Which AC Casino Is DraftKings Likely To Partner With On NJ Sports Betting?

Obviously, an official ruling from the US Supreme Court is what separates New Jersey — and the rest of the country — from legalized sports betting. Yet a recent statement from DraftKings is quite telling.

Late last week, the world’s biggest daily fantasy sports site issued a statement saying it had been in contact with potential land-based casinos in New Jersey in preparation for a positive ruling from SCOTUS.

There are few — if any — details surrounding potential partners on NJ sports betting for DraftKings, though perhaps one casino seems the best fit.

Courting a partner

Outside of its license in the United Kingdom, DraftKings is green in the way of truly regulated gaming markets. The company is intent on getting into the action, however, as it has hired a “head of sportsbook” who will set up shop in DraftKings’ new office in New Jersey.

DraftKings has expressed interest in getting into the sports betting world since 2017. The company’s strong brand name could also give DraftKings clout.

And if SCOTUS rules in favor of New Jersey in Murphy vs. NCAA, a decision that should come before the Supreme Court’s recess in July, several other states are already in line to offer legalized sports betting as soon as possible.

DraftKings cashing in on a big AC summer

This summer could potentially be Atlantic City’s redemption year.
In 2013, 13 casinos were operating along the New Jersey shoreline. Since then, five of those NJ casinos closed their doors. New properties were shuttered even before opening. Tourism and gaming revenue dropped.

Expected to open this summer are the marquee Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino and perhaps the Showboat, which has had its casino floor roped off since 2014.

The immediate future is rife with optimism considering the first two months of 2018 combined for nearly $45 million in NJ online gambling revenue.

Land-based casino revenue is down from last year, but the anticipation of two properties opening this summer could overshadow those early-year marks as Hard Rock AC and Ocean Resort Casino are headlining attractions for a potential boom in tourism.

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Which AC casinos could dance with DraftKings?

There are already several properties (MGM-owned Borgata, and Caesars) with sports betting and platform partnerships via their Nevada casinos.

Hard Rock AC has a deal in place with Gaming Innovation Group, which offers an avenue into NJ sports betting. Golden Nugget already offers sports wagering in Nevada and has a connection to Paddy Power Betfair (now FanDuel) thanks to its NJ online casino.

There is little information surrounding sports betting opportunities at Tropicana and Resorts, and some speculation about Ocean Resort Casino’s intentions. Speculation, however, does not drown out the casino’s goals.

That makes one property as the prime dancing partner for DraftKings and its potential push into the New Jersey sports betting market.

Ocean Resort Casino is the best bet

In a January press release, Ocean Resort owner Bruce Deifik announced his dream for the incoming Atlantic City casino.

“Atlantic City is coming back with a vengeance, and with the groundwork for the legalization of sports betting, we foresee a great opportunity to bring a state-of-the-art sportsbook to a city which caters to a large and diverse market.”

Ocean Resort’s plans on sports betting are up for debate. The property does have a partnership with GAN, which in turn has a deal with SBTECH.

Yet Ocean Resort could be among the top casinos to offer sports betting. The owner’s aspirations are lofty. The casino’s association with GAN allows it to offer real-money gambling online. And though GAN’s newest partner, SBTECH, is a sports betting provider, DraftKings could fit the mold for what Ocean Resort looks to accomplish.

Ocean Resort Casino wants a state-of-the-art sportsbook. DraftKings is not exactly that, but frankly, many casinos will be going for the “state-of-the-art” definition if NJ sports betting happens.

The casino wants a sportsbook to cater to a large and diverse market; DraftKings is the biggest DFS in the world. In fact, the company has a database of New Jersey players that could quickly take advantage of legal sports betting.

DraftKings is looking to break ground in the US. Ocean Resort Casino wants to be innovative. That’s a match made in heaven.

About the Author

Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sportswriter who has covered the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield, and Oregon State athletics and the Portland Trail Blazers throughout his career.