Tropicana Atlantic City Launches New Jersey Sports Book

Tropicana Atlantic City launched a sports book in partnership with William Hill. It’s the ninth sports book to open in the state and the seventh at an Atlantic City casino. William Hill also announced it will operate a sports betting lounge at Newark’s Prudential Center, home of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.

Tropicana Atlantic City has opened a sports book in its North Tower casino, making it the seventh Atlantic City casino to offer live sports betting.

The sports book was launched in partnership with William Hill, which also operates sports books in the state at Monmouth Park racetrack in OceanPort NJ and the Ocean Resort casino in Atlantic City.

The first bet at the temporary facility was for the Los Angeles Lakers to beat the Denver Nuggets the night of the opening.

In Atlantic City, only the Hard Rock casino has yet to open a live sports book. Caesars Atlantic City also has not opened its own sports book, but is sharing a temporary facility at its Bally’s Atlantic City property.

Along with its North Tower facility, Tropicana plans to add sports betting kiosks around its property.

“I think it brings a new customer,” Tropicana general manager Steve Callender told Philly.com. “Especially the millennials who grew up playing fantasy sports and might not want to play slot machines or table games, but they’ll bet games. And there’s an existing market that will give people something else to do. We’ve been waiting a long time for this.”

The casino was part of Eldorado resorts recent acquisition of Tropicana Entertainment from billionaire Carl Icahn—which delayed the opening of the sports book as the company sought various licensing approvals from state regulators.

The casino has not announced whether it will launch an online component. Upon taking over the Atlantic City property, Eldorado quickly fired the casino’s online staff operating the online casino site Tropicana.com in New Jersey. However, it is unclear whether the firings mean the company is not interested in online gaming or will simply outsource management of the sites.

Meanwhile, William Hill also announced it will operate a sports betting lounge at Newark’s Prudential Center, home of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.

The facility will not include a live sports book, but the company will have “ambassadors” on hand to assist patrons in downloading William Hill’s New Jersey online sports betting app. Other than that, the lounge will appear as a normal William Hill sports book with games broadcast on more than 20 screens including odds boards displaying the menu of betting options across all sports.

Odds will also be displayed on the center’s scoreboard and the facility will be open for every event in the venue, including concerts, according to a report at ESPN.

“Our goal has always been to make Prudential Center the home of sports and entertainment in New Jersey, but ultimately our mission is to create the most dynamic fan experience in the industry today, and the William Hill Sports Lounge will play a part in amplifying fan experience here,” said Hugh Weber, president of the Devils’ ownership group, Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment in a press release.

Joe Asher, William Hill U.S. CEO, told ESPN that the company sees New Jersey as one of the key sports betting markets in the U.S. even though six states now offer sports betting.

“We’re spending a considerable amount of marketing dollars in New Jersey,” Asher told ESPN. “It is going to be a very competitive and expensive landscape for the next couple of years. A think a lot of companies in the space feel the need to push hard in the state as a testing ground to prove they can be everywhere. In a way, it’s like the Iowa caucuses in politics.”

William Hill operates one of eight online sports books in a very competitive market in the state. Last week, three of those online sports books—PlayMGM, BetStars and 888—launched iOS versions now available on the Apple App Store. The launch means that all eight of the state’s online sports books are available in iOS and Android versions.

And in a related story, William Hill U.S. said it suing sports betting rival FanDuel—which operates the sports book at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford—for allegedly copying its “how to bet” guide for customers.

William Hill US filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in U.S. District Courts saying that FanDuel blatantly duplicated their guide, even using the same hypothetical examples William Hill uses to explain bets. The suit says FanDuel also lifted block copy from William Hill’s guide as well as graphs and diagrams.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages against FanDuel, including any profits it made by using the allegedly copied guide.

“We are not litigious people, but this is ridiculous,” Asher told ESPN. “If the court finds in our favor, a portion of the proceeds will fund scholarships for creative writing programs at New Jersey universities.”