Yes, it’s late May, but Hard Rock Atlantic City is gearing up for football season.

Those plans will likely include the launch of two new NJ mobile sports betting platforms before the NFL’s first regular-season game is played. (That’s the Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears on Sept. 5, for those keeping tabs.)

NJ Gambling Sites sat down with Hard Rock AC president Joe Lupo last week at the Lobby Bar. He shared a “hopeful” launch timeline for the casino’s NJ sports betting partners Unibet (from Kindred) and Bet365:

“We hope to see Unibet here pretty soon. I will just say in the next 30 days. And we hope to see Bet365  before football season.

“We are extremely excited about both. They are working with us. They are working very hard as well to get up and going before fall hits.”

And a few days later, after a testing period, Unibet did officially launch in New Jersey. It became the 21st online casino in NJ and the first in the US for Kindred.

More on the Unibet online casino launch

Unibet’s announcement follows a beta testing period in NJ that kicked off

A Twitter message obtained by NJGS last week confirmed Lupo’s timeline. Here is a snippet from the message about an NJ-exclusive beta test:

“Unibet Online Casino is launching in New Jersey, and we just need some testers to come play on our site …”

But the site is only an online casino… for now. The online sportsbook for Unibet NJ is still in the works.

Unibet hinted at a July time frame for that part of the NJ online gambling site.

And once the sportsbook officially launches, customers will have access to a virtual shared wallet.

Hard Rock’s full quota of NJ sportsbook apps

When Bet365 does launch alongside Unibet, Hard Rock will have all three online skin slots filled, as permitted by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

The other belongs to the Hard Rock-branded sports app powered by Gaming Innovation Group. That one has been online since Jan. 26 and shares a wallet with Hard Rock online casino.

Something exciting is in the works with the Hard Rock app, too.

Lupo is not willing to go into the specifics just yet, but he did provide NJGS with a little teaser.

“We have a couple things we are going to probably speak to in  about 30 to 60 days that will really be new to the market. And we are really excited about it.”

Hard Rock, NJ sports betting and the NFL

For those Hard Rock sports betting customers desiring more than what the current 3,800-square-foot space offers, be patient.

Fans were able to take a seat at the tail end of March Madness betting season (sports wagering windows opened days before the Super Bowl).

But like the new sportsbooks opening at Bally’s, Borgata and Harrah’s, Hard Rock is working on something special behind the scenes. And like the big one-year anniversary plans for June 28, customers will have to wait a tad longer to learn more.

Pencil in NFL and college football season for the big reveal. And the focus will be on “providing a better viewing experience.”

Here are the details Lupo was willing to share at this point:

“We are working on a different phase where we will be able to show more games here on property.”

In other words, he is talking about those football fans coming to watch the games on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. The idea is to keep these customers on property.

“There is room to expand (the current space). We are coming up with another idea to have a lot more viewing for football,” Lupo said.

Like the app launches mentioned above, we’ll simply have to stay tuned.

Will TheScore join Unibet and Bet365 this fall?

The current NJ sports betting app count is at 14. BorgataSports is the newest addition to the party (launching May 14).

But Unibet and Bet365 may not be the only additions to the NJ sports betting party this fall.

TheScore (from Bet.Works and partner Monmouth) continues to make a big social media push that references a pending launch.

We reached out to the company for a status check, and a spokesperson said there is “no firm timeline to share publicly.”

But if Unibet, Bet365, and TheScore all launch before football season, hitting 20 this year could still be a realistic possibility.

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.