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The Super Bowl bills one day of annual sports betting excitement but the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament schedules two and half weeks of “March Madness” wagering fever for bettors.
FanDuel will build upon that tradition by opening two new retail sportsbooks in two of the largest current US sports wagering markets in New Jersey and Illinois.
Just in time for the tournament tapping off this week, FanDuel Sportsbook at FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing (formerly Fairmount Park) in Collinsville, Illinois, opened on Monday with St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith making the ceremonial first bet.
Last week FanDuel opened its newest location at Bally’s Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. FanDuel had opened a temporary sportsbook at Bally’s in December. All nine Atlantic City casinos now have onsite sportsbooks available for sports wagering.
The new FanDuel Sportsbook is located in the clubhouse and has a huge 98-inch LED video wall with 24 LED video displays that are 65-inches in size. As part of the grand opening Smith bet $20 on the St. Louis Cardinals to win this year’s World Series.
There are live betting windows at the location along with two self-service betting kiosks. The 20 IGT PlaySports kiosks allow players to place wagers themselves. The platform provides betting for all major sports in the US including Major League Baseball, NBA & NCAA basketball, NBA & NCAA football, soccer, and more.
FanDuel Group Vice President of Retail, Keith Wall, commented on the Illinois launch saying:
The installation was a special project for the company because the name is on the track itself. The brand is committed to revitalizing the location and creating capital improvements. The company will also hire individuals from the local community.
Illinois legalized sports wagering first began operation in March 2020. Not the most optimal time to launch with the start of COVID-19 and with both sports and casino locations in the state facing restrictions. January was the seventh consecutive month the state saw an increase in total sports betting handle. A record $581.5 million total sports betting handle during the month was recorded in the “Land of Lincoln”.
Although online sports wagering has been dominant over the past several months, New Jersey still has several popular retail locations that are enjoyed by many bettors. FanDuel’s flagship sportsbook in New Jersey is at The Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford across from Manhattan and is the nation’s most popular onsite sports betting location.
The FanDuel Sportsbook in Atlantic City will be located by the northern boardwalk casino entrance. According to the info in a news release, the sportsbook features two large video walls, a central 25-foot-wide state-of-the-art LED video wall, flanked by two 10-foot-wide LED video walls, 10 video displays, five live teller betting windows, and 20 IGT PlaySports kiosks.
Andrew Kleiman, Senior Director of Operations, FanDuel Group was excited by the AC launch adding:
We are privileged to partner with Bally’s Corporation to open our FanDuel Sportsbook inside Bally’s Atlantic City. The legacy of Atlantic City and excitement of being steps away from the boardwalk creates a unique atmosphere for our customers. We look forward to a successful future with our new partner and community.
The Atlantic City sportsbook will make the fifth retail sportsbook Bally’s has opened with the other locations operating in Colorado, Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. In total FanDuel now has 16 onsite locations for sports betting.
Not only is the opening in New Jersey for FanDuel well-timed due to this week’s NCAA Basketball Tournament but for another reason as well.
Governor Phil Murphy has announced in a statement that casino capacity restrictions will be lifted from 35% to 50% in New Jersey starting at 6:00 AM this Friday, March 19. Although cases of COVID-19 remain high, Gov. Murphy pointed to a defined drop in hospitalization cases as a motivating reason for his decision.
All casinos in New Jersey are grateful for Gov. Murphy’s decision as state gaming revenue was down a noticeable 17% ($2.88 billion) in 2020. The Garden State led the nation with a sports wagering handle of $6 billion for the past year, an increase of 31% vs. 2019, although retail onsite sportsbooks accounted for only 6% of the total.
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Larry Gibbs is both a seasoned journalist and a respected online gaming industry consultant. His wry commentary & sharp analysis have appeared in numerous top gaming and sports wagering publications. He has also served as Vice President of US Gaming Services, a marketing research organization with 15 years of experience in US online wagering. He has spoken at noted gaming industry conferences including G2E, GiGSE, and NCLGS.
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