New Jersey is now home to eight retail and eight online sportsbooks, and there are more to come. The fight to win a sports bettor’s business is fierce and extremely competitive, especially with NFL season underway.
Every NJ sports betting site is rolling out the promotions, implementing new betting features, and trying to provide the best lines in the hopes of building a prolific and loyal customer base.
As legalized sports betting takes the country by storm, it stands to reason a lot of new sports bettors will be entering the marketplace. It also stands to reason that promotions, features, and competitive lines might not be enough to convince them to place their first sports wager.
Often, it is the customer service of a company that will help attract and retain loyal customers. Poor customer service can impact a company’s bottom line. Excellent customer service, on the other hand, can earn a company a customer for life.
Knowing that customer service in the nascent NJ sports betting industry is essential, we decided to evaluate the response times and customer service for New Jersey’s eight online sportsbooks:
- DraftKings Sportsbook
- SugarHouse Sportsbook
- FanDuel Sportsbook
- BetStars NJ
- 888 Sport
- William Hill NJ
The NJ sports betting customer service evaluation process
The operators are contactable by either phone, chat, and/or email. Some can be contacted through all three avenues, but not all.
Each, however, had customer service email links on their websites. To evaluate everyone on a level playing field, we chose to ask a series of questions via email.
Money was the topic most asked about when talking to several new sports bettors over the past few weeks.
- Is my money safe?
- What’s the best way to deposit?
- How long after I submit a withdrawal do I receive my money?
While those questions might seem easy to answer for an avid sports bettor, someone new to the activity is looking for some reassurances.
The next most significant area of concern for a new sports bettor is how to know they are getting the best deal and what to do if they make a mistake.
- Can I cancel or change my bet if I make a mistake?
- How do I know your site is offering the best odds?
- Do you match odds from other sites?
We ended with a few questions that might tip an NJ sports bettor toward one site over another:
- Do you have a loyalty program?
- Why bet on your site?
Customer service response times were mostly impressive
We compiled an email, sent it off, and waited for replies. Here is a summary of what we found:
- Some books were thorough and personable in their responses; some were not
- Some sportsbooks failed to reply or follow-through
- Other sportsbooks had impressive customer service response times
Every operator sent out a standard automatic reply letting us know they would get back to us within 24 hours. But what happened next left us impressed.
For quickness and in-depth answers? BetStars wins
The winner in the race against the clock was BetStars NJ. A company representative answered the money- and site-related questions within 30 minutes.
A betting specialist came back to us with the remaining responses within nine hours. Knowing that a specialist answered the betting questions provided a level of confidence in the answers not realized with the other companies.
Caesars responded within two hours and playMGM in under five. On the longer side was DraftKings at 10 hours and 888 Sport at 15.
FanDuel started off strong with its initial reply arriving in just 90 minutes. The representative asked if we were aware that we had to be in New Jersey to sports bet. We replied “yes” and then never heard from the company again.
As of the writing of the article, three days passed since sending the original email. PlaySugarHouse and William Hill NJ have yet to respond. And before you ask, yes, we checked our junk mail.
Some responses were more thorough than others
To be honest, the actual answers provided aren’t as important as how each company dealt with the questions.
For instance, let’s look at the question, “What’s the best way to deposit?”
A response of “it’s up to you” is not very customer-service friendly. In that case, DraftKings and 888 Sport failed the test.
BetStars, Caesars, and playMGM, however, all provided a specific deposit method and explained which method provided the fastest deposit and withdrawal times. PlayMGM went a step further and ranked their deposit methods in order of ease.
Most of the other questions in the emails received responses quoted from the site’s terms. That is always a safe way to go.
A chance to sell their NJ online sportsbook
Surprisingly, though, the answers to the very subjective, “Why bet on your site?” were somewhat disappointing.
It was an opportune time for the companies to sell their sportsbook. For a sports bettor that is on the fence, it could mean the difference of creating an account or going somewhere else.
888 Sport didn’t answer the question, and DraftKings might as well not have with their response: “I cannot persuade you to choose our site over another.”
Caesars and playMGM did better by touting their experience and range of games. Once again, it was BetStars NJ that came out on top:
“We pride ourselves on offering the best product on the market and assure you through comparison, no other sites match us with layout and promotions. We are sure you will be pleased with our product.”
For the record, of the five sportsbooks that answered our inquiry, only one has a loyalty program and that is Caesars and its Total Rewards program. All of them, however, referred us to their website to view their latest promotions.
Areas for improvement
New Jersey is the first big test of a regulated and legal sports betting market outside of Nevada.
Yes, there are other markets, but they are small in comparison. Pennsylvania, however, is likely to be next and it is 33 percent larger than the Garden State.
There is a tremendous opportunity for online sportsbooks to capitalize on the impending growth. It will likely begin with their customer service department.
In case anyone out there is listening, here are some suggestions:
- Answer every email. And for the record, most people are willing to wait a little longer for a thorough and complete response.
- Stop the one-to-many rote responses and answer questions one-on-one.
- Sell your product, because if you don’t, someone else will sell theirs.
- Be generous with resource links and educational information. If someone is in the know about sports betting, they will disregard it. But for someone new, the sportsbook will seem to be helpful and customer-focused.
And in the end, isn’t that what it’s all about?
Sure legal NJ sports betting is the name of the game, but there isn’t a company without the bettors placing wagers.
Summary of NJ online sportsbook customer service
|Online Sportsbook||Money Questions||Betting Questions||General Questions||Time To Respond|
|DraftKings Sportsbook||Needs improvement||Adequate||Needs improvement||10 hours|
|888 Sport||Needs improvement||Adequate||Did not answer||15 hours|
|FanDuel Sportsbook||N/A||N/A||N/A||90 minutes*|
|SugarHouse Sportsbook||N/A||N/A||N/A||No response*|
|BetStars NJ||Adequate||Thorough||Thorough||30 minutes|
|Caesars||Adequate||Adequate||Adequate||Within two hours|
|PlayMGM||Thorough||Adequate||Adequate||Under five hours|
|William Hill NJ||N/A||N/A||N/A||No response|
*Note: SugarHouse and FanDuel both responded to the initial email inquiries after this article was published. SugarHouse was very thorough and personable in its responses. However, FanDuel was responding to a followup question. The sportsbook was adequate in its second response.