What Are The Odds? New Jersey Sportsbooks Gear Up For The Return Of MLS

The odds are on the board at New Jersey sportsbooks for the MLS is Back Tournament. Who are the favorites? Depends on which book you look at.

Major League Soccer was just two weeks into its 25th season when the decision was made to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

League and team officials have been working to come up with a plan that would bring the season back in a way that is safe for players and exciting for fans.

The result of this is the MLS is Back Tournament, which will take place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando from July 8 to Aug. 11.

And NJ sports betting apps have the odds up and ready to roll.

How the MLS is Back Tournament works

The World Cup-style tournament will have all 26 MLS teams split into six groups, three per conference.

It features a continuous schedule of matches nearly every day, with games beginning at 9 a.m., 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. EST. The majority of the matches are played in the evening.

The Eastern Conference will have one group of six and two groups of four. The Western Conference consists of three groups of four teams.

Each team will play three games. The top three teams from Group A and the top two teams from Groups B–F, plus the next three teams with the overall highest point totals, will advance to the Round of 16.

The winning team will get a slot in the CONCACAF Champions League. Each tournament game counts as a regular-season game, so the stakes are very high in this tournament.

MLS odds at NJ sportsbooks

Most New Jersey sportsbook apps have future odds for potential winners of the MLS is Back tournament.

We included odds from four NJ apps:

Here are a few of the teams that oddsmakers in NJ are predicting to be major players in the MLS tournament. All odds as of June 30.

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Los Angeles Football Club

Coming off of the best regular season in MLS history, the LAFC was poised to build off of that in 2020.

Led by reigning MVP Carlos Vela, the team was 1-0-1 before the shutdown and are the favorites.

The only real challenge in their group is their crosstown rivals LA Galaxy. With their depth plus having an experienced coach in Bob Bradley, it’s win or bust for the LAFC.

NJ sportsbooks have the LAFC winning the MLS is Back Tournament at:

DraftKingsFanDuelPointsBetSugarHouse
+350+500+500+350

Toronto Football Club

The Toronto FC are the defending Eastern Conference champions. They had a bit of luck during the break, as they got back midfielder Michael Bradley from injury with only two games missed.

Having Bradley back and a very easy group draw puts the Toronto FC in the driver’s seat.

NJ sportsbooks have the Toronto FC winning the MLS is Back Tournament at:

DraftKingsFanDuelPointsBetSugarHouse
+900+1400+1400+900

Seattle Sounders

The Seattle Sounders are the reigning MLS Cup champions, so they have recent experience with tournament play.

They will be playing in a weak group with FC Dallas, San Jose and Vancouver. They should cruise to the knockout stage.

It will be there where Seattle’s offense, led by Jordan Morris, will be needed for any chance to bring home the title.

NJ sports betting sites have the Seattle Sounders winning the MLS is Back Tournament at:

DraftKingsFanDuelPointsBetSugarHouse
+1600+800+800+1600

Atlanta United

Since its inception just four years ago, Atlanta United has made an impact on the league and will be looking to continue the trend in this tournament.

However, they will be without star forward Josef Martinez, as he suffered a torn ACL during the early part of the season.

If they can get past a group that includes Eastern Conference mainstays Columbus and the New York Red Bulls, ATL can make a splash in the Round of 16.

Sportsbooks have Atlanta United winning the MLS is Back Tournament at:

DraftKingsFanDuelPointsBetSugarHouse
+1100+750+900+1100

Gambling, Tourism Take Spotlight Ahead Of Planned Reopening Of Atlantic City Casinos

Atlantic City casinos have safety plans in place, and masks will be required indoors, but what other steps are there to keep tourists safe?

The shutdown of Atlantic City casinos due to the COVID-19 pandemic has already made an impact on the state.

AC’s nine casinos are forced to rely on just NJ online gambling to bring in any bit of income.

While online play has grown exponentially during the past three months, the casinos have seen an 86% year-over-year total income drop.

And it’s not just the casinos that are feeling the pain from this shutdown.  The state of New Jersey as a whole is taking a hit from the steep loss of tax revenue.

There are plenty of reasons to worry about the future of entertainment and tourism in the state, too.

And the big question boils down to safety.

How can Atlantic City, the state’s tourism hub, stay safe enough so that people want to travel there in the future?

NJ Assembly panel discusses tourism and COVID-19

To that end, a panel discussion was held in Trenton on June 25 where all of those concerns were addressed.

Casino representatives, along with people from the summer rental, live entertainment and tourism industries, met to discuss the impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had so far and how they can keep visitors safe.

Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, chair of the state Assembly’s Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee, shared the concerns that were raised during the meeting in a statement that said in part:

“Tourism and hospitality are vital industries in New Jersey, bringing in over 100 million visitors every year, producing (billions) of dollars in revenue and providing nearly 10 percent of the jobs throughout our state.”

Luckily for Atlantic City, Gov. Phil Murphy announced that casinos can reopen at 25% capacity on July 2. All patrons will have to wear a mask, and screenings will be done as well.

This news was followed on Monday by the governor canceling plans to reopen indoor dining on July 2.

Caputo went on to say that “Gaming and the arts have made significant contributions to our state’s culture and economy.” The state has a wide range of beaches, casinos, cuisine and more, but “all of these have been greatly impacted by COVID-19.”

‘Successful steps’ to keep casinos safe

New Jersey has been one of the more cautious states in regard to reopening places due to the pandemic.

State officials are not messing around about maintaining the downward trend of cases, even going as far as suing a city to prevent it from having indoor dining before it was approved.

Murphy shared some of those concerns during a radio station appearance.

“We’re spending a lot of time with the owners and operators as well as the workers and their representatives on casinos,” said Murphy to WOND’s ACMike Lopez.

“The bad news is casinos sort of have the attributes that are hardest to deal with this virus. It’s indoors, no ventilation. You’re sedentary, you’re in close proximity. Having said that, they’re big footprints, and we think there are successful steps that can be taken to address the challenges.”

State officials also saw what happened when Las Vegas opened up at the start of June without a mask order in place.

There was a sharp uptick in new COVID-19 cases. A required mask order went into effect last week.

AC casinos put safety plans in place

Some of Atlantic City’s casinos have already come forward with plans to ensure safety and cleanliness for visitors.

For example, Hard Rock Casino plans to use thermal cameras to check guests’ temperature. The casino also will space out slot machines and install plexiglass barriers for table games. All AC casinos plan to implement similar procedures.

When Hard Rock reopens on July 2, it will also have a new protocol called the Safe + Sound Clean Team. The team consists of 100 employees whose sole job is to deep clean all gaming surfaces, chips, hotel rooms, restaurants, pools and public areas.

Casinos will also be providing hand sanitizer stations on the casino floor along with enforcing the state’s mandates regarding masks and social distancing.

But these plans are all dependent on what guidelines the state and Division of Gaming Enforcement require of casinos, too. Those have yet to be made public.

Cashless gambling in Atlantic City?

Another, more innovative tactic that Atlantic City’s casinos could possibly employ is cashless gaming.

Just approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission this past week, cashless gaming would not only be a great way to help prevent COVID-19 spread but also would give players more options.

The new regulations approved by Nevada would allow players to withdraw or deposit money from table games and/or slot machines with a digital wallet such as PayPal, Venmo or Apple Pay.

This new method of “money handling” would drastically cut back on the use of chips by players, casino cashiers and dealers alike.

Implementing cashless gambling, however, is only one part of any plan to make Atlantic City safe for tourists. Safety plans and protocols, as well as following state guidelines, are essential to AC’s gambling future.

The fact remains, though, that the flow of tax revenue into the state’s coffers shrank while casinos were closed. Failing to bring Atlantic City back safely will deter visitors.

And if the pandemic worsens in NJ, casinos will likely shut down once more.

Lengthy Atlantic City Casino Shutdown Puts New Jersey In A Tough Position

It has been three months since Atlantic City casinos closed due to the pandemic. The loss of revenue and state taxes is extensive. What happens next?

The casinos of Atlantic City are now into their third month of being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

And the fiscal impact of being shut down is starting to rear its ugly head.

According to the last three monthly comparisons released by the Division of Gaming Enforcement, the nine Atlantic City casinos have made a combined $85.5 million in land-based revenue.

To put that into context, Borgata, the top-performing AC casino, posted $59.4 million in revenue in March 2019.

The loss of revenue has not only had an effect on the casinos but also on Atlantic City and the state as a whole.

The end result of such a prolonged casino closure is a decreased amount in taxes collected from casino revenues. Those taxes help fund various local and state projects.

Revenue, taxes at a standstill with AC casinos closed

To be fair, 2020 started off on a high note for casinos. Atlantic City casino revenue was enjoying a 21-month win streak.

So, it is no surprise that with no in-person bets and lights out, revenue for the state’s nine casinos has deteriorated.

In March through May of last year, casino win totaled $653.7 million.

In comparison, the casinos were open for just 16 days in March before temporarily closing. The result is that for March-May 2020, revenue had an 86% year-over-year drop.

Meanwhile, during March through May of last year, the state pulled in $47.9 million in taxes from casino revenue. (That number includes retail sports betting but excludes internet gaming tax, which did not shut down.)

During the same time period in 2020, the state collected only S6.1 million.

The drop almost certainly leaves a budget gap in New Jersey.

NJ online casinos pick up the pace

The one saving grace for the closed casinos in NJ during these trying times has been the growing number of people gambling online.

In the last three months, NJ online casinos earned $230.3 million, more than double the same time last year.

As a whole, that industry has yet to see a month-over-month decline in any year since its launch.

Posting three record-setting months in a row may not be the new normal. But it certainly helps when Atlantic City casinos are shut down.

A push to reopen Atlantic City casinos

Despite the major uptick in online gaming revenue, the growing losses at land-based casinos are a concern to the state’s top officials.

New Jersey State Senate President Steve Sweeney sent out a tweet on June 13, calling for Gov. Phil Murphy to open up the casinos:

Taking a more cautious approach is Murphy, who is looking for a July Fourth opening for the casinos, something echoed by Atlantic City’s mayor, Marty Small Sr. 

To help stem the growing losses being suffered by the casinos, the state Senate passed an emergency relief bill on June 15.

The legislation gives the casinos interest-free loans along with temporary liftings of various taxes for the remainder of the year.

Bailout the casinos?

Concerns have been raised by state lawmakers over cutbacks to other programs Atlantic City needs in order to give the casinos a bailout.

But state senator Chris Brown, who co-authored the bill with Sweeney, feels differently. He considers this piece of legislation a necessary one to protect one of the state’s biggest attractions and revenue earners.

“My concern has been and remains with the families who overnight found themselves unemployed and left to deal with a broken unemployment system for the last three months,” Brown said.

“Working in a bipartisan manner, we took a step today toward saving 27,000 casino jobs while also assisting our small businesses so we can put our Atlantic County families back to work.”

What state officials, casino employees, and all those impacted by the shutdown can agree upon is that the sooner the casinos reopen the better.

A summer without the casinos would be a disastrous turn of events for the town and the state as a whole.

Some AC Casino Employees Eligible For Relief Through A Fund Setup By Tillman Fertitta

Tilman Fertitta donated $1 million to a fund established for Landry’s employees. Golden Nugget AC employees are eligible to apply for relief.

Thousands of workers that were furloughed when Atlantic City casinos closed last month. Casinos are entering their second month of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And casino employees are looking for any sort of good news these days.

Many of the casinos offered their employees severance pay until they were laid off. They were unable to collect unemployment benefits while receiving those benefits.

Unfortunately, these services are so backlogged that there are casino workers who have yet to receive any sort of checks.

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Throwing casino employees a lifeline

Tilman Fertitta, the CEO/president of Landry’s which owns multiple franchises, including the NBA Houston Rockets and Golden Nugget Atlantic City announced some relief for employees last week.

The company created The Fertitta Entertainment/Employee Relief Fund to help the over 40,000 furloughed Landry’s employees. He contributed $1 million in seed money.

“Our employees are our most important resource,” Fertitta said in a statement.

“COVID-19 has taken a particularly harsh toll on all aspects of the hospitality industry where we are heavily invested. It is our hope this fund will provide some much-needed relief for our valued employees.”

When Golden Nugget casino employees were let go back on March 19, they were informed, via letter, that they will receive two weeks’ pay and their health insurance paid through June 30.

However, according to Texas Monthly, only the salaried workers received that pay while hourly workers simply had their hours reduced to none, according to Texas Monthly.

A noble gesture might not be enough

AC casinos will remain closed until further notice. There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding when they will open and if everyone will be hired back when they do.

As such, establishing the fund is a noble gesture from an employer who obviously wants to do right by his workers.  When you do the math, the potential payout per employee isn’t all that much.

If all 40,000 of Fertitta’s furloughed employees put in a request for a piece of that million-dollar seed offering, each person would only receive just $25.

Now, the fund is accepting donations, so it has the potential to grow. The fund will need more money to really help these employees feel a little safer as they try to ride out the pandemic.

Honestly, the fund is only a small life-preserver to people that are trying not to drown fiscally. Right now, though, any relief for casino employees is huge.

MLS Betting Preview: NJ Sportsbooks Have Favorites To Win MLS Cup 2020

New Jersey sports betting apps have futures on which teams are more likely to win the MLS Cup as Majore League Soccer kicks off its silver anniversary.

Over the past 25 years, Major League Soccer has seen its ups and downs.

However, as it kicks off its silver anniversary season this upcoming weekend, the future is looking bright for the league.

Two teams are joining the league this year, Inter Miami and Nashville SC, with more teams to come over the next couple of seasons.

While the league is growing year by year, the list of teams vying for the MLS Cup 2020 is a short one. Some are perennial contenders and some whose stock is on the rise.

New Jersey sports betting apps have futures on which teams are more likely to win the MLS Cup. We have included odds from:

NJ sports betting customers can check out these teams when it comes to laying down your future bets.

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Los Angeles Football Club

LAFC: +300 (DraftKings), +340 (FanDuel), +350 (William Hill)

The consensus favorite, Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC), will look to continue to build upon last season’s loss in the Western Conference Finals.

LAFC was led by Carlos Vela, who had 34 goals and 15 assists, leading LAFC to the best regular-season record in MLS history.

This offensive prowess, along with a stout midfield led by Latif Blessing and the addition of Dutch keeper Kenneth Vermeer will once again see LAFC in the hunt for both the Supporters’ Shield and the MLS Cup.

NJ Sportsbooks have LAFC winning the MLS Cup 2020 at:

  • +300 (DraftKings)
  • +340 (FanDuel)
  • +350 (William Hill)

Atlanta United

Atlanta United has made a lot of noise during its short time in MLS, including a 2018 MLS Cup.

The vast majority of that team is still there, most notably forward Josef Martinez and goalkeeper Brad Guzan. Despite losing midfielder Pity Martinez, Atlanta, led by long-time European coach Frank de Boer, is the favorite in the Eastern Conference.

Atlanta United winning the MLS Cup:

  • +350 (DraftKings)
  • +600 (William Hill)
  • +750 (FanDuel)

New York City Football Club

New York City Football Club (NYCFC) is coming off of their best season ever in their short history. It is bringing back the vast majority of last year’s team, including Maxi Moralez, Héber Araujo dos Santos, and Alexander Ring.

With the addition of new coach, former Celtic manager Ronny Deila and former Arsenal midfield prospect Gedion Zelalem, NYCFC is looking to build off of last year’s success.

NYCFC to win the MLS Cup:

  • +700 (DraftKings)
  • +800 (William Hill)
  • +850 (FanDuel)
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Seattle Sounders

Last season’s MLS Cup champions, Seattle Sounders, bring back the majority of its team.  Most notably, its three-pronged attack of Jordan Morris, Nicolas Lodeiro and Raul Ruidiaz and long-time goalkeeper Stefan Frei are back in 2020.

The only real concern that MLS experts have about the Sounders’ chances to repeat is the packed early-season schedule, which includes games in the CONCACAF Champions League. Besides that, the Sounders are expected to make it far.

Seattle Sounders chances to win the MLS Cup:

  • +700 (William Hill)
  • +800 (DraftKings)
  • +1100 (FanDuel)

Toronto Football Club

Toronto Football Club’s (Toronto FC) season ended with a loss in the MLS Cup Final to the Seattle Sounders but will once again be one of the top teams in the East.

Despite not having Michael Bradley until the summer due to ankle surgery, Toronto FC still has Jozy Altidore and Jonathan Osorio on offense and Laurent Ciman and Omar Gonzalez in the back. Knowing that a return to the MLS Cup playoffs and a run to the final is more than a possibility.

Toronto FC on winning the MLS Cup:

  • +750 (FanDuel)
  • +900 (William Hill)
  • +1100 (DraftKings)

CBS Sports, William Hill Planning For ‘Explosive Growth’

In a new partnership announced earlier this week, William Hill will become the official sportsbook and wagering data provider of CBS Sports.

In a new partnership announced earlier this week, William Hill will become the official sportsbook and wagering data provider of CBS Sports.

CBS Sports will begin to showcase its new partnership starting next month. The goal is to have a full rollout just in time for fantasy football season.

This new partnership joins similar ones made by:

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Public responding favorably to the CBS Sports William Hill deal

According to Legal Sports Report, the news of the CBS Sports-William Hill partnership was met with positive feedback as the stock price for William Hill climbed 5%.

Wiliam Hill brings brand name recognition, along with its 140 sportsbooks to a well-established CBS Sports Digital sports vertical.

It has more than 80 million users per month across its sites and apps. It also has tens of millions of followers on social platforms. 

The combined outreach of the two will attract new New Jersey sports betting customers, especially when March Madness and the NFL season kicks off.

What they’re saying about the CBS-William Hill deal

“We’re thrilled to launch this momentous partnership, which will allow us to deepen our investment and further extend our leadership in delivering multi-platform sports wagering content while providing William Hill with unprecedented reach for their market-leading betting platform as they continue to grow their industry-leading U.S. business,” said Jeffrey Gerttula, Executive Vice President and General Manager of CBS Sports in a press release.

“The power of our distribution, combined with the strength of our brands and the expertise of William Hill, has us well positioned to tap into the explosive growth of the legal sports betting industry in the U.S.  Together, we will deliver even more value to this rapidly growing segment of sports fans.”

In this new partnership, William Hill will be promoted across CBS Sports’ broad range of digital properties. That includes promotion to CBS Sports Fantasy, one of the largest fantasy platforms in the world.

Additionally, William Hill will benefit from being promoted through:

  • CBS SportsLine
  • CBSSports.com
  • CBS Sports HQ

“CBS Sports, similar to William Hill, has a longstanding history of connecting fans directly to the biggest events and most iconic moments in sports,” said Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill US, in a press release.

“We are excited about this partnership, with assets including mass-reach digital content products, one of the largest fantasy sports databases and platforms in the world, and leading sports television programming, which will allow us to expand the William Hill brand across America quickly and efficiently.”