It’s no secret Barstool Sportsbook & Casino had a New Jersey launch on its 2021 radar. But would it be in time for the start of NFL betting season?

Well, being that the soft launch is officially underway as of Aug. 19, the answer would be yes. However, the quiet launch did not come with a big announcement or press release.

Those who did a search via web browser discovered that the Barstool Sportsbook & Casino website is indeed live. As far as the soft launch news goes, here is the message that appears:

Barstool Sportsbook NJ soft launch schedule

Users who click on the soft launch message that currently appears in the top left corner of the lobby will find more details regarding Barstool’s operating hours and other important details.

The message begins with:

We’re excited to bring Barstool Sportsbook and Casino to New Jersey. During our initial launch, we will be operating under special conditions to abide by state regulations. These conditions will only impact players while they are located within New Jersey.

Here are some of the other restrictions:

  • A limited number of players will be permitted to log in to the platform each day.
  • A player may register for a new account, but will only be logged in if there is open capacity.
  • Permission to log in is issued on a first come, first serve basis at the start of each day’s playing hours.
  • Once you have login permission, you will retain access for the remainder of that day’s playing hours.

The five days of testing, or soft launch, is expected to last through Monday, Aug. 23. Here are the specific operating hours for each day:

  • Thursday 8/19: 2 pm – 10 pm
  • Friday 8/20: 2pm – 10 pm
  • Saturday 8/21: 12 pm – 2 am
  • Sunday 8/22: 12 pm – 12 pm
  • Monday 8/23: 12 pm – 12 pm

Why the Barstool Sportsbook timing makes sense

Barstool was one of several NJ sports betting apps targeted for a 2021 launch.

During an appearance on CNBC earlier this year, Penn CEO Jay Snowden said: “(We will) be live in New Jersey…probably by the end of May.”

Image from Barstool PA launch

OK, mid-August isn’t exactly May. However, having skin in the game for the upcoming NFL regular season is key.

Then there is the Freehold Raceway factor. The nation’s oldest Harness racetrack opened a retail sportsbook last fall. The facility is jointly owned by Penn National and Greenwood Racing, the parent company of Parx.

While NJ sports bettors could place wagers at the Parx-branded sportsbook, the license holder went through the entire 2020 NFL betting season missing out on the online business. And here in New Jersey, this is where 85% to 90% of the betting takes place.

Being that we are now entering the fourth full season since PASPA was overturned, waiting another year didn’t make much sense.

NJ partners for Barstool app

Barstool will be one of the three allotted skins operating under the Freehold license this fall. Penn National co-owns Freehold Raceway, making it a natural partnership.

Parx, already live with an NJ online casino via Ocean Casino Resort, will fill one slot. The other one belongs to PlayUp, based out of Australia. The latter company is awaiting final DGE approval.

The Barstool online casino, on the other hand, occupies the final skin under the Resorts Digital license.

So for now, count Barstool as NJ sports betting app No. 20, going fully live just after Betway, which soft-launched just days before Barstool. However, others will likely be joining them soon.

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.