It has been one busy summer in New Jersey.
So many huge headlines crossed the news feed that we lost count. Between Atlantic City casino news and legalized sports betting, it’s hard to imagine anything else happened.
In any case, here are the top 10 headlines from a busy summer of fun in the Garden State:
1. Legalized sports betting finally becomes reality
No headline impacted New Jersey more than the state winning its case against the NCAA and major sports leagues after a long seven-year battle. Soon after the Supreme Court overturned PASPA, New Jersey rushed to get regulations passed so the first sportsbooks could launch.
Monmouth Park Sports Book by William Hill hosted the ceremonial first bet on June 14. The Borgata Sportsbook opened its doors less than an hour later.
2. Two new hotel-casinos open
Optimism is high on the Boardwalk, and much of that comes from the resurrection of two properties from the casino graveyard.
The former Trump Taj Mahal and Revel Casino Hotel have a new chance at life as Hard Rock Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino, respectively.
On June 28, after many millions of dollars and months of speculation, Hard Rock smashed guitars and Ocean Resort cut some ribbons to welcome guests to the party of the season.
3. The first mobile sportsbook launches
In the end, DraftKings was the only live mobile sports betting app for three weeks, giving the daily fantasy sports giant a definite advantage.
As mentioned there are currently five online and mobile sports betting operators, including SugarHouse Sportsbook, the first casino-sportsbook combination in the state. And FanDuel Sportsbook joined the stage on Sept. 1, though it is still in soft launch mode.
Expect more mobile sportsbooks to launch as regular-season football gets underway.
4. Live dealer games surge
The first phase of the live dealer game expansion began earlier this year and included:
Then, European live dealer game heavyweight, Evolution Gaming received approval from the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement and quickly brought three more casinos online:
That makes eight NJ gambling sites that host live dealer games. Two live dealer game studios in Atlantic City are helping create a new standard in the online casino market.
5. Casino and technology partnerships dominate the headlines
It seemed as if a day did not pass without an announcement of a new partnership between a software company, a technology firm, and/or a casino.
At a time when a casino having an online presence is not an option, partnering with the technology to get them online helps make that process less painful.
Some of the important partnership news this summer included:
- Ocean Resort and William Hill US
- Hard Rock and bet365
- Paddy Power Betfair and FanDuel
- Resorts and DraftKings
- Golden Nugget and SBTech
- MGM and the NBA
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
6. Casino employment highest since 2014
More than 30,000 employees showed up for work at AC casinos in July.
Not since 2014 has the Boardwalk generated such a strong employment figure. Two new casinos and record revenues are most likely responsible for Atlantic City resident’s mass return to work.
7. Another closed AC casino coming back to life
Stockton University‘s board of trustees gave university President Harvey Kesselman approval to buy the shuttered Atlantic Club.
Should negotiations be successful, Stockton will create a “learning community” that includes academic and residential facilities.
The Atlantic Club shut its doors in 2014, part of a wave of closures that include the Taj.
8. A big gain in monthly revenues
In July, New Jersey gaming revenue topped $300 million for the first time since the same month in 2010.
The report included revenue from the first full month of sports betting and the first whole month of operations for Hard Rock and Ocean Resort.
Even so, it took all three gaming markets to make that figure happen.
Here’s the breakdown of the $302.1 million in revenue:
- Land-based casino revenue: $272.3 million
- Online gambling revenue: $25.9 million
- Sports betting revenue: $3.8 million
9. Atlantic City readying for esports
Economic opportunity in Atlantic City is on the upswing.
Two new casinos, putting workers back to work, and strong revenue numbers from the gaming industry will do that.
Of course, good economic news begets more good news. The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and Continent 8 signed an agreement that will have Continent 8 providing new data center services.
A robust data center inside the Atlantic City Convention Center will open up the region to more opportunities beyond gaming and tourism. One key industry the city has its eyes on is the popular esports industry.
With the infrastructure to support esports competitions, Atlantic City becomes an attractive option for the growing niche.
10. NJ online poker player wins a gold bracelet from home
New Jersey resident, Matt “mendey” Mendez, earned a World Series of Poker bracelet while playing poker online at his Sicklerville home.
It’s the first time in WSOP history that a player won a gold bracelet while playing in the Garden State.
The summer poker series welcomes players from around the world to the Nevada desert every year.
Thanks to the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement, it expanded its reach to include the Garden State. Mendez played his way through 1,223 entries to claim the top prize of $135,078.
It is not all a bed of roses
The news from New Jersey this summer was more good than bad. However, that doesn’t mean that it was all good. The state had its share of mishaps, as well.
To round out our trip down memory lane, we’ll soon bring you the stories that many wish didn’t make headlines.