Late last week, however, DraftKings finally found some competition as playMGM and SugarHouse Sportsbook launched their NJ online sports betting operations.
Now bettors are busy choosing a New Jersey sports betting home to put some skin in the game, especially in time for football.
Here is a quick look at the three sports betting apps available so far in the Garden State:
Sports betting options and sports markets offered
All three sportsbooks offer:
- Point spreads
- In-play betting
Of the three sportsbooks, playMGM appears to have fewer betting options. It has yet to offer totals, parlays, or some in-play betting found on DraftKings and SugarHouse.
All of the major sports can be found on each of the sites, including:
But there are some differences.
Bettors looking to wager on golf should look at DraftKings and playMGM. Rugby, cricket, and darts are only offered at DraftKings and SugarHouse. And for now, SugarHouse is the only sportsbook to accept wagers on cycling.
Comparing the lines
The lines have been under scrutiny since DraftKings launched mobile sports betting in early August. Much of the dissatisfaction comes from comparing the lines with both legal and illegal global sportsbooks.
PlayMGM has the most US bookmaking experience thanks to years of operation in Nevada. As such, the initial response from sports bettors is that playMGM is offering more favorable lines over DraftKings and SugarHouse.
Going forward, it is likely that the market will help drive the lines. It is an important consideration as the existing sportsbooks gain more competition and settle into normal operations over the next few months.
Separating the boys from the men
Bettors, especially experienced ones, are looking for app innovations that might provide an edge. PlayMGM is the most basic app of the three. It will, at least for now, be banking on its brand name to bring customers on board.
SugarHouse and DraftKings, on the other hand, have several features that are attractive to both novice and more-experienced sports bettors.
SugarHouse is the first casino-sportsbook combination in New Jersey. It has a shared wallet making it easy for customers to switch between casino play and wagering on their favorite sports.
Bettors on the SugarHouse Sportsbook can also find odds displayed in three different ways:
- American (Vegas-style)
- Fractional (horse race-style)
- Decimal (easier for calculating payouts)
Unique sports betting features
SugarHouse online casino-sportsbook brags about more than 5 million in-play betting options and the ability to cash-out early. Essentially, players have the opportunity to minimize losses or earn partial winnings by closing out a bet before the outcome.
DraftKings also has some unique features that will surely be attractive to bettors. So far, customer comments speak very highly of DraftKings Sportsbook’s in-play betting options and the variety the app offers.
Additionally, DraftKings is catering to new sports bettors by offering a Betting Carousel. The feature helps to minimize the potential for being overwhelmed by the number of betting options. The carousel shows a customer the lines they are most likely to bet on.
Mobile sports betting account setup and funding options
Bettors with a PlaySugarHouse or playMGM NJ gambling site account can access the sportsbook through the same account. DraftKings requires bettors to set up a new account.
One important note: Bettors must be physically located in New Jersey to place a wager.
DraftKings has the most limited options to fund a bettors account. It accepts deposits through credit and debit cards, Mastercard and Visa gift cards, as well as PayPal. Withdrawals are processed back to the most recent deposit options or through a check in the mail.
PlayMGM and SugarHouse Sportsbook both offer an extensive list of deposit and withdrawal options including:
- Credit cards
- Debit cards
- PayNearMe via 7-Eleven
- Wire transfer
Additionally, cash can be deposited and withdrawals can be processed through the Borgata Casino Atlantic City cage (playMGM) and the Golden Nugget Atlantic City cage (SugarHouse).
Personal preference may trump all
All mobile sportsbooks so far have user-friendly interfaces and strive to make it easy for a bettor to place a wager.
As the competition continues to grow, every mobile sportsbook will:
- Offer enticing promotions
- Set more competitive lines
- Provide better customer service
- Add more betting options
Sportsbooks are busy trying to grow their New Jersey customer base, too. That means the bettor has an advantage if they decide to shop around.
The industry will gain more competition, and some norms will begin to emerge.
It seems likely that a bettor will deposit their money where they have an existing account. More likely, however, is the choice will boil down to what mobile sportsbook app they prefer.
What’s ahead for NJ sports betting
The sports betting landscape is only going to get more crowded in the coming weeks. College football is underway, and the NFL kicks off in two weeks.
Currently, there are eight retail sportsbooks and three online sportsbooks in New Jersey. Expect more operators to join the fray sooner rather than later.
Specifically, Monmouth Park, and its partner William Hill, recently said they would be ready by football. PokerStars NJ announced it plans to launch BetStars after expanding its relationship with Resorts.
Then there is DraftKings’ daily fantasy sports competitor, FanDuel, and its partner Meadowlands. With a retail sportsbook on the ground where the Jets and Giants play, there is no doubt FanDuel will be online soon, too.
Every operator has high hopes for the sports betting revenue football will bring. One thing is for sure: It is going to be a busy fall in the Garden State.