The already crowded New Jersey online casino market is going to have to make room for another new entrant: Wynn Resorts.
The news of Wynn’s imminent arrival in the New Jersey online gambling market came via a press release from Scientific Games.
“Scientific Games Corporation (NASDAQ: SGMS) (“Scientific Games”) will partner with Wynn Resorts, Ltd. (“Wynn Resorts”) to support the launch of Wynn Resorts’ unique digital sports betting and iGaming applications in the U.S.
Wynn Resorts intends to initially launch in New Jersey and utilize several Scientific Games products and services including: a sports betting and iGaming system; a managed sports trading service and Scientific Games’ market-leading content aggregation system that is home to more than 2,000 digital games such as 88 Fortunes®, Raging Rhino®, Zeus® and more.”
Other than the partnership with Scientific Games, and a desire to offer both online sports betting and casino games, the press release was short on details. In fact, the above paragraph represents the entirety of the release.
Missing from the press release is what New Jersey online gambling/sports betting license holder Wynn has partnered with.
Wynn doesn’t possess a physical casino in New Jersey — one of the prerequisites for obtaining an online gambling license in New Jersey. As such, Wynn is required to partner with an Atlantic City casino.
But which of the nine Atlantic City casinos will it be?
The prime suspect
The most likely candidate is Ocean Casino Resort (formerly Ocean Resort Casino).
The case for Ocean Casino Resort being Wynn’s mystery partner is compelling:
- Ocean is a new, independently owned casino with little brand recognition that ranks dead last in online casino revenue.
- Presently, Ocean Casino Resort only has a single online gambling partner.
- The casino has struggled since reopening, and recently changed hands. The new owner might have a different vision.
OCR is the online casino caboose
Ocean Casino Resort and Hard Rock Atlantic City joined the already mature online casino market last year, so it’s not too surprising to find the two new online operators bringing up the rear.
That said, Hard Rock has managed to carve out a decent market share and is still growing. Ocean Casino Resort online casino has failed to make any inroads, and growth has already stalled.
One advantage Hard Rock possesses over Ocean Casino could be alleviated by Wynn.
Despite being damaged by the accusations against former CEO Steve Wynn, Wynn Resorts provides the type of brand awareness the rather generic sounding Ocean Casino Resort simply doesn’t possess.
It’s safe to say that Ocean could use a shot in the arm, and bringing in a sub-brand with strong name recognition and a proven track record of success could be just what the doctor ordered.
Plenty of skins to go around
New Jersey online license holders are limited to five skins or sub-brands. After five-plus years, four of the seven operators are fast approaching that number.
- Borgata brands and sub-brands: Borgata, Party, Pala, playMGM
- Caesars brands and sub-brands: 888, Caesars, Harrah’s, WSOP
- Golden Nugget brands and sub-brands: Golden Nugget, Betfair, SugarHouse, BetAmerica
- Hard Rock brands and sub-brands: Hard Rock
- Ocean Casino Resort brands and sub-brands: Ocean Casino Resort
- Resorts brands and sub-brands: Resorts, Mohegan Sun, PokerStars NJ, DraftKings Casino NJ
- Tropicana brands and sub-brands: Tropicana, Virgin
Ocean is one of only three licensees that could add another brand without reaching the hard cap.
The sports betting brands
Furthermore, online sports betting licensees are limited to just three brands, and like online casinos, a lot of operators are approaching their limit.
- Borgata sports betting brands and sub-brands: playMGM sportsbook
- Caesars sports betting brands and sub-brands: Caesars sportsbook, 888 sportsbook
- Golden Nugget sports betting brands and sub-brands: Bet America sportsbook (Churchill Downs)
- Hard Rock sports betting brands and sub-brands: Hard Rock
- Meadowlands sports betting brands and sub-brands: FanDuel Sportsbook, PointsBet
- Monmouth Park sports betting brands and sub-brands: William Hill, SugarHouse sportsbook
- Ocean Casino sports betting brands and sub-brands: William Hill
- Resorts sports betting brands and sub-brands: BetStars NJ, DraftKings Sportsbook NJ
- Tropicana sports betting brands and sub-brands: N/A
Only a few logical choices in NJ
Based on allowed brands, only Ocean Casino Resort, Tropicana and Hard Rock seem to have room for Wynn.
Furthermore, because it’s an independently owned casino located in Atlantic City, Ocean doesn’t compete with Wynn in other markets. Other AC operators like MGM, Caesars and Eldorado (Tropicana) do and might be reticent to prop up a direct competitor.
New Ocean Casino owners looking to turn things around
When a professional sports team hires a new GM, they’re very likely to make a coaching change. So, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the new owners of Ocean Casino Resort bring in a new online platform provider.
Adding Scientific Games could simply be a supplement to Ocean Casino’s existing online gambling platform run by GAN, or it could be an audition for a possible replacement down the road.
When new ownership takes control, particularly of a struggling property, it will typically make sweeping changes.