Borgata Atlantic City is betting on the moneyline.

In this particular case, however, we are not talking about taking the Philadelphia Phillies over the Atlanta Braves straight up.

Moneyline Bar & Book is the MGM-owned property’s answer to land-based New Jersey sports betting.

The official unveiling took place during Friday night’s grand opening party. Former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal even made a guest appearance. But he wasn’t exactly there to bet.

shaq borgata sportsbook atlantic city

Those expecting a Las Vegas-style sportsbook are likely going to be disappointed. Borgata’s concept is completely different from the rest of the market.

The basic description is an 8,000 square foot sports bar that doubles as a sportsbook. Sorry folks, no stadium seating here.

Marcus Glover, COO and president of Borgata, took it all in at last week’s event and was quick to note that “it looks better in person than the conceptual renderings.”

Doing things the Borgata way

Let’s be clear: Moneyline is more than just another sportsbook.

Yes, bars like this 35-foot-long bar with 19 built-in slot machines centers are common at most sportsbooks.

But the restaurant setting with a waitstaff is what makes it unique. The Borgata team started discussing the plans about two years ago.

“We knew we didn’t want to build a traditional sportsbook like you would see in Las Vegas,” Glover said.

“We felt we needed something to anchor, one, this side of the property, but something that could also anchor seven days a week, 24 hours a day. That’s what you see in this space.”

While there are plenty of food and drink options on the menu, customers have the option of placing bets and watching the games. There are shuffleboard and foosball tables, too.

Race & Sports or Moneyline?

Those seeking more of a traditional sportsbook setting still have the Race & Sports Book across the way. Horse racing and betting tends to dominate that room.

It’s the same space that served as Borgata’s temporary sportsbook. And it’s where the first legal bet in Atlantic City history took place.

Tom Gable, director of race and sportsbook operations, explained the difference between the two spaces.

“You have the traditional handicapping room for the Race and Sports Book. … Now we have this room that is obviously a very social atmosphere.”

And “social” might be putting it lightly.

Moneyline offers the sports betting crowd a chance to eat, drink, bet on, and watch the games. There is a bar across the way, too, but the entertainment experience is just a tad different.

Plus, Borgata unveiled the new Level One Cocktail Bar & Lounge nightlife experience, complete with blackjack tables, that connects to Moneyline.

“We have two totally opposite end of the spectrum experiences, but it’s really great to offer them under one roof,” Gable said.

Borgata sportsbooks: comparing spaces

There will be plenty of curious customers looking to check out Moneyline, especially when the NFL preseason gets underway on Aug. 1.

Others may prefer to stick with the more traditional wagering setting. Here are the highlights of the two spaces:

Race & Sports Book

  • 100 seats with individual flat-screen monitors
  • 10 betting windows
  • Kiosks available for horse racing bets
  • Video wall with screens to view live events
  • A completely nonsmoking atmosphere
  • Boot & Whip, an in-venue bar

Moneyline Bar & Book

  • A 40-foot wide by 11.5-foot tall LED video wall
  • 144 seats
  • Self-betting kiosks
  • Full-service food and drink menu
  • 17 additional 98-inch and 86-inch displays
  • Banquet seating in the VIP lounge
  • Six betting windows

NJ gaining upper handle on Nevada

The opening of Moneyline comes at a very exciting time in NJ sports betting history. Yes, celebrating year one of the first legal sports wager in the Garden State was a pretty big deal.

However, the bigger story was last week’s news that New Jersey took the sports betting crown from Nevada. We are talking a handle of $318,940,677 for NJ versus $317,380,281.69 for the Silver State.

The Borgata executive team knew the day would eventually come, just maybe not one year into the game.

marcus glover borgata ac sportsbook

Had somebody walked up to Glover on June 14 of last year with such a prediction, his likely response would’ve been: “I wouldn’t have thought that it would’ve happened that fast.

“I would have thought it inevitable that it would occur. It has taken off. We have a population density to really take advantage of an offering like sports wagering. “

Stepping up its NJ sports betting game

The opening of Moneyline puts Borgata on a level playing field with the rest of the NJ sports betting crowd.

It joined Harrah’s Atlantic City and Bally’s Atlantic City in unveiling new spaces during the prime season at the Jersey Shore. (Here is a comparison of the three sportsbooks.)

It’s no secret FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook are leading the pack. However, opening a new sportsbook and heavily promoting the new BorgataSports app are signs that Borgata is upping its ante.

“It’s funny,” Glover said. “Our permanent space wasn’t open. We had the Racebook somewhat masquerading as a sportsbook, probably in a more traditional fashion.

“I still think we held our own in land-based operation in terms of volume compared to the rest of the market where they had their permanent operation going.”

Borgata is now showing its full sports betting hand in which customers have multiple ways of placing bets.

Besides the two sportsbooks, there are PlayMGM sportsbook and the previously mentioned BorgataSports apps, which launched on May 14.

Glover has every reason to think that the Borgata sportsbook will be on a new trajectory come the fall.

“Now that we have our full complement of offerings, we feel very good about our circumstances heading into what we feel is going to be the most luminous time of the year in terms of betting transactions for us,” Glover said.

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.