sportsbook, according to Andrewes, by the end of September.
“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.”
Golden Nugget goes live, too
Just over an hour before Giannantonio cut the ribbon at Resorts, Golden Nugget unveiled its temporary sportsbook across town.
Also wagering on the Giants to win the Super Bowl at 40-1 odds, Staten Island’s Neil Calise laid down $100 to christen what will be called The Sportsbook. The temporary spot is located in Golden Nugget’s old poker room, and the permanent sportsbook will be nearby and open by the end of the month.
The Golden Nugget sportsbook was open Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will be operational Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. After that, the book will have regular hours: 10 a.m.-midnight.
To commemorate the opening, the first 150 bettors at The Sportsbook were entered to win a share of $1,000. According to Golden Nugget, 20 winners would be selected after the 150th wager was placed.