The Hard Rock Atlantic City sportsbook now has a seating area for customers to enjoy the full NJ sports betting experience.

Phase two of the retail space is fully operational as of today.

And this is not an April Fool’s joke. Hard Rock shared the news via a press release. Joe Lupo, president of Hard Rock Atlantic City, commented on the latest addition.

“It’s an exciting time for our property as we open up the second phase of our sportsbook amplifying this amenity for guests in time for an eventful weekend in basketball.

“This unveiling is one of the many positive changes our property is making as we gear up for a busy and eventful summer.”

The expanded 3,800square-foot space includes:

  • 50 seats
  • 60 TVs
  •  Full-service bar with video poker slots.

Perfect timing for Final Four betting

The opening coincides with the tail end of March Madness betting. The Final Four is taking place in Minneapolis this weekend. And VirginiaTexas Tech, Auburn, and Michigan State are still in the mix.

The new seating area is located footsteps away from the slot machines. Customers could be seen watching sports events inside the space Saturday afternoon.

The unveiling matches the “end of March” timeline Lupo shared with NJ Gambling Sites last month.

Some might say Hard Rock AC is missing the boat on major NJ sports betting events. Traditionally, the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament draws the biggest sports betting crowds.

With this being the first year March Madness betting is legal in NJ, this year’s event came with extra excitement.

But there are still two games on Saturday night followed by Monday’s National Championship Game. Arguably, these last three games of March Madness 2019 will be the most watched.

Hard Rock + NJ sports betting

The Hard Rock brand comes with international recognition. Since opening in Atlantic City on June 27, the property’s entertainment offerings have been front and center.

While neighboring Ocean Resort Casino, which opened the same day, offered sports betting from the start, Hard Rock AC did not.

And months went by without much detail on its NJ sports betting plans.

That changed earlier this year. Its mobile sports betting app powered by Gaming Innovation Group launched on Jan. 26. The retail betting windows opened on Jan. 30, just making the Super Bowl betting cut.

But the lack of seats had customers betting on the Big Game at neighboring Atlantic City sportsbooksThe much larger DraftKings Sportsbook at Resorts and William Hill Sportsbook at Ocean Resort were in full swing during the Super Bowl.

But will the lounge-like setup be enough to attract bettors to the expanded Hard Rock sportsbook? Hard to say.

Hard Rock emphasizes mobile, not retail

Looking at Hard Rock’s NJ sports betting portfolio, and it seems clear mobile is the focus.

Considering $563,806,320 of the $705,608,486 year to date handle has come from mobile sportsbook apps, Hard Rock AC’s game plan makes sense.

The Hard Rock mobile sportsbook is integrated into its previously existing casino app. It means there is already an established customer base.

Plus, at some point this year, two of its partners are expected to join the NJ online sports betting market.

Unibet NJ and bet365 NJ both have land-based partnerships with Hard Rock Atlantic City. Each NJ sports betting license holder is permitted to have three online skins.

There are currently 13 mobile sports betting apps available in the Garden State.

Hard Rock, at least from an online sports betting perspective, will be showing a full house.

Bill Gelman

About

Bill Gelman is a veteran sports writer based just outside of Philadelphia and not too far from the Jersey Shore. Bill spends time in Atlantic City writing about casino openings and expansions, special events and world championship boxing at Boardwalk Hall. He is now adding NJ sports betting and online gambling to the mix.