New Assembly Bill Sets Out Harsher Penalties For Taking Bets On NJ College Sports

The New Jersey bill from Ralph Caputo specifies penalties for NJ sports betting operators that take bets on prohibited sports, and they are more serious.

State Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D) has filed a bill that creates new penalties for sports betting operators that take bets on so-called “prohibited sports events.”

The bill amends the A4111 New Jersey law that authorizes NJ sports betting. The new penalties amount to the following:

  • Payment of an amount equal to all wagers improperly accepted on the prohibited sports event;
  • And payment of not less than $20,000 and not more than $100,000;
  • And the suspension of the licensee or operator from the conduct of sports wagering for a period of not more than 10 days.

The A4111 law does specifically list penalties for “insiders” betting on sports events (players, managers, team owners and referees), but doesn’t specify penalties for operators that accept wagers on “prohibited” events.

In a sense, the new bill is doing something very simple. Caputo is making it crystal clear what the consequences of breaching the law are.

The natural question then is why is this necessary?

The NCAA and NJ sports betting

Close industry observers will remember that the NCAA was one of the named organizations that took New Jersey’s sports betting law all the to the US Supreme Court.

Ultimately, the NCAA lost their case when SCOTUS declared that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was unconstitutional.

Losing the case did not make the NCAA happy. The pro sports leagues that were the other parties to the case have knuckled down and accepted that sports betting is inevitable.

Each of the big four leagues, the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL has partnered with a casino group — MGM — or in the case of the NFL, Caesars Entertainment.

The NCAA is still grumbling about the risks that they think sports betting poses to their sports. NCAA President Mark Emmert recently went public with his concerns:

“Sports wagering is going to have a dramatic impact on everything we do in college sports,” Emmert said. “It’s going to threaten the integrity of college sports in many ways unless we are willing to act boldly and strongly.”

The American Gaming Association (AGA) quickly issued a response refuting Emmert’s basic premise:

“Sports wagering is a multibillion dollar, sophisticated enterprise that, if left primarily in the shadows, will continue to threaten competition and bet integrity, tax law enforcement resources and perpetuate the vulnerability of athletes — particularly unpaid amateur athletes — to bad actors in the illegal market.

Only by legalizing and regulating this popular American activity can we offer protection to competition, consumers and competitors, ensure that responsible sports wagering is properly regulated, and that those laws are enforced.”

Caputo’s bill should please the NCAA

The prohibited sports as defined in the original New Jersey sports betting legislation are:

“’Prohibited sports event’ means any collegiate sport or athletic event that takes place in New Jersey or a sport or athletic event in which any New Jersey college team participates regardless of where the event takes place. A “prohibited sports event” does not include the other games of a collegiate sport or athletic tournament in which a New Jersey college team participates, nor does it include any games of a collegiate tournament that occurs outside New Jersey even though some of the individual games or events are held in New Jersey. A prohibited sports event includes all high school sports events, electronic sports, and competitive video games but does not include international sports events in which persons under age 18 make up a minority of the participants.”

In other words, the prohibition directly targets the risks that Emmert points out.

What Caputo has done is submit a bill that gives the prohibition teeth. The consequences of allowing bets on college sports prohibited in the bill are extremely serious.

This should please Emmert.

No doubt, cases like the recent Caesars and Golden Nugget illegal bets spurred the NJ Legislature to make a move. At the time, the two Atlantic City casinos were fined a minimal amount.

But why Caputo?

The bill hits the sweet spot of two of Caputo’s personal interests — education and gambling.

Caputo’s early career began as an elementary schoolteacher. Later this led to his appointment as advisor to the State Commissioner of Education, and service as a superintendent for Essex County schools.

In 1983, he switched into the New Jersey gambling scene.

Caputo took positions as a marketing executive for the now-defunct Atlantic City casino, the Trump Castle Hotel, the Showboat Atlantic City, and the Tropicana.

Reports Say MGM Might Be Eyeing Caesars With A Possible Merger

MGM might be lawyering up to merge with Caesars. Plenty of issues could derail a merger of the two gambling giants, including other interested companies.

Caesars has had a troubling few years.

Much of the company has spent time in bankruptcy protection, and now CEO Mark Frissora is leaving the company.

That makes Caesars look vulnerable, and just maybe that creates an opportunity for MGM.

The New York Post reports that according to sources, “MGM has hired investment bank Morgan Stanley and law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges” to analyze the idea of a merger.

Those sources also say that some of Caesars’ biggest hedge fund investors are backing the idea.

MGM and Caesars own a third of the New Jersey casinos

Any merger would create a very powerful presence in the US gaming industry. Caesars is worth about $22 billion with MGM at around $30 billion.

In New Jersey, Caesars owns three of the nine licensed casinos: Harrah’s, Bally’s, and Caesars. MGM now owns 100 percent of the Borgata after buying out Boyd Gaming.

Put them together and they would own one-third of the Atlantic City casino market.

In Nevada, the situation is similar, but the numbers are bigger. Between the two companies, they own most of the Las Vegas Strip — more than 30 properties in total, excluding golf courses.

Concentrating that much of the industry into the hands of one company will make regulators sit up and take notice.

Local monopoly, national influence, international presence

Market concentration is a concern at the state level, but federal regulators are unlikely to see a bigger issue.

Both companies operate across the US, but not across all states. In fact, MGM’s recent partnership with Boyd Gaming only gives it direct access to 15 states worth of real money gambling.

As sports betting spreads, MGM with its partners GVC and Boyd plans to expand everywhere it legally can.

Caesars has expressed the same strategic intent with its partner Scientific Games.

But that expansion is in the face of tough competition.

Expansion in sports betting

Paddy Power Betfair, now the owner of FanDuel, the Meadowlands NJ sports betting provider, is following a similar go-everywhere strategy.

CEO Peter Jackson told investors when presenting Q3 results that FanDuel is already active in 41 states. And they aim to be competitive in all states where legal sports betting is allowed.

In fact, all the big European gaming operators have taken a position on US sports betting expansion.

Internationally, the presence of Caesars and MGM is actually rather thin. Caesars operates in Canada, South Africa, Egypt, and the UK. MGM has gambling businesses in six Chinese locations including Macau.

There’s an easy argument that merging Caesars and MGM would create a more internationally competitive group.

Sell off Nevada casinos? Maybe

If regulators did kick up a stink, it’s unlikely that it would be in New Jersey.

Four out of nine casinos would not create the kind of monopoly pricing power that would worry the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE).

As for online gambling, there are more than 25 licensed NJ gambling sites, sports betting and poker sites. And many of them have partnerships with foreign brands.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) may have more serious concerns. But at worst it would require no more than a combined group divest itself of some Strip properties.

At that point, there’s a math problem. What tradeoff would actually work for MGM and Caesars?

Both companies are heavily reliant on Nevada for their revenues. They may well be diversified elsewhere, but Las Vegas is still the jewel in their respective crowns.

Having to sell any properties in Nevada might actually be a deal breaker.

What about Wynn and Caesars? Or anyone else?

The New York Post also pitched Wynn Resorts, the Genting Group, and private equity firm the Blackstone Group as potential buyers.

Wynn would generate fewer concerns over market concentration in Nevada. The company is expanding in Las Vegas and building a new casino in Boston, but taking over management of Caesars’ large property portfolio might be biting off more than it can chew.

The Genting Group is a Malaysian gaming company with several Resorts World Casinos in the US. It would be no surprise if it decided to expand in the US through acquisition.

The company has a large global presence already with casinos in:

  • Malaysia
  • United Kingdom
  • Singapore
  • Hong Kong
  • Philippines
  • Korea
  • China

Blackstone is a different beast entirely. It is one of the world’s largest private equity investors and a natural replacement for one of the existing hedge fund owners of Caesars.

But would it be interested in Caesars with its current strategy? Maybe not.

Rivalry in New Jersey and beyond

While speculation is fun, Caesars is not an easy takeover target. No matter how much its private owners might want to sell, finding the right partner will not be easy.

Barely a week ago, Caesars rejected a proposal to merge with Golden Nugget. Caesars is still carrying a lot of debt, so any partner needs to be flush with cash.

New Jersey players can expect the rivalry between Caesars and the Borgata in Atlantic City to continue, at least for the time being.

NJ’s Top Regulator: We Have A ‘Great Opportunity’ To Be A Leader In Sports Betting

Director David Rebuck’s testimony to the NJ Legislature was an eye opener, suggesting that NJ was gradually becoming the key sports betting state in the US.

At the end of last week, the New Jersey Assembly Tourism, Gaming, and the Arts committee held a hearing to discuss a new regulation, ACR 186.

As part of the evidence presented to the committee, the director of the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), David Rebuck, presented a summary of NJ sports betting and a view of how the industry would unfold over the next year.

In short, Rebuck was confident that New Jersey is leading the pack with regulated sports betting and could challenge Nevada for the crown.

But the full extent of the discussion revealed some interesting details about sports betting in New Jersey.

NJ sports betting off to a flying start

Committee Chairman Ralph Caputo’s introductory statement referred to reports that “sports betting is soaring in the state of New Jersey.”

Rebuck’s evidence backed up this assessment and predicted that there was still a lot of growth to come.

He pointed to revenue figures for August: “$95 million, [and] we’re going to do a lot better.”

Rebuck explained that the highest sports betting revenues in Nevada came from basketball, the NFL, and NBA games. The August revenue figures only included “two weeks of basketball and one week of NFL wagering. NBA has not even commenced operations.”

On top of that, Rebuck reminded the committee that July and August are the slowest months for Nevada sports betting, so he expected numbers to increase substantially.

More licensees will join the sports betting competition

New Jersey law allows for 14 licenses for live sports betting and so far only eight have applied. Those include Atlantic City casinos and NJ racetracks.

Rebuck said:

“I do believe that not all 14 will apply ultimately for a license, but that’s their business decision.”

The picture is even stronger in online sports betting for the Garden State.

With the entry of BetStars to the market, there are now eight online sports betting operators. The DGE has cleared out all outstanding applications for online wagering, but more are expected:

“We have no more applications available for us to look at today. There will be a lot more because there is substantial interest.”

Casinos and racetracks hit the jackpot on sports betting

Recently CNN suggested that US casinos would not necessarily be the biggest beneficiaries from the new wave of sports betting.

Rebuck went out of his way to say that this certainly wouldn’t be the case in New Jersey:

“One of the key elements of your legislation that allows for it to be a strong robust market, is that you wisely gave veto power to the 14 licensees. Only they can control the partnerships of companies and entities that want to have mobile wagering in New Jersey. They’re in a very strong position of negotiating what they need and what they want for their business operations.”

Early opponents of US online gambling worried about cannibalizing casino and racetrack revenues. In fact, some opponents still raise this issue even though it has been debunked.

Rebuck explained how New Jersey casinos benefit from NJ online gambling:

“It gives them a nice cushion for diversifying their offerings, it gives them the ability to interact with a new customer base. It diversifies their product offering and it helps them through slow times, particularly when you have bad weather days. I can assure you, when there are bad weather days in New Jersey and people don’t want to travel, our internet numbers go up substantially.”

And the racetracks, Monmouth Park and Meadowlands, have not been left out. Rebuck added:

“Clearly the racetracks are very familiar with internet gambling on horse racing, so they’re in a very good  position to expand their market into the sports wagering, non-horse racing sports wagering element.”

Can New Jersey really challenge Nevada?

Let’s recall that Nevada was the only state to offer sports betting during the period when PASPA prevented other states from competing.

The advantages that Las Vegas has are likely to be the driver for New Jersey to compete. Rebuck told the committee:

“This business technology, this new commercial venture, we will do better than Nevada does, because we have to. Nevada’s a different market than we are in New Jersey. We are less a destination market than Nevada. Most of the people that visit Nevada, visit Las Vegas, stay in a hotel in Las Vegas.”

Rebuck qualified his remarks:

“That may seem arrogant. Will we ever catch Nevada? I really don’t know, but I can tell you this, that I have already seen that Nevada’s board in July, reacted to what we’ve done, and it’s having special committee hearings to determine what steps they need to take to be competitive in sports wagering as other states in the US move forward and do things differently.”

Either way, it does seem clear that New Jersey is, in regulatory terms, already able to compete as equals with Nevada. In some ways, New Jersey has already gone ahead — Nevada doesn’t allow online casinos, which have been a huge revenue earner for New Jersey.

“This is a great opportunity for this state to be a leader in the US. I know this because I get calls constantly from other states… wanting to know what they have to do to get sports wagering up and operational.”

The sports betting black market threat

One of the issues that concern politicians considering sports betting regulation is that of integrity. At heart is the possibility that legal sports betting will incentivize match fixing or other ways of defrauding betting operators and their customers.

This issue is closely allied to the problem of attracting players from the black market or offshore sports betting sites, which have been operating outside of US law.

Rebuck says that this is an issue that the DGE takes very seriously.

The DGE has been working widely with law enforcement agencies and other regulators to fight the offshore operators:

“We’ve been researching this with our law enforcement partners to get a better understanding of how they operate in the United States … At this point in time, we’ve identified over 108 illegal websites that take sports wagers from every state in the United States today. They’re very good at what they do.”

The integrity issue is also high up on his priority list:

“We’ve already contacted the leagues. I’ve met with the NFL, I’ve met with the PGA [Tour]. We’ve begun our dialogue on how we will work together to share information when we have suspicious or unusual activity on their events.”

Rebuck gave an example of how that is working:

“Yes, we have had issues that have not impacted any of the leagues, but we are aware of notices that came to us from an event at Wimbledon, as well as an event at the US Open that were identified — tennis — as suspicious.”

Suspicious incidents don’t necessarily imply that something illegal is going on. As Rebuck explained:

“Just because a matter is unusual or suspicious, it doesn’t mean there is an integrity issue.”

Nevertheless, he warned the offshore operators that the DGE would be closely monitoring them:

“OK … remember what I said about the illegal sites? They better have a very strong system in play already, because the illegal sites are bigger than we are. We have good dialogue with the gaming operators for integrity, and we’ve already shared information.”

A lull before the storm

Seven US states have passed sports betting legislation (Nevada included), but Rebuck told the committee that he believes that there will now be a pause before any more legislation is passed.

The midterm elections have taken political attention away from expanding gambling legislation. But after that, there will be a lot more action.

Rebuck suggests that there will be a “tremendous uptick,” the size of which will depend on how NJ sports betting “performs in the next four months.”

If things go awry in New Jersey, other states may think twice before following their example in which case, “we might not have too much competition,” Rebuck jokingly told the committee.

The way the sports betting rollout in New Jersey has been handled so far is hard to fault. Rebuck is probably more responsible than any other single individual for this success, a fact that the committee rightly recognized.

Caesars Casino Brings New Jersey Its Sixth Online Sports Betting App

Caesars sportsbook launches in the New Jersey sports betting market via a merged NJ online gambling app with online casino and sports betting options.

Late on Sept. 6, and just in time for the first NFL game of the season, Caesars added mobile sports betting to its portfolio of gaming options in New Jersey.

The app is available in the Apple App Store and for direct download on the Caesars online casino site for Android devices. Like Caesars mentioned a few weeks ago, its sports betting component merged with its current NJ gambling site.

The Caesars Casino & Sports app is a one-stop shop for gambling enthusiasts.

Mark Frissora, CEO and President of Caesars Entertainment, said:

“Since New Jersey decided to allow mobile sports betting, we have been working diligently to create the most engaging and fun mobile platform which provides users with the ability to place bets on their favorite sporting events.”

Fruits of the partnership with Scientific Games

The new NJ sportsbook app is developed by Scientific Games.

Caesars and Scientific Games struck a deal in developing Caesars’ position in US sports betting after announcing a partnership on July 30.

The partnership got off to a quick start in August at Caesars’ brick-and-mortar properties in Atlantic City and elsewhere where sports betting is legalized.

NJ sports betting launched at Bally’s and Harrah’s in New Jersey and at the Horseshoe Tunica and Harrah’s Gulf Coast in Mississippi.

While it is not the first mobile sports betting app in the New Jersey market (nor the last), Caesars sportsbook is in at the beginning.

DraftKings Sportsbook was the first mover, launching on Aug. 1.

The more important market entry point is that Caesars got its sports betting app up and running in time for NFL football season.

Total Rewards is the Caesars differentiator

Punters using the mobile app for their sports betting get full access to Caesars’ Total Rewards program. Caesars has made a great success of Total Rewards and now believes that the VIP program sets it apart from its competitors.

Frissora confirmed that the program is available for mobile sports bettors:

“Players have the opportunity to earn and redeem rewards points through our Total Rewards loyalty program, which they can redeem for memorable experiences inside our world-class resorts. This launch further solidifies our investment into this exciting space.”

Deposit options also work well for Caesars, which accepts both PayPal and the standard MasterCard and Visa credit cards.

NJ sports betting options: the list is growing

Caesars sportsbook launch means that New Jersey sports bettors now have six online sports betting apps to choose from.

NJ sports betting apps are now available from the following operators:

The market has taken off since launching only a few weeks ago. Actual revenue numbers will have to wait for the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) to release its monthly report, but first signs are encouraging.

According to subsequently confirmed reports, DraftKings took in more than three-quarters of a million bets in August. It’s on a fast track to hit one million.

The NJ sports betting market will get even more competitive as summer moves into fall.

A number of retail sportsbooks are planning to open online books soon including Resorts. And the multitude of sports betting partnerships just means the options are endless.

So it’s a sure bet the online sportsbook market won’t stay at six for long.

If The Feds Pass A New Sports Betting Law, New Jersey Won’t Be Happy

If Sens. Orrin Hatch and Chuck Schumer get a federal sports betting law, it will only be to channel money to sports leagues. New Jersey won’t like that.

When the US Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), a lot of people were happy. But a lot of people were unhappy, too.

The sports leagues had largely supported PASPA, which kept regulated sports betting confined to Nevada (plus a couple other states). National politicians liked it because it provided federal control over sports betting.

US Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) in particular liked it because he was one of the four original sponsors of the law.

The SCOTUS decision was not good as far as they were concerned.

New Jersey was overjoyed at the decision because it meant that sports betting was finally restored to state control. Since it was legalized, NJ sports betting has gone on a whirlwind adventure. Eight retail sportsbooks and six online sports betting apps are currently available.

But will control really remain with the states? Hatch and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) aren’t taking the decision lying down.

The hope for federal sports betting regulation

Shortly after the decision was published, Hatch said in a statement:

“We cannot allow this practice to proliferate amid uneven enforcement and a patchwork race to the regulatory bottom. At stake here is the very integrity of sports. That’s why I plan to introduce legislation in the coming weeks to help protect honesty and principle in the athletic arena.”

The SCOTUS decision did leave room for Congress to regulate, so Hatch’s intentions should not be dismissed lightly.

On Aug. 23, Hatch then delivered a speech in the Senate, reaffirming his decision to introduce legislation “in the coming weeks.”

He said he had “grave concerns about gambling in general and sports betting in particular,” but the main thrust of his speech concentrated on his belief that legalized sports betting would “corrupt the integrity of the game.”

Schumer follows with his own take

Schumer backed up Hatch with a statement on Aug. 29. Schumer followed the integrity theme.

“To that end, I believe in the creation of a strong national integrity standard for sports gambling that will protect consumers and the sports games themselves from corruption.”

Schumer proposed a federal framework that would, among other things:

  • “Require that any entity accepting bets share appropriate information in a timely fashion with the league or governing body of the sport in question as well as relevant state, federal, and tribal law enforcement or other appropriate oversight bodies. This data should be scrubbed so that personal and sensitive information has been removed but must be sufficiently detailed so as to provide the league or governing body with a basis by which to identify problematic trends.”
  • “Require that all parties involved, including sports leagues, entities accepting bets, and state and tribal law oversight agencies where appropriate coordinate enforcement actions and notify each other of suspicious or abnormal activity or any other conduct that corrupts a betting outcome of a sporting event.”
  • “All leagues and sports should have effective tools to protect their own game and that includes strong limitations and prohibitions on any athlete, coach, official, team, or league representative from taking a financial stake in any wager.”

So far, the senator has said nothing that requires federal government intervention.

All of his points are addressed in the regulations in place in New Jersey or in the mechanics used by betting operators to run their businesses.

Integrity or a handout for sports leagues?

The real issue in Schumer’s proposal, supported by Hatch, and the one that New Jersey would resent the most if the legislation passes, is that he wants to give the sports leagues control over sports betting everywhere.

He proposes that the federal law should:

  • Require that official league data be used to determine betting outcomes.
  • Require agreement between the league or appropriate governing body and those entities taking bets on what types of bets will be permitted.

This takes us back to the arguments about so-called integrity fees. The leagues want to be paid a percentage of the wagers or revenues collected by sports betting operators.

Unsurprisingly the leagues opposed to overturning PASPA are right behind Schumer in his latest proposal. Just hours after publishing Schumer’s proposals the NBA, MLB, and PGA Tour issued a joint statement:

“As legalized sports betting spreads across the states, there is a need for consistent, nationwide integrity standards to safeguard the sports millions of fans love. We strongly support the legislative framework outlined by Senator Schumer and we encourage Congress to adopt it.”

Integrity and sports betting

Sports betting isn’t a simple business and a brief look at any of the operators offering New Jersey sports betting will discover that they aren’t going it alone.

All of the licensed casinos getting into the sports betting business have established partnerships with technology providers, and those technology providers themselves have deals with other businesses that specialize in sports betting integrity.

The sports betting operators have “skin in the game.” If the fix is in, they are the ones being targeted to lose money.

That’s why they use companies such as BetGenius and SportRadar, which have long established technical means for checking for any suspicious betting activity.

SportRadar explains how its Fraud Detection System (FDS) works:

“Sportradar provides the FDS to a host of major organisations in 17 different sports including football, rugby, cricket, ice-hockey, basketball and eSports. We also enjoy close working relationships with law enforcement agencies and police across the world.

Evolving through various incarnations since 2005, today’s FDS monitors odds movements across over 550 betting operators, including Asian and European bookmakers, betting exchanges and state lotteries, regulated and unregulated markets in order to get the most complete overview of global betting market. Currently, the FDS team, comprising of over 40 highly-qualified integrity analysts, operate from three separate offices in London, Manila and Sydney. They are supported by over 5,000 data journalists and over 75 freelance researchers across the world and oversee in excess of 160,000 matches each year, using their vast experience and expertise to investigate suspicious betting patterns around-the-clock.”

Schumer is talking about the problem of game integrity as if it was a new thing that legal US sports betting has created.

Bettors around the world have been betting on US sports for decades, and the issue of sports integrity has been a major issue for all this time.

It isn’t that sports integrity is not important; it is. But the solution isn’t going to be found at the federal level. Schumer (and Hatch) are scaremongering about a problem that has already been addressed.

The AGA is pushing back

Now that many of its members are embracing the new sports betting opportunity, it is not surprising that the American Gaming Association (AGA) thinks Schumer is talking out of his hat.

AGA Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Sara Slane stated:

“Federal oversight of sports betting was an abject failure for 26 years only contributing to a thriving illegal market with no consumer protections and safeguards. New federal mandates are a nonstarter.

“The casino industry is working with stakeholders to ensure the proper protections for consumers, and the integrity of bets and sporting contests are included in state policy, universally implemented by all operators in those states, and overseen by effective state and tribal gaming regulators.”

The good news is that Schumer and Hatch have conceded that the sports betting genie can’t be put back in the bottle. Schumer’s framework also demands that the new law:

“Provide a pathway for legal online and mobile betting so that sports betting can come out of the shadows and we can further remove the competitive advantage of illegitimate online sports books.”

Maybe he hasn’t noticed, but that is exactly what New Jersey has already done. It doesn’t need any help from the federal government, thank you very much.

SugarHouse Sportsbook Adds Its Name To NJ Online Sports Betting Market

SugarHouse produces a first for New Jersey by combining its NJ online casino with NJ online sports betting. SugarHouse Sportsbook joins DraftKings and playMGM in the market.

Earlier this week, online casino PlaySugarhouse.com sent its New Jersey players a message telling them that online sports betting was coming soon.

Well, they didn’t waste any time and on Thursday, SugarHouse Sportsbook soft-launched on the NJ gambling site with Android and iOS mobile apps available to play on the go.

SugarHouse joins DraftKings Sportsbook and playMGM as the three NJ online sports betting sites currently available.

SugarHouse integrates online casino and NJ sports betting

It’s a first for New Jersey, and a feather in the cap for SugarHouse: The company is the first to offer both sports betting and online casino on both the desktop and mobile versions of the software.

The other two mobile sports betting entrants, DraftKings and playMGM, have only managed to offer sportsbooks on their mobile products separate from any online casino.

On top of that, SugarHouse says that it now has “a ground-breaking loyalty program that seamlessly merges casino games with sports betting.”

“Players will earn loyalty and bonus points on every single sports and casino wager, including the more than 5 million Live In-Game bet options and 450 casino games and live dealer table games.”

The integration extends to player wallets, too. Fund your online sportsbook account and you can use your deposit to make sports bets and vice versa. All transactions are handled through a single account — and that includes bonuses.

Betting on innovation at SugarHouse Sportsbook

Sports bettors will have access to a bewildering range of opportunities to wager. If New Jersey follows the international experience, in-play betting will soon be the wager of choice for sports fans.

In-play betting lets players bet on a range of possibilities while the game is going on, making sports viewing much more interactive.

SugarHouse owner Rush Street Interactive explained just that in a press release announcing the launch:

“RSI and PlaySugarHouse.com are committed to offering players in New Jersey the most bang for their buck, with millions of Live In-Game bet offers. Great odds and advanced technology enables those In-Game bets at PlaySugarHouse.com to remain open longer and maximize betting opportunities during the game. Players have the opportunity to make a wide range of bets including who will win the game, upcoming plays, over/under for teams and players, partial game bet, parlays, and much more.”

Change your mind and cash out your bet

If you’ve ever changed your mind about a sports bet after you’ve placed it and the game looks like its going against you, modern sports betting gives you a chance to exit with grace.

Rush Street explained that its new integrated online casino and sportsbook can do just that:

“An innovative feature allows players to cash-out an active bet before the outcome is determined, allowing them to secure part of their winnings or cut their losses as the odds change.”

Three ways to look at betting odds

In June this year, RSI announced that it would be the first US-based operator to launch regulated online sports betting in South America after successfully applying for a license in Colombia.

Rush Street President Richard Schwartz is proud of his company’s expansion and believes that New Jersey will get the benefit of its experience:

“Being the first US-based gaming operator to launch a regulated online sportsbook outside of the US has been helpful in establishing the SugarHouse Online Sportsbook & Casino. We’ve matured our sportsbook product and validated that players value our proprietary sportsbook loyalty program, including earning points on every single bet.”

One of these benefits is an inclusive approach to sports bettors with different preferences. Newcomers can often find the presentation of sports betting odds confusing, so SugarHouse is offering three ways of looking at the numbers:

  • American odds for those familiar with Vegas-style betting
  • Fractional odds for those familiar with horse race betting
  • Decimal odds that are easy to understand for new players to sports betting. Decimal odds are simply what you multiply your stake with in order to calculate payout (i.e. bet $100 at odd 3.50 and your payout is $350).

Kambi now powers two of the three mobile sportsbooks in New Jersey

Rush Street partnered with gaming technology company Kambi to develop its sportsbook. But Kambi is also the name behind the DraftKings mobile offer, stunning the market with its launch ahead of all the major casino operators.

Kambi’s CEO Kristian Nylen said in a statement:

“To be providing our Sportsbook to two of the three online operators currently live in New Jersey is a great achievement and provides further evidence that Kambi is the trusted sports betting partner for operators wishing to enter regulated markets.”

PlayMGM has a technology partnership with IGT and is at the moment the only IGT customer offering a mobile sportsbook. This is set to change soon.

FanDuel Sportsbook already provides the platform for the Meadowlands. That technology was developed in partnership with IGT. If, as widely expected, FanDuel launches its own mobile sports betting app, IGT will be behind it.

New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) Director David Rebuck recently said in an interview that there are several mobile sportsbooks being tested and he expects more launches by the end of August.

Three looks like it will rapidly turn into four or more, and it won’t be long before all the licensed casinos with online sports betting aspirations are in the market.