Borgata is taking sports bets today – but here’s why others are not

By Anjalee Khemlani
Atlantic City | Jun 14, 2018 at 12:28 pm

Many of the casinos in Atlantic City have been working with sports books in preparation for legalization, but only Borgata opened its book Thursday.

John Palmieri, former director of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, said that, between 2011-2016, sports betting was a common conversation topic.

And many of the casinos were creating relationships that would serve them well in the event sports betting was legalized, he said.

Some, like Caesars, which operates in Las Vegas, are likely to build in-house; meanwhile, others are sure to be working with third-party operators.

Jeff Gural, operator of the Meadowlands Racetrack, told ROI-NJ he is still working on starting up betting, with plans for a temporary site, and needs clarification on where he can operate it from the state.

Before the legalization bill was signed by Gov. Phil Murphy, a line was added that helped include some casinos that could have been left out otherwise.

“The direct or indirect legal or beneficial owner of 10 percent or more of a sports’ governing body or any of its member teams shall not place or accept any wager on a sports event in which any member team of that sport’s governing body participates,” according to the new law.

Previously, the bill had said anyone affiliated with any team or league could not accept or place bets.

Which would have been bad for reasons like these:

  • Apollo Global Management, whose managing director owns the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils, has a 10 percent stake in Caesars Entertainment properties, including Harrah’s, Caesars and Bally’s.
  • Borgata’s parent company, MGM, owns the Las Vegas Aces, a WNBA team, but that is only 1 percent of revenue, according to flushdraw.net.
  • A Golden Nugget vice president owns the Houston Rockets, so it cannot offer NBA betting.
  • Hard Rock, which is opening its Atlantic City location at the end of this month, has the naming rights for the Miami Dolphins’ stadium and may be contractually obligated by the NFL to stay out of bets altogether.

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Anjalee Khemlani | akhemlani@roi-nj.com | AnjKhem