Sports bettors who frequent the main FanDuel Sportsbook area at the Meadowlands Racetrack will likely be pleased to see the arrival of four self-service kiosks at the Victory Sports Bar site in the next 7 to 10 days (state regulators permitting).
But if they have been visiting the auxiliary sports betting section on the north end of the facility, they would already have seen them in the past two weeks. That’s because 10 of those machines went live on Feb. 7.
“There is more room in the other area to set up queue lines, and to make it more of a controlled environment while we were troubleshooting,” said Jeff Lowich, FanDuel’s senior director of retail operations.
A casual observer might wonder at first about the appeal of the self-serve kiosks. After all, if avoiding getting stuck in a line behind a novice playing “Twenty Questions” with a teller is so important, why not just stay home and bet on your smartphone?
“Some people like the autonomy of the machines, and being able to put their own money in,” Lowich said. “This is mainly for casual players – part of that is driven by state regulations.”
New Jersey officials don’t permit self-service bets of more than $3,000, nor parlay bets with potential winnings over $10,000.
Cash is king on kiosks
For the lower-level players, there is no “paper trail” from a kiosk as there would be on a smartphone – it’s cash in, cash out. And for those who used to frequent their local neighborhood bookie, cash was king.
Lowich said FanDuel is finding that most kiosk players already have the company’s sports betting app on their phones, and the screens at the kiosks are nearly identical – thus speeding up betting times. Whatever options there are on the app also are available at the kiosk, Lowich said.
For those who don’t want to wait to see the new kiosks, make a right after you walk in through the Meadowlands Racetrack entrance, rather than making a left into the main sportsbook or going straight back to the track. Wander through the ubiquitous horse racing simulcasting players to the other end of the building and you’ll find the kiosks.
Will 14 kiosks (four more are coming soon to the main sportsbook) be enough to satisfy demand at peak times – say, during the upcoming March Madness men’s college basketball event?
“Longer term, we’re looking at bringing in a few dozen more,” Lowich said. “We’ll launch in phases, and see how it works.”
Resorts Casino in Atlantic City rolled out its temporary sportsbook in August with four self-service betting kiosks and now has 16 at its permanent sports that opened in November, while Ocean Resort – the casino formerly known as Revel – also offers the amenity with four kiosks. So does Golden Nugget’s sportsbook, which has nine.
Monmouth Park, the state’s thoroughbred racetrack “down the Shore,” also plans to leverage its partnership with gaming industry giant William Hill to provide the convenience of kiosks.
“Hopefully soon,” Monmouth Park operator Dennis Drazin told NJ Online Gambling. “William Hill tells me the kiosks are being tested.”
“Hopefully soon” likely can apply to other Atlantic City casinos as well, as the added convenience helps each of them retain customer loyalty, no easy feat in an ever-expanding sports betting and online casino gaming marketplace in New Jersey.
Hooping it up
As for March Madness, Selection Sunday is on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, with the first weekend March 21-24. After another hectic weekend, the Final Four comes around on April 6-8 in Minneapolis.
But for those who enjoy watching the conference tournaments, a majority of which are “win or go home” one-bid leagues, the 32 competitions begin with the Atlantic Sun Conference on March 4 and the Big South, Horizon, and Patriot leagues on March 5.
This first-time-legal event in New Jersey figures to significantly bolster revenues for the two racetracks and eight Atlantic City casinos that have on-site sportsbooks – Hard Rock became the eighth just before the Super Bowl – as bettors and fans seek to mingle and, well, go a bit “mad.”