The plan for NJ sports betting at Tropicana Atlantic City began to take shape long before PASPA was repealed. However, it took until several months after the decision before those plans were finalized.
Billionaire Carl Icahn announced in April 2018 that Icahn Enterprises had entered an agreement to sell Tropicana Entertainment Inc. Gaming and Leisure Properties is taking over it’s real estate holdings. And Eldorado Resorts is taking over its gaming and hotel operations. The entire deal was worth approximately $1.85 billion.
Gaming and Leisure Properties is a Penn National Gaming real estate investment trust spinoff. Eldorado Resorts is considered a quickly-growing Reno, Nevada-based casino entertainment company. At the time, it owned and operated 20 casino resort properties in 10 states.
On Oct. 1, Eldorado finalized the sale and officially took over Tropicana AC.
William Hill and Eldorado
But the seeds have already been sewn for the future of sports betting at the Tropicana properties involved in the sale. That’s because William Hill US runs sports betting operations at Eldorado’s Nevada properties. It has done so since 2012.
In fact, William Hill operates full-service sportsbooks at Eldorado Resorts’ flagship Eldorado Hotel Casino, and it’s Silver Legacy and Circus Circus Reno Hotel & Casino in Reno.
In the April 2018 transaction, Tropicana Entertainment Inc. held onto it’s Aruba assets. However, the other seven casinos and resorts it owns and operates in six states, including Tropicana Atlantic City in NJ, will all go over to GLP and Eldorado.
William Hill and NJ sports betting
In the meantime, William Hill moved into the NJ sports betting market with full force.
It opened the Monmouth Park Sports Book by William Hill in Oceanport and the Ocean Resort sportsbook in Atlantic City.
However, it wouldn’t be long before Eldorado and William Hill formalized a plan to come together again at Tropicana AC.
In early September 2018, William Hill US and Eldorado Resorts announced the two had entered into a nationwide partnership. It’s a deal surrounding digital and land-based sports betting and online gaming in the US.
By this time, most considered William Hill US the leading sports betting company in the US. Plus, Eldorado had grown into a major casino group with 21 properties across 11 states. Once its Tropicana Entertainment Inc. deal closed, Eldorado’s numbers included 26 properties in 13 states.
The agreement will see William Hill becomes Eldorado’s exclusive digital and land-based sports betting services, and online gaming partner.
As a result, William Hill made plans to open sportsbooks in five Eldorado properties across three states almost immediately. Of course, this includes a sportsbook at Tropicana Atlantic City.
While nothing has been said yet, the deal could easily stretch into an online sportsbook for Tropicana.
Benefits for both William Hill and Tropicana
William Hill CEO Philip Bowcock said the partnership offers great benefits for both:
“Partnering with Eldorado gives William Hill access to one of the largest and most attractive casino footprints with 23 million customers across multiple states. This partnership provides extensive cross sell and profit growth opportunities to both parties. Together we are positioned to capture the evolving US opportunity – starting with land-based sports betting, and extending to digital sports betting and, in some states, online gaming.”
Eldorado Chairman and CEO Gary Carano said William Hill is already a partner Eldorado knows and trusts:
“Having worked with the company since 2012, we believe William Hill represents the gold standard in global sports betting and we are confident that our expanded partnership will be successful. We look forward to bringing the excitement of sports betting to customers across our growing platform of leading casino resorts, creating value for all shareholders.”
A Tropicana AC sportsbook
Tropicana Atlantic City has not released a date for the launch of sports betting operations. However, Tropicana Atlantic City GM Steve Callender has given some indication as to what it will entail:
“Tropicana Atlantic City is proud to partner with William Hill Race & Sports Book – America’s sports betting leader. We pride ourselves on creating unique and exciting experiences for our guests at Tropicana Atlantic City, and our sports betting offering will meet those expectations. A brand new venue is being created to host sports betting in the North Tower Casino, with kiosks located throughout the property. We offer several sports bars to watch all the games while enjoying your favorite food and drinks including A Dam Good Sports Bar, Hooters, Chickie’s & Pete’s and Ri Ra Irish Pub. We are excited to share more details about Tropicana Atlantic City’s sports book in the coming weeks.”
William Hill US CEO Joe Asher added it can’t wait to be part of such a great Atlantic City property. Plus, its plans include building a first-class sportsbook in the heart of the world-famous Boardwalk.
The overall William Hill-Eldorado deal will see Eldorado take control of a 20 percent stake in William Hill US operations. This includes all William Hill’s operations in various US states, including New Jersey.