Don’t Stress Black Friday, BetMGM Gifting Customers Free $10 Wager

A Black Friday free bet for the holiday week could make NJ sports bettors even more thankful if they’re able to make it pay off in some profit.

Black Friday used to mean getting up before Thanksgiving was even over to stand in line for hours and then hope you could get the item you wanted. That’s no longer the case, and a Black Friday free bet is just one example of how culture has improved.

Most retailers are now offering great deals under the Black Friday banner for the entire week, if not the entire month. That extended period applies to this promotion from BetMGM Sportsbook as well.

Choose when you use BetMGM free bet

This week, BetMGM is rewarding all its NJ sports betting customers for their patronage. Whether you’re new to the brand or an old hand, all active accounts get a $10 free wager.

You can use the free bet anytime between today (Nov. 25) and Sunday (Nov. 29). All you need to do is create or log into your account with the sportsbook and then claim the offer.

Just like with all other NJ sportsbooks, you must satisfy all the following conditions to bet online with BetMGM:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Not be on any gambling self-exclusion lists
  • Be physically located within the state’s borders when you place your wager

The array of sporting events over the four-day period means there are plenty of opportunities to turn that $10 in site credit into real winnings. Some of them are better than others, however.

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Ways to use Black Friday free bet

On Wednesday, the return of NCAA Division I college basketball looms large. Men’s teams like Louisville, Memphis and Villanova plan to tip off their seasons that night.

If that’s not to your liking, there are also several high-profile European men’s soccer matches. The action on Bundesliga and La Liga could be profitable for the clever bettor.

On Thanksgiving Day, there’s the standard NFL triple-header. The highlight of that trio is the late game, which pits the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers against their division rival Baltimore Ravens.

That action might be somewhat lessened by multiple Baltimore players testing positive for COVID-19 this week. Thus, if you’re considering betting on the earlier games, those might prove easier to handicap.

Black Friday also brings the Match III, which is a scaled-down version of a celebrity Pro-Am. In this edition, bettors can wager on the performances of:

  • Charles Barkley
  • Steph Curry
  • Peyton Manning
  • Phil Mickelson

More college hoops and an interlude in the college football weekend is on tap for Friday as well if the links don’t tempt you. On the hardcourt, squads such as Gonzaga and Kansas are in action.

On Saturday, the college sports calendar continues, but there is much more action on the gridiron. Highlights include the annual Iron Bowl game between No. 22 Auburn and No. 1 Alabama, and No. 8 Northwestern looking to wrap up a spot in the Big Ten championship game against Michigan State.

To finish off the weekend, there’s something for the MMA betting enthusiasts. UFC on ESPN+ 42 features a heavyweight bout between Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis as the main event, but there’s a full card leading up to that point.

With the right strategy, NJ bettors can turn this $10 in site credit into potentially hundreds of dollars in real money. That could make Black Friday 2020 a memorable one.

Bally’s Corp. Making Moves To Compete In Sports Betting Industry Nationwide

Bally’s sports betting interest has become clear over the past week with its acquisition of Bet.Works and a naming-rights deal with Sinclair.

Bally’s Corp. has committed to spending $90 million on its Atlantic City property over the next five years. Bally’s sports betting ambitions appear to be much broader than just New Jersey, however.

The last week has been a busy one for the gambling company, as it announced an agreement to acquire Bet.Works, a US sportsbook technology platform provider. On the same day, Bally’s Corp. shared the details of a strategic partnership to put its branding in front of millions of sports fans around the country. The end goal is obvious.

Both deals come on the heels of the company completing the purchase of Bally’s AC from Caesars Entertainment.

More on Bally Corp’s sports betting push

To compete with the big boys in the NJ sports betting industry in the Garden State and beyond, Bally’s needed a platform. Check it off the list.

Bet.Works currently powers theScore Bet app that is live in New Jersey and several other US jurisdictions.

For cash and stock worth $125 million, Bally’s will make Bet.Works’ products its own.

“This is the next step in our company’s evolution,” said Soo Kim, chairman of Bally’s Corporation’s board of directors. “By combining our expanding national footprint of casinos, the recently acquired Bally’s brand and Bet.Works’ proprietary technology stack, we have evolved in just a few short years from a regional casino operator into the first US gaming company committed to serving our customers with an omnichannel approach, combining the best of our physical properties with a superior online experience.”

A press release stated that Bally’s plans to split operations into two separate divisions, with one handling online products and the other focusing on retail casino business. The online division’s name will be Bally’s Interactive.

It’s unclear exactly when NJ online gamblers will have access to either product under Bally’s management. It’s also uncertain to what extent Bally’s will rebrand the platforms. The company doesn’t expect to actually close the transaction until early next year.

Whenever Bally’s does start pushing its online sports betting product, it will have a great chance to market it to sports fans. That’s the result of some more recent spending.

Bally’s buys RSN naming rights

This chain of events began years ago when Disney bought out 20th Century Fox. As part of the regulatory approval for that transaction, Disney had to sell off Fox’s 21 regional sports networks.

Last year, Sinclair Broadcasting purchased the entire lot. That gave the company rights to broadcast a multitude of sporting events in most of the United States.

For $85 million over the span of a decade, those networks will soon bear Bally’s name. The networks will all feature the name Bally’s Sports.

The companies plan to integrate Bally’s sports betting product directly into the broadcasts, going as far as to actually allow you to wager on an event using your television as you’re watching it. Here are some of the highlights of the strategic partnership:

  •  Sinclair and Bally’s will jointly market, design and integrate products on a state-by-state basis and deliver one-of-a-kind online gaming experiences.
  • 21 Fox RSN brands will be rebranded using the Bally name.
  • Bally’s will have premium integration opportunities across the Tennis Channel, the home of over 95% of all live tennis matches broadcast in the US, Sinclair’s 24/7 multiplatform sports network.

As it’s a naming rights deal and not an acquisition, it’s fair to assume Sinclair will still be free to sell advertising space to Bally’s competitors during broadcasts. Additionally, it’s yet uncertain what this will mean for Fox’s own sports betting platform, Fox Bet.

What’s clear, however, is the fact that Bally’s is all in on competing for sportsbook handle across the country. If it can maximize its deal with Sinclair, it has a good shot at gaining market share.

Murphy, AC Casino Owners Stay Course As COVID-19 Statistics Worsen Around New Jersey

Atlantic City casinos are operating 24/7 with restrictions despite surges in COVID-19 hospitalizations and positive cases around the Garden State.

The lights are still on inside Atlantic City casinos.

However, casino operators and state government officials around the country continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of good options for mitigation seems to dwindle with each passing day. New Jersey casinos are by no means an exception to this new rule.

Although Atlantic City properties remain open with restrictions, it’s uncertain how much longer that will be the case. Relevant trends in the Garden State are going in the wrong direction.

The latest on Atlantic City casinos and COVID-19

NJ Gov. Phil Murphy has been upfront with his constituents on a daily basis about the worsening numbers in the state.

On Tuesday, Murphy signed a new executive order that lowered gathering limits for both indoor and outdoor venues. As of Nov. 23, New Jerseyians may only gather in groups of up to 10 indoors. For outdoor gatherings, the limit is 150 people. In both cases, the state expects proper social distancing and wearing of face masks.

As Atlantic City casinos are a significant source of tax revenue for the state and fuel the economy in the area, Murphy naturally had to address their fate. His main position is that data shows the casinos have been acting responsibly throughout the pandemic.

“We believe, based on the evidence that we have, that they’ve been able to responsibly manage their casino floors,” Murphy said during a briefing with other state officials on Wednesday. “Whether it’s through (personal protective equipment), whether it’s through dividers, capacity management, temperature checks, review of symptoms checks with people who go onto the floor, which is happening in all the casinos … there is not any evidence that there is either bad management of the floor or that there is a big outbreak coming from participating on the floor.”

Murphy did not elaborate on what evidence he drew that conclusion from. The most likely candidate is contact tracing for positive cases, which identifies the sources of transmission if done correctly.

The question is whether casinos can maintain their current status if trends continue to worsen. Casino operators seem determined to do all they can to maintain the reputation they have earned.

Casino industry not curtailing business

So far, none of the AC casinos have announced any major plans to further reduce their hours or offerings. A statement from the Casino Association of New Jersey  mentions one adjustment, however:

“The Casino Association of New Jersey (CANJ) understands the administration’s concerns, and that is why the industry has taken extraordinary measures to safely welcome back thousands of hardworking employees and valued guests, while also helping to minimize the exposure of Atlantic City casino property guests, our employees and our local community to the COVID-19 virus.

“We will continue to work to give our guests the exciting experience they have come to expect from our first-class properties:

  • Casino floor and gaming operations will remain open, uninterrupted, 24/7.
  • Indoor dining outlets will remain open, closing between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. ET, effective this Thursday, Nov. 12.

“As we see a rise in cases across New Jersey, we are focused on the health and safety of our employees, guests and fellow residents and will continue to work with AtlantiCare, our regional health care provider, as well as local and state officials, to refine and update our protocols as local and state mandates evolve. We remain dedicated to complying with, or exceeding, local or state-imposed mandates, restrictions and occupancy limits to try to maintain a healthy environment.”

Casino closings in other states

Despite those best efforts, Murphy’s hesitancy to close casinos for a second time this year may soon make him an outlier. Earlier today, Rivers Casino in neighboring  Philadelphia closed.

The City of Philadelphia announced “Safer at Home” restrictions that will be in place through Jan. 1, 2021. The list also includes:

  • Indoor dining
  • Theaters and museums
  • Libraries
  • Gyms and indoor exercise classes

For now, Rivers Philadelphia is the only Keystone State casino impacted. The other gaming halls are outside the city limits.

Other states are taking a similar approach. In Michigan, all three Detroit casinos are closed for three weeks. Illinois has ordered casinos within its borders to close, too.

Additionally, Massachusetts has limited hours for its casinos.

As of now, Atlantic City casinos are still open for gambling.

Murphy might take smaller steps, like shutting down indoor dining, before closing AC casinos altogether. If there’s not a marked improvement in COVID-19 numbers soon, he may have few other choices.

Bet Section Aims To Convert More Of theScore’s Audience To Sports Betting

New features for theScore Bet Section increase the personalization and marketing push in the app for New Jersey bettors and sports fans.

TheScore’s marketing plan is to take a large swath of its media audience and introduce it to sports betting. The Toronto-based company continues to  invest more resources into that strategy, which includes the debut of Bet Section within theScore app.

Score Media and Gaming Inc. announced the details via press release.

This new feature has a dedicated home within theScore‘s media app. According to the release, Bet Section will take the company’s “innovative cross-platform media and betting experience with theScore Bet to the next level.”

TheScore will try to deliver even more customized content to app users. The plan is to focus that content on betting angles.

How theScore Bet Section feature works

The new features of theScore’s Android and iOS apps are live. The selling point is greater personalization.

For example, if you consume content from theScore about the New York Giants, you’ll receive notifications in the app about wagering opportunities on the Giants. The idea is that theScore is informing Garden State bettors about the NJ sports betting markets they are most likely interested in.

The customization features go beyond simple tailored alerts, however. The app will also deliver personalized promos to accompany the browsing of those markets.

If an app user should actually pull the trigger, they will enjoy revamped wager tracking as well. In addition to live tracking of the bet(s), users can see real-time cash-out offers.

Finally, theScore has integrated a social component. Users can see how picks are polling and use that information to guide their wagering if they choose.

Here is what John Levy, founder and CEO of theScore, had to say about the Bet Section feature.

“We launched theScore Bet on the premise that betting should be a natural extension of how fans consume sports, not an isolated transactional experience,” said Levy. “With the launch of Bet Section, we’re further fulfilling that mission by creating an unparalleled cross-platform experience that personalizes and streamlines the betting process for users as they interact with our media app. It’s natural, seamless and reinforces our cutting-edge approach in fusing media with gaming.”

This new thrust is designed to maximize the amount of time that users spend on the app and increase engagement. There’s sound logic behind aiming to increase those metrics.

Now is the time to invest in mobile apps

According to some recent research, consumers have never spent more money or time on mobile apps. In the third quarter of the current fiscal year, Android and iOS device users spent over $28 billion within apps, which is an increase of 20% year-over-year.

So how does that relate to sports betting? TheScore knows its customers are spending a good amount of time on their devices. Consumers have no qualms about spending their money via apps on those phones and tablets.

So, the trick is getting them to spend as much time as possible on theScore’s app instead of its competitors.

The “magic” behind that trick is simple but difficult to execute consistently. TheScore believes it can compete in the space, however, with its diverse and robust array of written and video content.

Convenience and functionality are two other important components, as users tend to dismiss apps quickly if they can’t find what they’re looking for easily.

There’s no guarantee that tailored content will actually make more theScore app users deposit funds into betting accounts, but not marketing the sportsbook this way would seem like punting on an obvious opportunity at a return on investment.

Further down the line, theScore has plans to enter the NJ online casino market. It announced a market access deal with Twin Rivers Worldwide Holdings, now Bally’s Corp., which is expected to take over ownership of Bally’s Atlantic City before 2020 comes to a close

For now, the focus is on sports betting.

At the very least, this new feature should make the app more useful for existing theScore Bet customers. TheScore hopes it will make the number of such consumers grow as well.

New DraftKings Sportsbook Customers Have Reason To Bet On Bryson DeChambeau

DraftKings Sportsbook is offering new customers a Bryson DeChambeau promo that should get this weekend’s PGA Tour action off to a masterful start.

Bryson DeChambeau is among the favorites to win the 2020 edition of the Masters. He might prove a favorite among the NJ sports betting crowd for another reason.

DraftKings Sportsbook is offering new customers a chance to double their money if DeChambeau makes the cut. That may be just the start of a profitable few days for golf bettors, however.

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How Bryson DeChambeau promo works

If you’re new to DraftKings Sportsbook, you can take advantage of this deal. Given the likelihood of DeChambeau’s qualification, it’s almost a sure thing.

DeChambeau is favored to win the entire tournament.

So here is how the promo works:

  • Sign up for a DraftKings Sportsbook account via the link above.
  • Deposit at least $5 into your account.
  • DraftKings will issue you a single-use odds boost on DeChambeau to make the cut.
  • You must select the boost from your bet slip to get a boosted price of +100.
  • The original price was -769.

The max bet is $50, so you stand to make as much as another $50 if DeChambeau’s performance in the qualifying round proves adequate.

The promo expires when the first participants tee off on Thursday, Nov. 12. For that reason, time is of the essence.

This offer is not available to existing DraftKings customers. However, there are other opportunities for all bettors, no matter how experienced.

Masters watch: DeChambeau, Woods + Rahm

Besides being the favorite to win the 2020 Masters, DraftKings also set the shortest odds on DeChambeau finishing in the top five (+188), and he’s tied with Dustin Johnson for the shortest odds to finish in the top 10 (+100).

But will DeChambeau actually come out on top at Augusta National this time? He has some stiff competition.

DeChambeau comes in with some momentum, having won the 2020 US Open in September. However, Tiger Woods looks to become the first back-to-back Masters champion since he won this event in both ’01 and ’02.

Augusta is notorious for favoring contenders who prioritize distance off the tees. That might prove even more crucial this year, as there is rain in the forecast all weekend.

That plays well into DeChambeau’s strengths, as he’s among the best at hitting the ball far and high in the game right now. So do other players, like Jon Rahm, however.

Rahm enters this tournament with momentum as well. He has three top-five finishes over his last five competitions. Additionally, he finished second in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines South earlier this year, which is a course that plays very similarly to Augusta National.

If DeChambeau can strike well and not lose that advantage in the short game, he could dominate this field. It would be hard to blame anyone looking further down the market, however, as experience on this course can be vital to success.

photo by Associated Press 

What Is Vigtory Sportsbook And When Will It Launch In New Jersey?

The pending launch of the Vigtory Sportsbook app in New Jersey could happen soon. But what makes it different from the rest?

New NJ sports betting licensees continue to pop up in the Garden State. One of the next potential new operators is the Vigtory Sportsbook.

As the name suggests, the main differentiator for this company is its industry-low “vig.” It intends to use that to attract a certain segment of NJ bettors.

The details on Vigtory Sportsbook

Vigtory is based in Chicago, but plans to make New Jersey its first market. Co-CEO Scott Butera, who most recently worked for MGM Interactive before joining Vigtory, told Play NJ the regulatory approval is done.

Although he is not disclosing the company’s land-based partner yet, Butera says he hopes to start taking bets in NJ sometime in November 2020. He says the app will be available for both Android and iOS devices.

The product will include more than just sports betting. In addition to live dealer games, poker, slots, and other online table games, Vigtory has a deal with Sportradar to offer live data and streaming of certain events.

Perhaps the biggest draw for bettors to the app, however, will be its low vig. Vig is the term in the sports betting industry that refers to the interest a sportsbook has in your wager.

Think of it as the price that a sportsbook charges you for providing the entertainment. Vigtory plans to cut that cost to entice higher-end bettors.

Vigtory’s take on NJ sports betting market

Butera lays out the strategy quite clearly. He hopes the lower vig will pull in higher-end bettors and make regular customers out of them.

“What we’re looking to do is create a sports betting experience for the true sports bettor,” said Butera.

“DraftKings and FanDuel have done a great job of developing very strong databases through fantasy sports then converting those players to sports bettors. We think there’s an underserved market for folks that are sports bettors of a higher dollar amount. Whereas a fantasy player might be betting $30, $40, $50 a bet on average, our bettors will be betting you know high hundreds to the low thousands.”

Butera went on to explain that the app will also offer specialty content and customized analytics for users. The company plans to offer high-end perks for loyal customers like event tickets, fan experiences, and merchandise.

Additionally, Butera is bullish on the book building out a robust offering of live and prop wagers. That’s another way he thinks Vigtory can differentiate itself.

A plethora of props and lots of live bets

Butera believes offering the markets high-end bettors want is key to Vigtory’s success. He draws upon his Las Vegas experience for his insight.

“The idea is to have enough product offerings so that you can make up it for if somebody happens to be sharp,” Butera explained. “The Super Bowl last year is a pretty interesting example of what I’m talking about.

“For the Super Bowl, Vegas ended up winning like $15 to $20 million. New Jersey ended up losing, I think $6 million. The betting could have been different. What was different was the number of props that were offered.”

Butera also sees the analytics and content as a way to drive in-game wagering.

“If you’re sitting there and a Patriots fan and you see an opportunity to bet on Cam Newton getting 200 yards passing. The odds just went from 4:1 to 6:1. They transact on that whereas if they never saw it, they wouldn’t even think of it.”

Whether Vigtory’s unique approach will prove successful in New Jerseyremains to be seen. What seems more certain, however, is that the experiment will begin soon.