RSI’s successful SugarHouse online casino platform will remain under Golden Nugget’s interactive gaming license.
Even if Rush Street wanted to keep its platforms under the same license, only Atlantic City casinos can offer online casino and poker games, which means Monmouth Park is not eligible for an Interactive Gambling License.
NBA restrictions were the impetus for the move
According to EGR, the decision was made because of the restrictions on NBA wagers imposed on Golden Nugget sportsbooks.
Golden Nugget owner Tilman Fertitta is also the owner of the NBA’s Houston Rockets. Under New Jersey regulations, casino owners with a major interest in a sports team cannot accept wagers on that team’s league.
That restriction isn’t as severe in other legal sports betting markets.
Golden Nugget also operates a sportsbook in Nevada where it’s only prohibited from offering wagers on Houston Rockets games. The company was hoping to convince New Jersey to adopt a similar policy over time.
SugarHouse’s decision to abandon Golden Nugget could cause the DGE to rethink the fairness of its NBA-wide restriction. But in some ways, the damage is already done.
The NBA ban will hamper Golden Nugget sportsbook
Golden Nugget is the runaway leader in the NJ online casino market, but the prohibition on NBA betting is going to make it difficult for Golden Nugget to replicate its online casino success in the NJ sports betting market.
Basketball is one of the most popular sports. NBA bets accounted for around 15 percent of all sports betting wagers in Nevada.
That means Golden Nugget sportsbook is not only missing out on that revenue but as Rush Street’s jump to Monmouth Park demonstrates, it makes it a less-appealing partner.
Not the first platform to move to a new licensee
The seeming ease PlaySugarHouse shifted to another licensee may seem shocking, but it’s a relatively simple matter.
Decoupling an independent platform from the main license is a painless procedure that involves little more than some paperwork.
A similar situation occurred in 2014 when the closure of Trump Plaza left its online casino partner Betfair without a partner casino.
The DGE allowed Betfair to continue operating under the Trump Plaza license after the casino closed. This gave the company time to find a new home.
Betfair first found a temporary home under Caesars Interactive Gambling License before finding a permanent home at Golden Nugget. The licenses shifts never caused an interruption in operation for Betfair’s NJ gambling site.