Bet On Shaq? Former NBA Star Could Make Ceremonial First Bet At New Borgata Sportsbook

What are the odds that a former NBA All-Star places the first official bet at Moneyline Bar & Book?

More specifically, what is the line that “Diesel” (aka Shaquille O’Neal) will be first in line to place that bet? He is scheduled to make an appearance on June 28 at Premier Nightclub at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.

And the much-anticipated sportsbook is opening on June 29.

Specifics about the grand opening are being kept under wraps. When we reached out to Borgata, a spokesperson said it will be announcing more details as the date approaches.

Those details may or may not include a possibility of a Shaq appearance at the Borgata sportsbook. As we said, it’s all hush-hush right now.

But talk about a major coincidence.

Shaq at Borgata sportsbook? Perhaps

The idea of having a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame make a sports wager is not as crazy as it sounds.

Rewind to June 14 of last year. Former Philadelphia 76er Julius “Dr. J” Erving made the first official legal sports bet in Atlantic City history.

And it took place at the Borgata Race & Sports Book.

For those wondering what the bet was, here’s the video courtesy of

So it’s not necessarily a huge stretch to think that Shaq will make an appearance at the new sportsbook’s grand opening.

He is already scheduled to be there sporting his alter ego, Diesel. A quick walk from the nightclub to the Moneyline sportsbook is totally feasible.

NJ sports betting rewind

NJ sports betting is a different story as its one-year anniversary rapidly approaches. In 2018, the focus was on getting fully operational in time for the NFL regular season.

Last September, the number of NJ mobile sports betting apps stood at single digits. DraftKing Sportsbook got the ball rolling on Aug. 6. And playMGM Sport followed on Aug. 22. The market-leading FanDuel app launched on Sept. 1.

The focus for the second year seems to be shifting to bigger and better.

And nearly a year later, the online sports betting tally is at 14 and counting. BorgataSports is the newest online sportsbook to join the party, launching May 14.

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Moneyline vs. Race & Sports

When Moneyline opens, Borgata will have 8,000 square feet of space dedicated to sports wagering. Sports bettors will no longer have to worry about what horse races are being shown.

The racebook will stay where it is and do what it does best: horse betting.

One of the highlights of the new space will be the 40-foot wide by 11.5-foot tall LED video wall. Plus there will be six betting windows and interactive sports betting kiosks purely dedicated to the sports betting customer.

And the horse wagering crowd will finally have their old space back to themselves.

Borgata remains the only Atlantic City casino with its own racebook. And with the Belmont Stakes taking place on June 8, there is still a big draw.

Countdown to Borgata sportsbook opening

Moneyline is one of three new sportsbooks opening in AC this summer.

Caesars Entertainment is replacing temporary spaces at Harrah’s and Bally’s Wild Wild West Casino with much larger digs.

You can see the full details of the Bally’s book here.

But how will they measure up to the potential star power associated with Borgata? The casino is at the top of the AC casino revenue mountain and draws a huge crowd.

And at 7-foot-1, Shaq is a very big deal.

As to whether or not Shaq aka Diesel places the first bet, that’s a hopeful unknown for now. But if he does, it’ll be hard to miss.

About the Author

Bill Gelman

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.