Bettors have been placing sports wagers at various New Jersey casinos and racetracks for nearly two months. Now New Jersey sports betting is set to go mobile.
Sportsbook operators in Atlantic City casinos and New Jersey racetracks are poised to launch mobile sports betting phone apps. Once live, New Jersey will join Nevada as the only states offering legal mobile sports betting.
DraftKings, a prominent daily fantasy operator entering the sports betting space, announced Wednesday that it is opening registration for its mobile sports betting app in New Jersey and will begin with an invite-only trial period. Participants in the trial will be able to bet, win and lose real money. DraftKings did not give a definitive length of the trial but said that it is the final step before receiving approval by New Jersey Division of Gaming to officially launch the sportsbook in the state.
MGM CEO Jim Murren said Tuesday that the Borgata in Atlantic City will begin offering mobile wagering by the end of the week, but no official launch date has been set. Caesars Entertainment, which operates multiple Atlantic City casinos, has said it will implement a sports betting app "quickly." Caesars and MGM each offer mobile sports betting in Nevada.
New Jersey sports betting apps will use geolocation to require that all mobile bets are placed from within state lines.
While casinos and racetracks rushed to open their over-the-counter operations, DraftKings took a different approach -- focusing on its mobile betting product before setting up a retail space at partner Resorts Casino & Hotel in Atlantic City.
"I think the opportunity for innovation is just massive (with mobile)," Jason Robins, CEO of DraftKings, told ESPN. "Not to say that you can't innovate on the retail side, but it's quite literally a limited space. Mobile, you can do anything with. There is no limit to where I think this is going to go, with integrations of streaming ... I think eventually it integrates with voice assistance in the home, smart TVs. The opportunities really are endless as technology advances."
DraftKings partnered with Malta-based sports betting provider Kambi to help oversee oddsmaking, trading and risk management. DraftKings also announced the hiring of Jamie Shea as its head of sportsbook digital. Shea will work out of a new 25-person office Hoboken, New Jersey.
In addition to all the major sports events, both domestically and internationally, DraftKings envisions offering wagering on events like the Academy Awards and Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, depending on gaming regulations. Live in-game wagering and an increased amount of player propositions also are expected in DraftKings' betting menu.
The DraftKings app is available for the iPhone and Android. It features a "cash out" option for bettors, who will have the option of culminating the wager at a different price depending on how the odds change during an event.
"I just think the way sports betting is thought of and the experience of it is going to look totally different in 10 years," Robins said. "And I think mobile is really the key for that."
The DraftKings sports book will be offered on a separate app from the company's daily fantasy platform; however, players will have a shared wallet between the two apps, with some limitations.
DraftKings isn't the only new player to enter New Jersey's sports betting industry. Daily fantasy operator FanDuel and online casino and poker provider The Stars Group also are targeting football season to be up and running with mobile betting.
"We are working toward being one of the first brands launching mobile betting in New Jersey following the state's campaign for meaningful change in U.S. legislation," Matthew Primeaux, senior vice president of strategy and operations U.S. for The Stars Group, told ESPN. "With casino and poker already, expanding into sports means that betting fans can enjoy all we have to offer."
On Wednesday, Mississippi became the third state to begin offering sports betting since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 in mid-May. Mississippi allows mobile wagering but only on casino premises. Mobile wagering will not be available in Mississippi in the beginning.