March Madness betting gets underway officially on Sunday night — Selection Sunday.
The official NCAA Tournament bracket will be released that night and the game of correctly predicting the Final Four begins. And, oh yes, legal NJ sports betting will also be in full swing.
New Jersey’s 10 retail sportsbooks and 13 mobile online sportsbook platforms are licensed, and for the first time, approved to take wagers. And business is about to pick up.
Can you say all-day sports betting?
But is it better wagering at the betting window or via one of the mobile platforms? There are pros and cons to both, advantages and disadvantages.
So, before you drive to the Meadowlands or open up that FanDuel Sportsbook app, here are some factors to consider.
NJ sports betting + March Madness
Where do things stand in New Jersey sports betting? It’s home to 23 total sportsbook options.
Online sportsbook apps
|Online Sportsbook||Land-Based Affiliate||Android App?||iOS App?|
|SugarHouse Sportsbook||Monmouth Park||Yes||Yes|
|Hard Rock||Hard Rock AC||Yes||Yes|
|Resorts Sportsbook||Resorts AC||Yes||Yes|
|BetAmerica||Golden Nugget AC||Yes||Yes|
|Golden Nugget sportsbook||Golden Nugget AC||Yes||Yes|
Retail sportsbook locations
|Casino/Racetrack||Sportsbook Name||Launch Date||Open?|
|Borgata||Borgata Race & Sports Bar||June 14||Yes|
|Monmouth Park||Monmouth Park Sports Book by William Hill||June 14||Yes|
|Ocean Resort Casino||William Hill Sportsbook @ Ocean||June 28||Yes|
|Resorts||DraftKings Sportsbook at Resorts||Aug. 15||Yes|
|Meadowlands||FanDuel Sportsbook||July 14||Yes|
|Harrah's||The Book||Aug. 1||Yes|
|Bally's||Wild Wild West Sportsbook||July 30||Yes|
|Golden Nugget||The Sports Book||Aug. 15||Yes|
|Hard Rock Atlantic City||Hard Rock Sportsbook||Jan. 30||Yes|
|Tropicana||William Hill Sports Book at Tropicana Atlantic City||Oct. 25||Yes|
Reasons to use NJ sports betting apps
Comforts of home
It’s easy to get in the car and drive to your favorite Atlantic City casino or New Jersey racetrack. But wagering from home saves time and money (at least in terms of gas, tolls and parking).
Watching the NCAA Tournament games from home while having access to all of the NJ mobile sportsbooks listed above is a combination that is hard to beat. Only in New Jersey.
Technically speaking, there are lines (aka odds), but using the mobile and online platforms means bypassing the lines at the betting windows and kiosks.
There are no excuses for missing that moneyline bet before the opening tip in the first round. If that digital bet slip is a winner, cashing in is even easier.
Are you running low? You don’t have to run to a casino cage or retail sportsbook to deposit.
Like shopping for clothes or a new car, finding the best odds sometimes requires a little shopping around. Compare two apps or all 13, but it’s not just about the odds.
The majority of NJ mobile online sportsbooks have promos and bonus offers for new customers, including up to a $500 risk-free bet at BetStars NJ or $25 free from DraftKings, that will make betting on March Madness games even more attractive.
Even then, online sportsbooks will likely have odds boosts, special prop bets and event offers during the tournament.
That’s not to say NJ sportsbook locations won’t have offers but sifting through each app is far more convenient than going to each sportsbook and scoping out the odds.
Best of both betting worlds
When visiting one of the Garden State’s retail sportsbooks, there is no rule that bets need to be made at the window or kiosk.
Betting from your mobile device is permitted right from the comforts of that stadium-style seat.
The added bonus is the viewing experience is one that cannot be matched at home. So sit back, relax, watch the game and bet on the app. It’s a win-win.
Reasons to visit an NJ retail sportsbook
Time to charge the battery again
One of the downsides of betting with a mobile device is the battery life only lasts so long until the green-colored symbol gets drained down to yellow and red.
By the time the Thursday and Friday night games come around, the iOS or Android device could be working on borrowed time. If you plan on using the apps for March Madness betting, keep that charger handy at all times.
Retail sportsbooks are equipped with charging stations, but betting backup plans B and C are just footsteps away.
Down goes the internet
Depending on where you are watching the NCAA Tournament games, there is the possibility that a weak Wi-Fi signal will slow down the betting process.
Even worse, there is that outside risk — no matter where you are watching the game — that the internet goes down. A weak signal means slower geolocation confirmation and results in a delayed wagering process.
But if you’re on location at the DraftKings Sportsbook at Resorts, for instance, that weak Wi-Fi signal becomes a nonissue. The games, and betting windows, are all around you.
Even if you’re watching the college basketball games with friends or coworkers, there is something unique about a retail sportsbook scene during a bit sports event.
The new William Hill Sportsbook at Tropicana that opened on Friday features nearly 200 linear feet and 1,654 square feet of video display.
Where else can you watch 16 games at once with a standing-room-only crowd of fans?
Thrill of victory
Part of what makes March Madness different from the other major sporting events are those Cinderella stories.
Like when you bet on that No. 12 seed to upset the No. 5 seed or the No. 1 seed getting knocked out in the first round (We’re looking at you, Virginia vs. UMBC.).
Then it’s time to go cash in the winning ticket. And celebrate with other bettors around you.
Sounds more exciting than watching digital cash appear magically on the smartphone screen, right?
March Madness party vibe
Casinos and racetracks are well aware that the NCAA Tournament is one of the busiest times of year on the NJ sports betting calendar.
As a result, the properties with retail sportsbooks will likely have special events planned. You can bet (pun intended) that those events will be worth attending if you want to experience March Madness with legal sports betting.