Jersey Sides & Totals: DraftKings Has NFL Odds Boosts But Bet365 Is All About Quantity

Here’s a weekly look at the best NFL bets and lines available at a selection of NJ online sports betting sites: DraftKings Sportsbook, Fox Bet, and Bet365.

Are you ready for some football?

The NFL season kicks off this Thursday in Chicago and college football season approaches its second full week of action.

That’s a lot of football, so you better be ready.

With 10 retail sportsbooks and now 15 apps firing on all cylinders, there is a lot to keep up with. Two weeks ago, Bet365 NJ “soft-launched” its mobile app. 

And last week, Fox Bet NJ began rolling out what is its rebranding of the existing BetStars app.

In this weekly column, I will focus on up to three New Jersey sportsbooks and take a deeper dive at the promos, props, and specials that you should be aware of heading into the weekend’s action.

For the opening NFL weekend, I’m looking at what’s on offer from DraftKings Sportsbook, Bet365, and Fox Bet.

What’s what at DraftKings Sportsbook

With a full season of NFL sports betting under their belts, DraftKings comes out of the gate with a strong lineup of offers and promotions.

In addition to a full menu of lines for NFL Week 1, here are some promotions to be aware of on DraftKings.

There is a different “odds boost” each day this week, ending with the full kickoff on Sunday, Sept 8:

It’s still surprising to me how so few books in New Jersey take a localized approach. It’s very straightforward. NFL fans in the Garden State are likely to be fans of the Jets, Giants or Eagles, so why not give them a hook to pique their interest on the weekend? It’s not that hard.

DraftKings does a nice job of tailoring their promotions with a local “angle.”

In DraftKings’ week 1 “no brainer” promotion, a bettor either needs the Jets, Giants or Eagles to score a touchdown.

Easy money, right? Of course, but note that this offer is capped at a maximum $10 wager (to win $10):

DraftKings also is offering “NO VIG” NFL lines for week 1.

As a frame of reference, below is the current “VIG” lines in which a straight $25 point spread bet on the Eagles at -114 would win $22:

With “NO VIG” lines, the same $25 on the Eagles at +100 will pay $25:

One note, currently these “NO VIG” lines cannot be included as part of parlay bets.

Fox Bet has a lot of personality

Fox Bet has now rebranded the BetStars skin. The old BetStars NJ black-and-red color palette has been replaced with the blue-and-gold theme of Fox Bet.

Additionally, Fox Sports on-air personalities now adorn most of the promotional lineup on Fox Bet.

For the NFL, there are promotions tied to Fox Sports personalities Colin Cowherd and Clarissa Thompson:

While there aren’t any “local” promotions on offer, Fox Bet does have some unique game prop wagering opportunities.

Below are the prop lines for quarterback pass completions and running back rushing attempts for Green Bay vs Chicago:

fox bet nj online sportsbook nfl bets

Fox Bet also offers an extensive menu of “Custom Bets.”

These bets will vary game by game and week to week. If a bettor wants to suggest a prop that isn’t currently listed on the app, a tweet to Fox Bet using the hashtag #CustomBet will get their attention and a response.

Here are some of the custom bets in place for the Bears-Packers opening game on Thursday night:

fox bet custom bets nj sports betting

Don’t ignore the newbie Bet365

Bet365 is new to New Jersey. The British bookmaker launched in mid-August, just in time for the NFL season.

However, the current offers on Bet365 are more skewed to European football (i.e. soccer) than the NFL. The lone NFL bonus relates to an Early Payout offer, in which an early payout will be made if a team gains a 17-point lead:

Bet365 does offer American football action and tons of it, covering the NFL, NCAA football, and the Canadian Football League (CFL):

nj online sports betting bet365

If you’re an NFL bettor that likes to look beyond the standard spreads, lines, and totals, Bet365 NJ is worth checking out.

There is no shortage of “action” on offer within the NJ sportsbook app. The Thursday night opener features 130+ “markets” from which to choose from. It’s an extensive betting menu that would rival any New Jersey diner in terms of scale and variety.

Here’s a quick overview of the main props and score props featured for the Thursday NFL Bears-Packers opener:

bet365 new jersey sports betting app

Taking a closer look, there are some unique props to be found on Bet365. Here is the longest TD scored and total number of field goals:

nfl field goals lines bet365

Bet365 also has several props related to scoring frequency for each team and each half:

bet365 nj prop bets nfl

In a nutshell, there is something for everyone playing via the Bet365 app. Check it out and take the time to dig a little deeper in this new site to find a prop or price that might be playable for you.

I will be tracking both Bet365 and the rebranded FoxBet to observe how they evolve with other promotions and offers over the course of the season.

Looking ahead to Sunday

At the end of each weekly column, I will make three football selections that I will track over the course of the season.

A couple of years ago, I would have used the disclaimer “for entertainment purposes only.” Since I live in New Jersey, in addition to the “entertainment” part, I will also now be betting the games.

For this week, here are my picks:

  • REDSKINS +10 over Eagles
  • VIKINGS -4 over Falcons
  • RAVENS -6.5 over Dolphins

Best of luck to everyone out there. Here’s to a profitable 2019 football season in NJ sports betting.

Did You Think The NFL Week 1 Lines Would Move Before Kickoff? You’d Be Right

NFL lines at New Jersey sportsbooks move ahead of a game for a variety of reasons. Check out NFL Week 1 lines at DraftKings and FanDuel.

With the NFL season kicking off this Thursday, Sept. 5, it’s a good time to look at what Week 1 lines have moved over the past week and why.

The NFL lines you find at New Jersey sportsbooks move ahead of a game for a variety of reasons.

A key injury or continued holdout might affect one team’s chances and force oddsmakers into action. An increased chance of inclement weather on gameday might even force NJ sportsbooks to move a line (we’re looking at you, Hurricane Dorian).

These are all legitimate on-the-field reasons why oddsmakers might adjust a line ahead of kickoff. It’s easy to see why oddsmakers are suddenly thinking differently.

Sometimes, it’s not so easy. Sometimes, oddsmakers aren’t thinking any differently, but the line is altered anyway.

A big bet or increased action on one side often forces sportsbooks to move a line. They do this to attract bets on the other side and limit the sportsbook’s exposure.

Oddsmakers clearly believe in the original line they set. There’s no legitimate on-the-field reason to change it, thereby giving you an opportunity to book a bet at a better price, take more, or give away fewer points when the on-the-field matchup doesn’t really warrant it.

Bet on oddsmakers being right

NFL oddsmakers have become stunningly accurate when it comes to setting lines. That’s why getting an extra point or point and a half on the spread can be extremely valuable.

So valuable, sportsbooks might force you to lay big bucks for it in alternative line markets.

When sportsbooks move a line because of a big bet or increased action on one side, you get all that value for nothing.

Think of it like betting on oddsmakers being right the first time they set the line. If they are as accurate as they usually are you’ll walk away a big winner.

NFL Week 1 lines and movement

Below is a look at the current point spread and totals lines for all 16 Week 1 NFL games at two of the top NJ sports betting apps.

This includes DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook. If the sportsbooks have moved a line, the line from last week is in brackets on the chart.

NFL Week 1DraftKings SportsbookFanDuel Sportsbook
Green Bay
Chicago
46.5 (46)
-3
46.5
-3
Atlanta
Minnesota
48 (47.5)
-4
48 (47.5)
-4
Baltimore
Miami
-7 (-5.5)
37.5
-7.5 (-5)
37.5
Buffalo
NY Jets
40.5 (40)
-3
41 (39.5)
-3
Kansas City
Jacksonville
-3.5
52 (52.5)
-3.5
52.5
LA Rams
Carolina
-2.5 (-3)
50
-2.5 (-3)
50.5
Tennessee
Cleveland
45.5
-5.5
45.5
-5 (-5.5)
Washington
Philadelphia
45.5
-9.5 (-8.5)
45.5 (46)
-10 (-8.5)
Cincinnati
Seattle
43.5 (44)
-8.5 (-9)
44 (43)
-10
Indianapolis
LA Chargers
44.5
-6.5
45 (44)
-6.5
Detroit
Arizona
-2.5
47 (48)
-2.5
47
NY Giants
Dallas
45.5
-7
46
-7.5 (-7)
SF 49ers
Tampa Bay
50
pk (-1)
50.5 (49)
-1
Pittsburgh
New England
50.5 (51)
-5.5 (-6)
50.5
-5.5 (-6)
Houston
New Orleans
53.5
-7
52.5 (53.5)
-7
Denver
Oakland
43.5 (43)
pk (-1)
43
-1

Eagles spread increasing

As you can clearly see in the chart, the point spread on the Philadelphia Eagles-Washington Redskins game has moved. Philadelphia was always the favorite, but now it’s up to Eagles -9.5 on DraftKings and -10 on FanDuel.

Look around and you won’t find many on-the-field reasons for the move.

Both teams have made a few small roster moves. Plus, the Eagles confirmed a small injury won’t keep receiver DeSean Jackson out of the game.

But these things alone wouldn’t normally warrant any movement in the line. Instead, it looks like a move caused by increased action on Philadelphia.

This should be no surprise since there is a strong Eagles fanbase in New Jersey. Case in point is this tweet below:

Philadelphia is the better team, but this early in the season it’s hard for any team to cover as much as 9.5 points.

Philadelphia is most likely going to beat Washington here. The question is by how much.

Oddsmakers clearly believe it’ll be by around nine. So, the extra point you can get on the Redskins right now may make Washington a good value bet.

Line moves on road favorite Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens have gone from -5 or -5.5 favorites on the road against the Miami Dolphins to -7 or -7.5 in the span of a week.

Again, these teams haven’t really done much in that time outside of finalizing the rosters.

Dolphins head coach Brian Flores did name Ryan Fitzpatrick the Week 1 starter at quarterback over Josh Rosen. However, Miami’s move to go with a proven veteran over a second-year player that has lost more than he’s won seems to favor Miami, not Baltimore.

Therefore, this may be another situation where the line has moved because of heavy betting on one side.

If that is the case, Miami +7.5 could be another great value bet. After all, Miami is at home and it’s hard to beat a team by a touchdown in their own house. Even if pundits are predicting there may be no worse team in the NFL this year.

Bottom line: Watch the lines

As game day approaches, and the entire NFL season continues, look for any kind of significant movements in NFL odds at NJ sportsbooks.

Then, ask yourself why.

If there’s no legitimate on-the-field reason, you may be able to take advantage of a move a sportsbook just made.

TheScore Sportsbook Makes Its Official Move Into NJ Sports Betting With NFL Season On Horizon

After days of testing and prep, theScore Bet sportsbook app officially joins the NJ online sports betting crowd, complete with a unique betting experience.

TheScore Bet’s testing phase is complete.

As of today, the NJ sports betting app is live and available to all iOS and Android customers.

The press release announcing the official launch in New Jersey offers a little teaser of what customers can expect: A platform that “delivers a holistic media and betting experience.”

However, this launch is unique compared to the rest of the field.

How, you ask?

Because theScore is the first media company in North America “to create and operate a mobile sportsbook in the United States.”

Fox Bet (connected with Fox Sports), launched early Saturday morning in NJ. But in that case, we are talking about a rebranded app replacing BetStars from The Stars Group.

TheScore sportsbook was built from the ground up.

A ‘seamlessly integrated’ sportsbook app

For that reason, John Levy, founder and CEO of theScore, is excited about sharing the finished product with NJ bettors.

He sums things up by calling the app “a completely unique and ground-breaking mobile sports betting experience.”

Plus, the product is natively built and “seamlessly integrated with our market-leading media app.”

“Millions of sports fans all over North America were already using theScore, with many relying on our data and content to help inform their betting decisions,” said Levy.

“Now, starting with fans in New Jersey, we’ll be able to bring the bet right to them.”

What we know about theScore sportsbook

TheScore Bet fills the third and final allotted skin under the Monmouth Park license. William Hill NJ and PlaySugarHouse sportsbook are the others.

The newest offering is built from the ground up by the same production team behind the company’s industry-leading sports app. It incorporates backend sports betting platform technology from Bet.Works.

Users who have an account at theScore will need to create a new login for the betting app and then link the two accounts.

Here are some features available to NJ bettors:

  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Wide variety of pre-game/in-game markets and betting options
  • “Lightning-fast” scores and in-game data
  • Early cash-out
  • Easy and secure deposit and withdrawal options

NFL and college football betting markets may be heating up, but theScore Bet customers have several other markets, too:

  • NBA
  • NCAA
  • MLB
  • NHL
  • Soccer betting (UEFA Champions League, English Premier League, and MLS, included)

Plus, wagers on golf, tennis, and combat sports are coming soon.

However, deposit options are somewhat limited for the time being. TheScore Bet includes credit card (Visa/MasterCard/Discover), Bet Play, and Play+. But those options will likely expand in the near future.

Here’s more from Levy:

“We’ve always believed sports betting is just one facet of the overall fan experience, and now with theScore Bet we can deliver sports betting the way it was meant to be.”

TheScore Bet and the media connection

But what separates this app from the competition is the way it brings the media and sports betting audiences together.

For instance, the users’ favorite teams, leagues, and games from theScore sports app sync automatically to show personalized betting options in theScore Bet.

At the same time, any wagers placed can then be tracked in real-time on theScore app. This means that when using theScore, you can navigate to the corresponding bet by clicking a “Go to theScore Bet” button on the app:

Call it a unique cross-selling feature. There is also a bet mode feature that provides players with:

  • Instant access to faster scoring updates and data
  • Real-time odds
  • Live bet tracking
  • Additional betting content
  • Seamless betting calls-to-action

Sweet 16 of NJ online sports betting

TheScore sportsbook officially arrives two days before the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears kick off the 2019 NFL season on Thursday night. (Currently, theScore shows the Bears as 3-point favorites over the Pack.)

Fittingly, the NJ online sports betting field stands at a Sweet 16. Bet365 NJ also opened its doors in August, too.

Unibet NJ sportsbook remains on the coming soon list.

As far as theScore Bet goes, the NJ market is just the start of bigger things to come. The company has market access across 11 additional states via a partnership with Penn National Gaming.

The $40 million investment

The NJ sports betting launch was one of two big announcements to come out of Toronto today.

In a separate press release, Score Media and Gaming Inc. (parent company of theScore sportsbook), announced an investment agreement with a fund managed and controlled by Fengate Asset Management.

The firm’s private equity team will invest $40 million in theScore to “fund the growth and development of the company’s media and sports betting businesses.”

Levy said theScore “is focused on becoming a leader in mobile sports gaming in North America and this strategic investment significantly enhances our ability to execute on this plan.”

“Fengate is recognized as a highly respected and experienced investor across North America, with significant expertise in the gaming industry. They are the perfect strategic investment partner as we launch our best-in-class mobile sportsbook in the United States.”

And that plan is just getting started in New Jersey.

Fox Bet Sports Betting App Launches In New Jersey, Replacing BetStars

Fox Bet sportsbook, the rebranded BetStars NJ sports betting app, is live with other states to follow. Fox Sports teamed up with Stars Group in May.

Fox Sports has made its first move into legal sports betting.

The media giant’s Fox Bet sportsbook product is available to New Jersey customers as of Aug. 30.

It’s not a new NJ sports betting app. It’s simply the rebranded BetStars NJ site, and it will continue to operate under the Resorts Digital license.

Talk about perfect timing. NJ sportsbooks have Week 1 odds posted.

And Fox NFL Sunday kicks off on Sept. 8 with the Philadelphia Eagles facing the Washington Redskins. The Dallas Cowboys host the New York Giants will be a big draw for the NJ betting crowd, too.

Same old NJ sports betting at Fox Bet

The biggest difference users will notice is a blue-and-white theme with a touch of yellow replacing the BetStars red and white.

The other big change will be the logo at top, which will switch from BetStars to Fox Bet.

The original BetStars NJ website will simply switch to the new Fox Bet format; users won’t need to do anything on that front but go to the BetStars site and start betting. On phones or tablets, users will need to update the app in the App Store or Google Play.

Otherwise, those wondering if the sports wagering process will be changing can sit back and relax. The app and website are mostly the same as are the different betting types available:

  • Point spread
  • Straight bets 
  • Total points
  • Futures 
  • In-Game
  • Parlays

As expected, Fox Bet sportsbook has all of the major sports covered, too:

  • Baseball/MLB 
  • Basketball/NBA 
  • Football/NFL 
  • Hockey/NHL  
  • MMA/UFC
  • Golf/PGA 

Plus, there are tennis, cycling, darts, cricket, and other sports for bettors who prefer the more exotic markets. 

As far as depositing goes, VISA, MasterCard, PayPal, and PayNearMe are all accepted.

Building the Fox Bet brand

The news of Fox Bet joining the Garden State market (and Pennsylvania next week) has been months in the making.

Back in May, The Stars Group (parent company of BetStars) and Fox Sports announced a media and sports wagering partnership.

The press release included comments from Stars Group CEO Rafi Ashkenazi explaining the change in branding:

“We believe this strategic partnership uniquely positions us to build a leading betting business in the U.S., which represents one of the most exciting long-term growth opportunities for our company.

“Leveraging our proven media partnership strategy with Sky Sports in the UK, we are excited to partner with FOX Sports to integrate wagering into sports media and drive customer acquisition and retention in the U.S.”

The announcement mentioned a targeted fall rollout of two products under the Fox Bet umbrella.

One will be a nationwide free-to-play game in which players can win cash prizes for correctly picking the outcome of sporting events.

Then there is the real money platform of Fox Bet sportsbook that will be available for sports betting in regulated states such as New Jersey.

As part of the 25-year agreement, Fox acquired shares in TSG.

Resorts adds another big name

BetStars was one of the early arrivals to the NJ betting market, launching on Sept. 13 of last year.

But the European-based operator failed to build a following on the level of market leaders FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook, William Hill NJ, and PlaySugarHouse.

Now with the Fox Bet brand, Stars Group has a sports wagering product linked to a national US media network. And that following has an invested interest in the NFL and college football betting markets.

But at least in New Jersey, the big winner is likely to be Resorts Atlantic City.

The digital arm of Atlantic City’s oldest casino is already reaping the rewards from its partnership with DraftKings. Combined with Fox Bet and the Resorts-branded app, the combination sets things up nicely for the 2019 football season.

Resorts Digital reported $3,721,550 in sports betting revenue for July. The number was tops in Atlantic City and good enough for second best behind the Meadowlands Racetrack (FanDuel and PointsBet NJ). 

And Fox Bet has the marketing powerhouse of Fox Sports behind it.

That’s what we call a sports betting touchdown.

It’s A Feast Of College Football Bets At New Jersey Sportsbooks This Year

New Jersey sports betting apps are packed with NCAA football odds and specials, but where to start? Here’s a bird’s eye look at what’s available and where.

The 2019-2020 college football season had its “soft-opening” of sorts last weekend, with two games played on Saturday.

But the season officially gets underway this Labor Day weekend with Week 1. While the bulk of the games are on Saturday, there are also games scheduled Thursday (16x), Friday (7x), Sunday (1x), and Monday (1x).

That’s a lot of college football betting.

As the schools head into action this weekend, it’s not only time to prep for the slate of opening week games but to also make any season-long future wagers.

New Jersey sportsbooks will begin adjusting, revising, and in some cases, taking down the season-long props that are currently on the board.

The NJ sports bettor now has 16 apps to choose from (although TheScore Sportsbook and Bet365 are till in soft-launch mode). So it’s always good to shop around to see what’s out there from the various sportsbook offerings.

I have taken a closer look at all the NJ sports betting apps to offer my perspective on what’s currently available for the upcoming college football season. Here are my thoughts.

How to find college football odds at NJ sportsbooks

First, as a sports bettor, one does appreciate the sportsbooks that denote “College Football” as a standalone sports category in their wagering menus.

Sure, we can’t bet on Rutgers or Princeton games here in New Jersey, but with 125+ other schools in play, there’s no reason to lump it in together simply under “Football.”

Unfortunately, here are several examples of apps that will make you work to find college football lines.

Golden Nugget Sportsbook has college football (also known as “NCAAF”) listed in among its NFL line detail:

PlayMGM’s sportsbook lists college football under the catch-all “Football” header following the NFL and after Canadian football (Go, Blue Bombers) prop bets:

Over at 888 Sport, college football doesn’t manage to crack the “popular” listings the opening week of college football season:

Maybe it’s me, but it has to be easy to build a “College Football” header for betting menu listings, as illustrated below by DraftKings and FanDuel:

draftkings college betting
fanduel college football betting

And what about searching for college games?

Another small nit of mine is the current inability to build a “Search” option for each team or school in the betting app.

With 100+ schools in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in action on any given September-November weekend, it’s a challenge to find the game(s) in a long list of betting line matchups sorted by start time.

So, I would love to see a “search” feature for a game or specific event for college football and all other events on the apps.

College betting odds and deals to look for in New Jersey

Whether you are an avid college football bettor, or you just like to follow a select school or conference, here are some promotions and odds that you should be aware of in the robust NJ sports betting app marketplace:

DraftKings has been offering a “Countdown to Kickoff” specifically for college football with eight days of different daily odds boosts leading up to Labor Day weekend:

If you haven’t taken advantage of that yet, don’t worry. There’s plenty more being offered by sportsbook apps this season.

Best futures odds for college football

In addition to season-long, over-under win totals that are offered across most NJ sportsbooks, I wanted to note some of the unique season-long futures offered by the books.

BetStars (soon to be Fox Bet) has a simple “Yes/No” prop for schools to make a bowl game:

Both playMGM and DraftKings apps are offering props on select teams with a straightforward “Yes/No” to make the college football playoffs in December:

PointsBet NJ takes a slightly different approach, with listed odds for select schools to “to not win the championship”:

DraftKings has posted a “Rivalry Special” prop for select schools to defeat their two main rival opponents:

Props bet specials and unique odds

When you look toward the NCAA Football National Championship, it’s extremely difficult to have any discussion around the potential 2019 finalists without including defending champion Clemson and perennial finalist, Alabama.

With this in mind, PointsBet has a series of prop specials for both Alabama and Clemson, including odds offered on Alabama “losing to a Tiger Mascot”:

Looking ahead to January 2020, FanDuel is offering a straightforward prop bet on a rematch of last year’s title game:

NCAA football week 1 odds

When it comes to the games this weekend, there’s a myriad to dive into.

Most NJ sportsbooks have done a great job by posting the opening spreads, sides, and totals as of Monday. Other offerings of first half/second half and quarters will be added/updated as the day of the games draws closer this weekend.

In fact, since it’s Thursday, you probably will see more odds already added for today’s games.

Golden Nugget Sports is an example of one app that has done a great job of early posting of the quarter and half lines for Saturday’s games:

Alternate point spreads are popular in NFL games and are beginning to become more widely offered for college games, too. DraftKings, for example, has a nice offering of alternative point spreads for this weekend’s games:

There is nothing more random than betting on whether the game will end with a total score that’s an odd or even number.

If you’re a player that likes the randomness of roulette, consider an odd/even totals bet. Golden Nugget has you covered here with a bevy of wagering options:

Bet365 NJ: A newcomer with a lot of action

Bet365 is the latest addition to the New Jersey sports betting landscape. To be fair, it’s still going through regulatory testing.

Launching just in time for football season, Bet365 is not shy about offering tons of action. They are in the mix for college football with several betting options not yet offered with other NJ sports betting apps.

Consider the “Race to (Points)” for the team to get to a score of 10 through 40 points as well as a simple “Yes/No” on the game going to overtime. Below is a screenshot of its standard menu of just some of its offerings this weekend:

You won’t be going hungry this year

There is no shortage of options for college football bettors in New Jersey. The examples I have posted have only scratched the surface of the futures and pregame betting markets.

Also, once the game kicks off, there will be live betting options offered by sportsbooks, so keep your phone charged and your eyes on the play-by-play action to make your best wagers.

But my humble betting advice around college football centers around a trend that was profitable for me last year.

Now, betting Alabama may not seem like the best place to find “value” in college football. After all, the moneyline will be -2000 or higher (if its even offered) most weekends and point spreads can be a tricky play based on how Nick Saban approaches the late third and fourth quarter (i.e., are the opening starters still playing, and will they be running the ball to kill the clock or still passing?).

As a player who likes to build parlays, there is value in considering including Alabama 1Q /1H on points and/or the moneyline. It was a successful angle last year, and I will plug it in this weekend when ‘bama opens versus Duke.

My “Final Four” prediction this year is really a “Final Two.”

With Clemson and Alabama meeting in three of the last four championship games, I will include those two to make the national championship, as well as Michigan and Georgia.

In the meantime, best of luck to all NJ bettors this college football season.

Anyway You Slice It, Atlantic City Casinos Are Still Fighting For A Larger Piece Of A Bigger Pie

It’s been one year since Hard Rock and Ocean Casino opened in Atlantic City. How is the market doing with nine casinos, sports betting and online gambling?

Hard Rock Atlantic City and Ocean Casino Resort celebrated their respective one-year anniversaries in late June.

And as a result, July was the first time an accurate year-over-year comparison of a nine-casino market could be done.

Before the two uptown casinos opened, speculation often lingered on how nine casinos would survive in Atlantic City. Are the two new additions helping or hurting the market? Which casinos are growing and which have taken a hit, if at all?

Rummy Pandit, executive director for Stockton University’s Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism, said monthly gross revenues and quarterly net revenues show “a positive growth trend for the city as a whole.”

“Also, the new properties aren’t the only ones seeing revenue increases indicating the pie is continuing to grow and the slices are getting larger,” said Pandit.

If we look at the latest numbers released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, total gaming revenue came at $323,324,385 — that’s nearly an 8% increase from the same period last year.

But a closer look shows that there are winners, some losers, and a market that is still figuring itself out.

Borgata still the undisputed king

The MGM-owned Borgata seems to be one property that isn’t feeling the impact. One year later, the Marina District property continues to be the one the other Atlantic City casinos are chasing.

In July alone, Borgata reported $87,994,493 in total gaming revenue. It’s one of those numbers that just pops out on the spreadsheet. As it should. It’s the best month ever in the casino’s 16-year history.

In fact, Borgata saw growth across the board:

  • Total gaming revenue increased by 14.8%.
  • Online casino revenue came in at $6,365,511, a 29.1% increase.
  • Sports betting revenue was $859,478, of which $696,392 came from retail.

The question is how much foot traffic will the recently opened Moneyline Bar & Book bring to Borgata during NFL and college football betting?

Or does it matter? After all, Borgata has been the king of the market since 2006, long before sports betting in New Jersey joined the party.

AC casinos July 2019 vs July 2018 revenue

The new kids on the Boardwalk: Hard Rock + Ocean

On the flip side are the newcomers, both of which are making names for themselves.

Hard Rock is coming off a very strong July with $38,709,141 in land-based casino revenue — good enough for second in the market behind Borgata. That number marks a 19.5% increase from the same period last year.

The property is second in total gaming revenue (including NJ online gambling) with $40,766,575, a 24.6% increase.

How has Hard Rock moved the needle so far? Well, besides being an internationally recognized brand, Hard Rock has an A-list entertainment lineup that draws foot traffic to the property.

At the same time, Hard Rock AC still has room to grow, namely at its sportsbook. The uptown property generated just $606,654 in NJ sports betting revenue.

But up until last week, Hard Rock only had its self-branded sportsbook skin up and running. July does not include last week’s soft launch of sports betting giant Bet365 NJ.

Plus Unibet NJ is expected to follow soon.

Ocean Casino feeling those good vibrations

Following a bad start and an ownership change, Ocean continues to reap the benefits of the prime summer season.

The property reported total gaming revenue from casino, sports, and online of $20,170,694 for July — an 18% increase from the same period last year.

The majority of that number is from the casino floor. In the NJ online casino market, Ocean is still a ways behind its competition. It only has the one skin to its name. In comparison, Borgata has nine total sites using five brands under its belt.

Plus, for now, all sports wagering is via a partnership with William Hill NJ.

The key will be building on the wave of successes it has had of late.

Golden Nugget may be small, but …

Many would likely assume that Golden Nugget and Resorts would be getting hit the hardest by the bigger and swankier properties.

But if we are talking total gaming revenue, this is far from the case. And they both have the success of online gambling to thank for it.

To really understand Golden Nugget’s power, we need to look at year-to-date totals.

Golden Nugget alone, year to date, has earned $93,536,687 just in online casino winnings. Besides the self-branded app, Betfair NJ, PlaySugarHouse Casino, and BetAmerica all operate under the license. And all of them have an online sportsbook attached.

Added to that is Betfair’s connection to the No. 1 sportsbook app in the state: FanDuel Sportsbook. That link gives Betfair a big boost in terms of cross-selling, which in turn helps Golden Nugget’s online revenue totals.

Cross-selling between the online sites certainly has helped. But what makes the number stand out even more is that slots and table game winnings at the AC property come in at $116,000,049 year to date.

Besides the two numbers being very close to one another, the 13% drop from the casino floor is wiped out by the 60.5% increase from online.

Combine it all together and Golden Nugget’s total number is $210,076,239. That’s currently good enough for second-best in the market and a 9.6% increase.

Tropicana, although down 9.8% for the year, is currently third overall with $203,004,316.

Resorts Digital powering Resorts Atlantic City

Look at Resorts simply from a land-based perspective, and Atlantic City’s oldest property is flat.

The $18,160,182 in total gaming revenue is the lowest among all operators. This includes minimal July earnings from the DraftKings Sportsbook at Resorts.

But like Golden Nugget, Resorts makes up serious ground via its online casino and sports betting partnerships.

They fall under the Resorts Digital umbrella. On the online casino side, the upward trend continues to the tune of $6,868,812 in July — a 74.3% increase. (PokerStars Casino, DraftKings Casino, Resorts Online Casino, and Mohegan Sun Casino all fall under the license.)

In other words, Resorts, along with Golden Nugget, contributed big time to July’s $39,315,731 Internet gaming win — a new all-time high.

The previous record of $39,134,380 was set back in March.

On the sports betting side, the license holder is No. 2 in the market thanks to the success of DraftKings. FanDuel Sportsbook is still on top, but $4,266,540 is not too shabby.

Plus BetStars NJ will be transitioning to Fox Bet just in time for football season. Expect to see the online numbers continue to climb at Resorts.

The Caesars question

But what does the future hold for business at the center of the Boardwalk and Caesars Entertainment as a whole?

Business at Bally’s and Caesars is not as strong. The latter saw a 15.2% drop in total gaming revenue for the month — the biggest loss among the nine operators.

Bally’s saw a drop of 11.3% in the same category. The sister properties are celebrating their respective 40th anniversaries this year.

But Bally’s is now home to AC’s largest sportsbook (15,228 square feet, to be exact), complete with its own self-serve beer wall. The space had a mid-June soft opening.

The chance for fans to watch games in a Vegas-style setting will draw plenty of foot traffic. But will it equate to customers playing slots and table games?

Sister property Harrah’s Resort currently ranks the fifth year to date in total revenue ($179,423,929).

And the Eldorado factor

The short-term fix at Caesars, however, may be drastically different than the long-term one.

At some point next year, the Caesars and Eldorado Resorts merger is expected to be finalized. The Trop is currently operated by Eldorado.

And although Tropicana reported the fourth-highest total gaming revenue for July ($32,981,858), the number signifies an 11% drop.

Pandit said the three Caesars Entertainment properties are a key piece in the pending merger of the two companies.

“Whether the merger succeeds or not, we can expect significant changes at these properties which should make them more competitive in the Atlantic City market,” he said.

“All four properties have recently made capital investments in their gaming and non-gaming products and are on a path to providing a more distinctive customer experience. Should the merger succeed, all four will have access to a combined Caesars/Eldorado loyalty program.”

So, what is the magic number in Atlantic City?

Unlike the Las Vegas Strip, it’s highly unlikely we will see new casinos rising in AC anytime soon.

But will all nine casinos remain open following the Caesars/Eldorado merger?

The reality is Atlantic City can no longer be viewed as simply a land-based operation. Online casinos are a huge source of revenue up and down the Boardwalk and Marina, giving smaller casinos a lot of power and growing the pie as a whole.

The mobile sports betting market consistently accounts for more than 80% of monthly wagers.

In terms of what it means for projecting AC’s future, Pandit said consumer demand and changes in regional gaming supply may create market conditions that favor a larger or smaller casino market.

“Customer demand is always a moving target,” Pandit said, “and regional gaming expansion, as well as the launch of legal sports betting, contribute to an evolving supply of gaming products in the Atlantic City market.

“In essence, the market is always evolving along with changes in demand and supply.”