The William Hill name stands prominently in the New Jersey sports betting landscape.
William Hill is associated with three of the 10 retail sportsbooks in NJ. First, with the opening of its location at Monmouth Park and then on to the sportsbook at Ocean Casino Resort and Tropicana in Atlantic City.
When the 2019 NFL season opened Sept. 5 with the Green Bay Packers in Chicago to face the Bears, William Hill NJ was firing on all cylinders.
I’ve been reviewing every NJ retail sportsbook in advance of the NFL regular season kickoff. Today, I’m digging deeper into William Hill Sportsbook at Tropicana in Atlantic City.
Initial impressions of William Hill Sportsbook at Tropicana
Address: 2831 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Tropicana is one of the venerable Atlantic City casinos, opening back in 1981. Eldorado Resorts is now the parent company, having purchased it from Carl Icahn in October 2018. William Hill Sportsbook opened at the Tropicana in March.
The Tropicana is located in the heart of Atlantic City’s Boardwalk. Getting into the sportsbook first requires navigating the Tropicana property to find a parking space.
My phone’s GPS wanted to direct me to an open surface lot adjacent to Tropicana, which isn’t an ideal option. If you are a first-time visitor here, you need to have a parking plan. There are three separate lanes: one to valet parking and two to self-parking garages.
The Tropicana is a large casino property, which includes amenities such as a restaurant and retail shopping district and four swimming pools. Furthermore, the sportsbook is reasonably easy to find, located between a casino bar and Chickie’s and Pete’s.
While the Tropicana sportsbook isn’t as large as Bally’s or Borgata, it’s large enough at 5,000 square feet and has a max occupancy of 270 people, with seating for 180. The accommodations are comfortable with many options ranging from lounge chairs, sofas, tabletops as well as an elevated VIP area.
It’s a favorable mix of functional and high-end seating.
The book’s scale also affords the space for a sizeable LED-wall display, which is divvied up into four large screens and eight smaller-format screens. Overall, there are nearly 200 linear feet of the video display with the ability to show up to 16 games at one time.
Not every sportsbook offers this, but the Tropicana pumps the audio feed of one of the selected games into its surround-sound system. This contributes to the overall positive ambiance of the experience.
I mentioned earlier of my confusion around parking locations and the multitude of parking options. Once you find a garage, the self-parking rates are “event dependent” and can be adjusted (meaning, higher) during designated “peak” times.
The everyday self-parking fees are $15 on weekdays and $20 on weekends, which is not cheap.
William Hill at Tropicana is laid out in a square shape, with teller’s windows and odds information boards on one side and two sides featuring large-format TV screens.
Please note that the odds board is one of the largest I’ve seen, measuring 250 feet, according to Tropicana. This feature is nice, as other books tend to downplay the lines, placing it in less prominent locations in the book or on much smaller screens.
Amenities at the Tropicana William Hill Sportsbook
There are eight betting windows, including one high-limit window, which are all located under the massive odds display board.
Rope lines are in place to create order during busy times. There is ample room between each teller window, and it’s spacious and comfortable.
Rating: 5 stars
There are two self-service kiosks at Tropicana’s William Hill. This element consistently underwhelms at William Hill’s three NJ retail sportsbook locations.
Since the sites have plenty of space, why not add more self-service machines?
Rating: 3.5 stars
Minimum sportsbook bet amount
Consistent with other William Hill NJ retail sportsbook locations, the minimum bet is $2 at the live teller windows and the self-service kiosks, the lowest live teller in NJ.
Rating: 5 stars
The focal point of the Tropicana sportsbook is a giant LED wall that houses four large TV screens and eight smaller ones.
Coupled with the surround-sound, this is attractive. However, if you are not seated or standing front and center in the book, you will have a limited or partially obstructed view of these large-format screens.
Rating: 4 stars
William Hill has the capacity for 180 seats, one of the largest in Atlantic City. There’s a nice assortment of seating shapes and sizes with something for everyone.
Rating: 4.5 stars
The day-to-day seating access is first come, first serve. There is the option to reserve seats or tables in advance via a phone call or email to Tropicana’s manager of private events.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Food and drink availability
At peak times, there is table service for drinks in the sportsbook area.
A significant drawback is that I had to leave the book to go to an adjacent bar or the Chickie’s and Pete’s location (Chickie’s and Pete’s is the larger of the two bars). This eatery is not a “grab ‘n go” format that you might expect to see at other Chickie’s locations. Also, to drink options at the bar, there is the Chickie’s and Pete’s food menu.
Unfortunately, you will miss some game action while you wait for your order of crab fries. However, you can bring your order back to your seat at the sportsbook.
There’s also a pizza option that requires an escalator ride downstairs to the small food court area. Its self-serve process is less than ideal.
Rating: 3 stars
Staffing and customer service support
Another positive the William Hill NJ retail books have is that they are all well-staffed, from tellers to customer service reps and even the security presence.
It is no problem finding someone to assist if there is a problem or issue.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Parking and accessibility
The Tropicana is located in the heart of the Boardwalk Strip.
This somewhat prime location is also reflected in its self-parking pricing, which is $15 on weekdays and $20 on weekends. It is perhaps higher if there is an event or circumstance that warrants the cost. Pricey stuff.
Rating: 2 stars
Tropicana has a multitude of options under its roof for that non-sports betting mood you may be experiencing.
From indoor/outdoor pools to a spa facility/shopping district or perhaps a stop at Starbucks or Hooters, there is something for everyone.
As mentioned, the location in the heart of the Boardwalk also makes it easy to find more entertainment options.
Rating: 4.5 stars
My Tropicana sportsbook bet
As part of every sportsbook visit, I am placing a football-related wager for the upcoming 2019 season.
With college football betting underway as of late August, William Hill has posted future prices for the 2019 Heisman Trophy.
College football has been dominated by discussion of Alabama and Clemson. With tons of focus on these two programs, I tried to look elsewhere for some value. I didn’t stray too far from the top two to find former Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts, who has transferred to Oklahoma for 2019.
Hurts will have to outperform early co-favorites Tua Tagovailoa, of ‘Bama, and Trevor Lawrence, at Clemson, to become the third-straight Oklahoma quarterback to win the Heisman.
I thought this was a decent value play at 12-1.
Overall score: 4.1 stars
The sportsbook at Tropicana gives William Hill a solid 1-2 lineup in Atlantic City along with its venue at Ocean Casino.
While not the largest AC book in terms of square feet, the seating capacity of 180 is at the top of the stack. With plenty of seats, it also does a great job of offering reservations for seats and tables.
The LED screens are robust and well-designed to fit the dimensions of the space and live teller window area is spacious and well-designed to minimize the chaos during hectic times.
There should be more than two self-service betting kiosks, but kiosks are consistently lacking in all of the William Hill NJ retail sportsbooks.
Tropicana also needs to work through the ability to order drinks and food from your seat consistently. There is nothing worse than having to leave the action for 10-15 minutes to track down a turkey sandwich somewhere else in the casino.
While there will always be small areas for improvement, William Hill Sportsbook at Tropicana is an all-around winner. It is worth your time, especially during the 2019 college and NFL seasons.