N.J. expected to see $100M bounty from Super Bowl bets

{child_byline}DAVID WEINBERG

Staff Writer

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Atlantic City’s eight sportsbooks are expected to do super business this weekend.

According to estimates from PlayNJ.com and the PlayUSA Network, New Jersey’s sportsbooks will take in an estimated $100 million in bets related to Sunday’s Super Bowl LIII between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots.

“We’re setting the line at $100 million in legal bets in New Jersey and $325 million in total bets placed on the game at legal sportsbooks nationwide,” PlayNJ.com lead sports betting analyst Dustin Gouker said. “The excitement of being able to legally place a bet for the first time in New Jersey, an intriguing matchup with two high-powered offenses and plenty of star power, and the proliferation of proposition bets, should all combine to make for an impressive total.”

Super Bowl LIII marks the first time Atlantic City casino patrons will be able to place legal wagers on what is the biggest football game — and one of the biggest betting events — of the year.

“Sporting events like Super Bowl LIII are a great opportunity to draw visitors to the Atlantic City region in the colder months,” said Rummy Pandit, executive director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism at Stockton University. “Atlantic City’s sports books are building a solid base of loyal consumers who now have another great reason to visit Atlantic City all year round.”

New Jersey approved sports betting last June, and Atlantic City’s first sportsbooks began operating shortly thereafter. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City opened its facility Wednesday, joining Bally’s Wild Wild West Sportsbook, Borgata Race & Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook at Resorts Casino Hotel, Harrah’s Sportsbook and William Hill Sportsbooks at Ocean Resort Casino and Tropicana Atlantic City.

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa is building an $11 million sportsbook to replace the spot it currently shares with its horse racing betting parlor.

Sports betting already has had a significant impact in Atlantic City.

New Jersey bettors wagered $1.24 billion on sports in 2018, with Atlantic City casinos earning more than $50 million in revenue from sports bets, according to the state Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Those numbers are expected to continue to increase this year. The Super Bowl and the opening rounds of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament are traditionally the biggest days of the year for legalized betting in the United States.

Until this season, sports fans would either travel to Las Vegas for those events or seek out other methods of betting.

“I used to go to Las Vegas twice a year,” Golden Nugget Sportsbook Manager Joe Nicosia said. “Every year, 12 or 13 of us would get together and go out for the Super Bowl and March Madness. There’s only four or five of us left, and we’ll be together in Atlantic City this year.”

The action in town has already started.

Nicosia and representatives from DraftKings and William Hill said betting started Monday and was expected to increase over the weekend.

Much of the early action has revolved around the various prop, or side, bets that accompany the game. Sportsbooks offer odds on side bets ranging from who will win the coin flip to who will score the first touchdown to the color of Gatorade that will be poured over the winning coach.

Some side bets incorporate other sports. Bettors can choose whether Houston’s James Harden’s total points, rebounds and assists in Saturday’s NBA game against Utah will surpass the total points in the Super Bowl, or whether Manchester United’s total goals Sunday will surpass Tom Brady’s touchdown passes.

There’s even a bet that predicts the number of tweets President Donald Trump will send during the game. The over/under is 9.5.

“It seems like a lot of people get excited over the prop bets,” Nicosia said. “It offers the opportunity for people to bet a little money and win a lot, sort of like the table games in the casino.”

Action will really pick up Sunday, however.

All of Atlantic City’s properties are hosting Super Bowl parties, and the sportsbooks should be packed all day. Besides betting on the outcome, gamblers will have the ability to place in-game wagers.

“I think the action on Super Bowl Sunday is going to be very robust,” DraftKings Sportsbook Director John Avello said. “You can expect people to be lining up at 9:30, 10 in the morning even though kickoff isn’t until 6:30 that night.”

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Contact: 609-272-7201 DWeinberg@pressofac.com Twitter @PressACWeinberg

Sportswriter/columnist

Member of The Press sports staff since 1986, starting my 27th season as The Press Eagles' beat writer. Also cover boxing, MMA, golf, high school sports and everything else.

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