The plan for sports betting at Golden Nugget Atlantic City came to life on Aug. 15, 2018, when the Marina District hotel and casino started taking bets at a temporary sportsbook on the property.
Golden Nugget became the fifth Atlantic City casino to embrace NJ sports betting. A sixth, Resorts, did so on the same day. However, things will run a little differently at Golden Nugget. For now, Golden Nugget won’t be taking any bets on the NBA.
NBA sports betting ban
The reason? New Jersey’s sports betting laws contain language effectively banning the property from doing so. The law prevents anyone with an interest in a sport from taking bets on that sport. This includes everyone from players and referees, to franchise owners, of which Golden Nugget owner Tilman Fertitta is one.
Fertitta owns a majority stake in the NBA’s Houston Rockets, and as a result, the Golden Nugget Atlantic City can’t handle any action on the NBA.
Fertitta also owns a Golden Nugget casino property in Downtown Las Vegas. However, less restrictive sports betting laws in that state have the sportsbook there taking bets on every other team in the NBA except the Rockets.
The restrictions in New Jersey could prove quite costly to the Golden Nugget AC sportsbook. Historically, NBA wagering accounts for approximately 15 percent of Nevada’s total handle.
Of course, things could have been a whole lot worse. New Jersey lawmakers originally considered an outright ban on sports betting at Golden Nugget.
At the time the state’s sports betting laws were passed, Golden Nugget general manager Tom Pohlman said there was still hope legislators would adopt the Nevada model in the future:
“We are grateful to the legislature for listening to our concerns and including the Golden Nugget in the sports betting legislation. We look forward to taking our first bets on professional and college football, baseball, college basketball, soccer, hockey, MMA, etc. While we recognize that today the legislation will prohibit us from accepting wagers solely on the NBA, we hope to persuade the lawmakers over time that the total NBA ban is unnecessary and should be limited simply to the Houston Rockets team owned by Mr. Fertitta.”
Temporary Golden Nugget sportsbook
In the meantime, Golden Nugget Atlantic City opened up a temporary sportsbook. The first bet it accepted was a $100 wager on the New York Giants to win the Super Bowl this year at 40 to 1 odds.
The Golden Nugget sportsbook opened in the former poker room located on the property. The poker room was relocated to the fourth floor.
Warren Steven, the senior director of product and operations for online gaming at Golden Nugget, said the casino will have a permanent sportsbook open by the end of August 2018. It will ultimately be called simply The Sportsbook. However, there is no word on mobile and online betting just yet.
Golden Nugget online sportsbook app
Golden Nugget operates a sports betting mobile app in Nevada. It offers the same betting options found at the brick-and-mortar sportsbook in Las Vegas.
The Golden Nugget app employs Miomni software. Miomni also supplies sports betting software for several other Nevada sports betting apps, including Caesars. Use of the app requires signing up in person at the Golden Nugget, and deposits and withdrawals can only be made in person on the property.
Nearing the end of July 2018, Golden Nugget AC entered into a partnership with global online, mobile, and retail sports betting software supplier SBTech.
The deal confirmed SBTech as the new omnichannel sports betting supplier to Golden Nugget casinos in Atlantic City and Biloxi, Miss.
SBTech and Golden Nugget
At the time, SBTech said it would be integrating its sportsbook tech with Golden Nugget’s market-leading online casino platform. This tech would then power its online sports betting product.
SBTech also said it would provide a full platform and sportsbook solution for Golden Nugget’s on-property sports wagering businesses in both states.
As a side note, SBTech is also working with Churchill Downs and Resorts in New Jersey. The former also has a deal with Golden Nugget to offer NJ gambling website products via its license.
However, SBTech says it has created a customizable and flexible front end specifically for Golden Nugget, one that enables it to offer a unique product with proprietary pricing.
At the time the deal was signed, Thomas Winter, SVP & GM, Online Gaming at Golden Nugget, said sports betting is considered a key part of Golden Nugget’s online gambling expansion plans:
“Since sports betting is a critical component of our successful expansion for online betting and gaming in the US, SBTech persisted through our arduous review process. In the end, we knew SBTech was the right partner for us because of its industry-leading retail and online technology, their significant and diverse regulatory experience as well as its innovative product-driven approach.”
However, at the temporary sportsbook opening, there was still no word on when online and mobile sports betting would launch.
A little bit about Golden Nugget Atlantic City
Golden Nugget Atlantic City is located on Frank S. Farley Marina in Atlantic City. It was the Trump Marina Hotel Casino before Fertitta bought it in 2011 for $38 million. He then spent $150 million renovating and rebranding it Golden Nugget Atlantic City.
It now features more than 740 rooms and suites. Plus, a 75,000-square-foot casino with 1,500 slots and 80 table games.
Golden Nugget AC launched an online casino in 2013. It has grown into the highest grossing NJ online gambling operation. It has won the eGR North America Operator of the Year award two years running. The site boasts the largest selection of online casino games in New Jersey.
It’s probable that the Golden Nugget online sportsbook and retail space will have a similar level of prestige, but only time will tell.