Tropicana And Chalkline Sports Take A Baby Step Toward Sports Betting

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Now that real-money sports betting has become a reality in New Jersey at racetracks and casinos, fans of online gambling are eagerly waiting to see what their remote options will be.

Earlier this week Tropicana launched a new addition to its family of websites – Tropicana Sports – a new site that is not meant for real-money betting on sporting events but rather a free-to-play web experience where players can get a small taste of what a forthcoming Tropicana sportsbook might be like.

A simple start to making sports picks

At a glance the site is very basic in its structure, splitting its main page between the top free games offered at the moment and a number of panels of “preview” information displaying some vital statistics about several major upcoming professional sporting events.

The details in these panels are scant, but sufficient for the site’s main purpose which appears to just draw in gamblers to get them thinking about more complex picks. Clicking through to the teams listed will generate slightly more data on which to base a pick, but clearly the expectation by Tropicana is that players will be inspired to begin making fast decisions on a number of upcoming events.

The site’s internal games are based around making a combined guess at the outcome of multiple games at once, with a collection of correct picks making one eligible for a number of real prizes such as gift cards, appliances, and trips to Tropicana resorts.

Entering these contests do not appear to be restricted to players within New Jersey, unlike Tropicana’s real-money online casino, but instead may be open to anyone since no actual betting or depositing of money is involved. Access is still limited to players 21 years of age or older.

Roster at launch

The site tracks major games across several different sports:

  • MLB Baseball
  • NBA Basketball
  • NFL Football
  • NHL Hockey
  • Two soccer options:
    • MLS Soccer
    • World Cup Soccer

At the time of launch a number of contests are already running on the site. Prizes can be won by picking the winners of the day’s MLB baseball games in the Baseball Daily Pick 5, or from guessing the day’s soccer winners in the World Cup Match Pick’em Game.

While golf is not listed as one of the major sports tracked, there is currently also a Par 5 Pick’em Golf Game centered on the 2018 US Open.

An outside developer making in-roads

The site has been built by a software developer named Chalkline Sports, a two-year-old company based in Nashville which specializes in fast, simple gaming technology centered on sports betting. Its own website describes expertise in building a site exactly like Tropicana Sports, a simple and spartan page optimized for mobile interaction and short attention spans.

Chalkline has worked with a number of key figures in the casino industry, most notably major developer IGT – supplier of many popular online casino slot machines and table games.

The way forward

It’s still anyone’s guess as to exactly what Tropicana’s actual real-money online sports betting site will look like. It’s possible it could be built on top of this current site, but at the same time this current offering does not really appear designed for such an upgrade.

Chalkline’s own marketing materials seem to indicate a recommended strategy where free-to-play sports betting games are introduced first to attract a fanbase and build it into a strong following prior to transitioning to more advanced offerings.

One thing that is pretty much certain is that any real-money sportsbook will neatly integrate into the existing Trop Advantage VIP program the same way that this version of Tropicana Sports and the Tropicana Casino Online already do, not that that was ever in question.

But it seems likely that when real-money bets begin Tropicana would do better to integrate its future sportsbook into the existing casino site instead, which is already outfitted with the proper infrastructure for banking transactions and secure geolocation verification.

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Ryan is a seasoned writer with several years of expertise in poker and online gaming. He is also an aficionado of advantage gambling and a general lover of statistics with a keen interest in strategic probability.

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