Dialed In: Scientific Games Ready To Expand In NJ Online Sports Betting Market

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When it comes to NJ sports betting partners, Scientific Games connects with big-name operators.

The Las Vegas-based company currently powers the Caesars Sportsbook app. And just last month, word got out that Wynn Resorts plans on entering the booming Garden State market. Guess who they announced as a platform provider?

Yep, Scientific Games.

Details such as licensing and a land-based casino partner are still being worked out. But at least from the press release, we have a general idea that the Wynn platform will include iGaming and sports betting components.

The initial product launch is expected to take place in New Jersey.

Play NJ caught up Keith O’Loughlin, senior vice president of sportsbook and platforms for SG Digital, at last week’s Betting on Sports America conference in Secaucus, NJ.

And the Wynn deal was one of the many topics discussed. Wynn certainly fits the criteria of “being engaged with the biggest and best brands.”

“I think everybody in the US and around the world would look at Wynn’s brand and see it’s a brand that stands for excellence. It’s a brand that gives customers a great experience. That is what we as a business have focussed on. So we are excited to work with them.”

But will Wynn Resorts be able to make a dent in the crowded NJ mobile sports betting marketplace that currently stands at 13?

And which Atlantic City casino licensee will this new platform fall under?

Those answers are still to come.

Wynn could be one of several new additions to the expanding sportsbook market. And Scientific Games is making note of all that’s happening in NJ.

OpenSports + Scientific Games

Of course, the newest thing from the Scientific Games team is the OpenSports platform that launched last month.

But O’Loughlin explained while the product is new to the market, it signifies an “evolution in some respects.” But there are a lot of things that are “very new about it.” Call it a complete sports betting and gaming offering.

“What we’ve done at Scientific Games is we’ve spent probably the last 15 years assembling the best of … gaming and sports betting pieces. Some of the components we built from scratch. Some of the components we have bought.”

And those acquired pieces such as Don Best Sports and OpenBet are now part of the new platform.

“Our new platform takes all of those and brings it together as one,” said O’Loughlin. “So we can give an operator a full sports betting and gaming experience. Effectively just give us your logo and we can do everything else.”

Essentially, OpenSport is the package deal with betting technology, account management and wallet, trading, and engagement with customers via mobile apps.

Familiarity with NJ casino market

The number of NJ sports betting apps has more than doubled since the Caesars Sports & Casino app launched a sports betting component on Sept. 6 of last year.

And like Wynn, it’s another very recognizable brand. O’Loughlin notes the platform has all of the components of what OpenSports is. And it’s an extension of the previously existing partnership between the two companies.

“Caesars has been our customer on the gaming side of the business in New Jersey for a very long time, essentially since the start of gaming in New Jersey.”

When Caesars joined the NJ online sports betting market, there were only five other mobile sports betting platforms:

Come June 14, Monmouth Park and Borgata — the two places where the retail business launched — along with the other operators will be celebrating the one-year anniversary.

Looking back from a distance, O’Loughlin is liking what he is seeing so far.

“I think sports betting in New Jersey has been the focal point of all operators and regulators throughout the US. I think what you can see is there are a few things. The market leaders are ones that have great legacy and heritage in online marketing and engaging the players.  And that seems to be very successful.

“I think having a very strong retail proposition to complement sports betting online has been [very] successful. If you talk to all of the operators who come from a retail background they would say sports betting has brought a huge increase … at all of their properties.”

NJ mobile sports betting is where the action is

Like an NBA or NHL playoff game, there are always adjustments to the game plan as the process moves further along. Last year, for instance, the focus was on launching to get a piece of New Jersey’s NFL betting market.

But so much competition out there, simply having a mobile app is not enough.

It’s all about taking a strong product to the next level.

“I think as operators bring more features and customize and really bring their brand to bear on the proposition I think the market will change slightly,” said O’Loughlin. “I think omnichannel is a huge part of it. I think the real benefits of omnichannel haven’t been seen yet because it’s still at the early stage of the market.”

And Scientific Games remains plugged in across the board.

Omnichannel sportsbooks and the power of partnerships

This includes mobile sports betting that is consistently accounting for about 80 percent of New Jersey’s handle. Caesars Atlantic City does not have a retail sportsbook, nor have they announced any plans to add one.

Customers currently use The Book at the neighboring Bally’s Wild Wild West casino. But in reality, sports betting apps are the more popular route.

“Our experience in the rest of the world is casual bettors will use their mobile. … All of the growth in New Jersey has been great, really strong, casual long-term business,” O’Loughlin said.

“We’ve seen it in other parts of the world that 90 percent of sports betting is done on mobile. So going into the US to me was never going to be any different.”

It’s no wonder then that Scientific Games lined up another partnership with Wynn Resorts. Where that partnership will lead and when it will launch is still a work in progress. But bottom line, Sci Games is watching the market and ready to grow.

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Bill Gelman

About

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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