Almost like clockwork, the fast approaching start of the NFL season is coinciding with a number of NJ online sportsbook launches.
Play SugarHouse, which already supports a thriving online casino under the Golden Nugget license, went live with its app on Thursday morning, following in the footsteps of DraftKings Sportsbook, which launched in early August, and playMGM, which debuted a limited version of its product on Wednesday.
Truth be told, there’s quite a bit to like about the effort from Play SugarHouse parent company Rush Street Interactive and supplier Kambi, as aesthetically and functionally, the app makes a strong case as an early frontrunner in the market.
Now, if it weren’t for those pesky lines…
Incentives for both old and new players
A few highlights of the sportsbook stood out immediately.
For one, Play SugarHouse has upped its first-time deposit bonus to a 100% match up to $250. The bonus carries just a 1x wagering requirement, rendering it about as close to a free cash offer as players will find. Unfortunately, only new players to Play SugarHouse can take advantage of this offer, meaning that if you claimed the site’s old 100% match up to $100 online casino bonus, you’re left out in the cold.
Although knowing Play SugarHouse, we do suspect that returning players will receive some sort of incentive to try their hand at sports betting.
Play SugarHouse has deeply integrated its sports betting arm into its online casino platform. Not only was the sportsbook fully integrated into the operator’s PC site, but the book shares a mobile platform with its other vertical — a claim that both DraftKings Sportsbook and playMGM Sports cannot currently make.
Going further, Play SugarHouse has integrated sports betting into its stellar player rewards program. Details on the specifics were a little sparse, but we have gathered with certainty that Loyalty Level Points and Bonus Store Points will be accrued on sports wagers placed. Play SugarHouse, has in our estimation, the best player rewards program in the NJ online gambling industry, with casual and hardcore players alike earning a significant chunk of their theoretical loss back as rewards.
We suspect that players will also enjoy the interface. Play SugarHouse has borrowed a play from DraftKings (which makes sense, since they’re both powered by Kambi), in that both online sports betting apps make it easy for new players to get up and running, via a series of “Game of the Day” picks and a preset parlay.
Otherwise, the interface is clean and visually appealing, which is a good thing, considering that the number of available bets and markets can be daunting. One handy feature we noticed, is that for live games, Play SugarHouse will provide pertinent stats. For instance, for a live soccer game, players will be able to view a variety of pregame statistics, shots and attacks taken per team, shots off-target, and more.
Play SugarHouse Sports does support in-play bets, where players can bet on a game in-progress. However, in-play is functioning in a sort of limited capacity for now.
NJ Online Gambling has learned from the operator’s support team that in-play will only be available on select NFL Preseason games, but should be ready across all games by the time Week 1 arrives.
- Soccer – an overwhelming 50,000 available bets were accessible at the time of our viewing
- Basketball – including WNBA
- Football – including both college football and the Canadian league
- Rugby Union
Now, about those lines
Generally speaking, the lines on Play SugarHouse parallel the mediocre lines found on DraftKings. Again, this is likely a byproduct of both apps using the same technology supplier in Kambi.
To give a few examples of how the operator’s lines stack up against playMGM, which we noted offers superior money lines than DraftKings, we looked at a few of tonight’s MLB and tomorrow’s NFL Preseason games:
- Padres v. Rockies: PS(+165/-182); playMGM(+162/-177)
- Braves v. Marlins: PS (-182/+160); playMGM(-176/+161)
- Royals v. Rays: PS(+155/-180); playMGM(+160/-175)
- Broncos v. Redskins: PS(+123/-150); playMGM(+130/-150)
- Patriots v. Panthers: PS(+102/-124); playMGM(+105/-125)
- Giants v. Jets: PS(+125/-150); playMGM(+125/-145)
As plainly obvious, playMGM’s money lines for MLB games are between a nickel and a dime better across the board. The gap between the two operators for NFL preseason games is narrower, averaging about a nickel difference in favor of playMGM.
While it’s too early to know exactly how the three NJ online sportsbooks currently in the market will look in their final form, Play SugarHouse gets our early nod in just about every area outside of the lines.
Unfortunately, to some, lines are what matters most. Now, Play SugarHouse should boast a better kickback scheme than playMGM, as its online casino loyalty program is worlds better, but will that be incentive enough for value-hunting bettors to devote their wagering bucks to the site? Tough call.
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