Seven Down, Two To Go, As Tropicana Opens Atlantic City Sportsbook

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Welcome Tropicana to the Atlantic City casino sports betting fold.

Its William Hill-branded sportsbook will be a kindred spirit to the one at Ocean Resort, while dueling with sportsbooks at Borgata, Resorts, Harrah’s, Golden Nugget, and Bally’s.

Who’s left? Just Hard Rock — which has applied for a sports betting license, so it’s coming — and Caesars, which has Harrah’s and Bally’s as corporate siblings and with which it shares an online sportsbook presence. It’s not clear that Caesars will join the brick-and-mortar game.

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Tropicana recently was sold by billionaire Carl Icahn to Eldorado Group, which quickly shook up the front office there. You can find the temporary sports betting site at the North Tower, and look for kiosks throughout the casino.

First bet has been cast

LeBron James clearly still has his believers; the first bet at Tropicana was on the Lakers money line for their Thursday night game with the Nuggets, a $20 bet that returned $47 when L.A. prevailed 121-114 behind a LeBron triple double.

As it happens, the first Eagles game of the Tropicana sports betting era — and Atlantic City, in spite of being in New Jersey, is well-marked Eagles territory — will begin at 9:30 a.m. ET from London on Sunday, with the Jaguars as the opponents. Tropicana plans to be open by 7 a.m. for early risers (or night owls, come to think of it).

Tropicana may be dinged by the same issue that Parx soon will face in eastern Pennsylvania: counting on a Super Bowl repeat bid by a team that is only 3-4 after seven weeks. The betting volume could be significantly impacted by whether the Eagles are still looking at the playoffs as Thanksgiving arrives and then Christmas and New Year’s near.

Outside Atlantic City, there are two other in-house options for sports bettors in New Jersey: the Meadowlands Racetrack (FanDuel Sportsbook) and Monmouth Park (another William Hill partnership).

Eldorado also has casinos in early-adopting sports betting states Mississippi and West Virginia as well as iconic Nevada, and in “talking about sports betting” states such as Illinois and Indiana.

New Jersey sites took in $95 million in sports betting handle in August and nearly doubled that figure in September. A double-digit percentage increase also is expected in October as consumer awareness of the betting options — particularly online — rises.

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John Brennan

John Brennan has covered NJ and NY sports business and gaming since 2002 and was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist in 2008, while reporting for The Bergen County Record.

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