The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement lists 19 mobile sports betting apps on its website, but up to 17 more slots can be filled by partnerships with one of Atlantic City’s nine casinos or one of three state racetracks.
While it’s not likely that all the slots will ever be filled, that doesn’t mean more competition isn’t coming.
Last week, Carousel Group, which operates SportsBetting.com, announced a 10-year deal with Caesars Entertainment for the purpose of offering an online sportsbook in New Jersey, Indiana, and Iowa.
The Caesars Interactive branch of that company lists Caesarscasino.com , wynnbet.com, and 888sport.com as its sports betting partners. But Caesars Entertainment also owns the Caesars, Harrah’s, and Tropicana casinos in Atlantic City — having swapped out Bally’s for Tropicana last year — and each casino property is entitled to three sports betting “skins” for mobile gambling purposes.
Carousel, which was founded in 2017 by “longtime industry executives” and which has offices in New Jersey, Malta, and Spain, launched in the U.S. in September in the state of Colorado.
The latter approval could help streamline the rigorous approval process in New Jersey, whose leadership successfully spearheaded an end to Nevada’s de facto monopoly on sports betting by winning the PASPA case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in May 2018.
Trying to stand out from the crowd
In an interview with FrontOfficeSports.com shortly after the Colorado launch, Carousel Group founder and CEO Daniel Graetzer spoke frankly about the “dog fight” for market share taking place in a number of highly competitive sports betting states. He observed that “there’s a weeding-out process that will take place.”
But Graetzer added that his company will be “one of the last standing,” because — unlike some rivals — Carousel has its own in-house trading platform that enables it to control what odds to offer.
Graetzer then offered some magic words to many professional gamblers who have found that access to more than a dozen betting apps in New Jersey or elsewhere doesn’t necessarily mean they can place a bet at the amount they want, with the odds that they seek.
Other sports betting apps, Graetzer said, offer “inflated juice” with 15-, 20-, and 30-cent “vig” that he calls “highway robbery.”
In other words, don’t expect sportsbetting.com to insist that you wager $115 to $130 to win a $100 bet.
“And we don’t want to stop there,” Graetzer said. “We guarantee that we won’t kick out winning players like many of the big shops in the states. We’ve created an environment that allows everyone to bet with us. I don’t like to say this, but we sometimes want to be perceived in the same way the offshore sportsbooks were, in that we will take any and all action.”
The main sports betting app to use this marketing approach in New Jersey has been Australian-based PointsBet, which specifically wooed some of the state’s top gamblers in hopes of both winning their business and then spreading the word in that insular community.
CEO Johnny Aitken said in 2019 that his company planned to focus specifically on hardcore bettors. But there has been grumbling in the sports betting professionals community that high-stakes bets have become more difficult to play there as well.
Carousel’s other U.S. gambling play
Another development by Carousel, mentioned only in passing in a press release last week, could eventually become even more lucrative for it.
Carousel is also applying for an online casino gaming license in New Jersey, where operators last year took in a whopping $970.3 million in revenue. That outstripped the more ballyhooed world of sports betting, where New Jersey operators took in a comparatively modest $398.5 million.
New Jersey has nearly three dozen authorized online casino gaming websites, with each casino company offering at least two versions. Three companies dominated the online casino space in New Jersey in 2020: Golden Nugget ($318.9 million), Resorts Digital ($208.4 million), and Borgata ($208.2 million).
Among Golden Nugget’s five sites are playsugarhouse.com, betfaircasino.com, and nj.betamerica.com, while Resorts has the powerful PokerStars, DraftKings, and Mohegan Sun brands as partners.
Among Borgata’s 10 sites are casino.nj.betmgm.com, nj.partypoker.com, and palacasino.com.