European gambling heavyweight bet365 has signed a long-term lease on almost 19,000 square feet of office space in Marlton, New Jersey. The move comes as the company draws closer to launching its NJ online sports betting platform.
Hard Rock Atlantic City and bet365 signed a letter of intent last June, and regulators approved at least part of the operation a week later. The company is now well along in its license application process, on target to roll out in early summer of this year.
Online Poker Report understands that the plan is to choose a launch date in June.
It looks like bet365 will be leaving the iPoker network at home, though. The approval signed by David Rebuck only includes sports betting, so the market won’t be welcoming another NJ online poker site.
At least not yet.
Denise Coates founded bet365 and remains the majority shareholder with 50.01 percent equity. That’s more than enough to make her Britain’s richest woman with a fortune of around $4 billion. In 2018, Coates was the UK’s highest paid chief executive, taking home $338 million in paychecks.
This isn’t irrelevant.
Coates is a self-made billionaire, building bet365 from scratch. Her company is now the largest online sports betting operator in Europe and the market leader in Italy. There no reason to think she can’t do the same in the US market.
The Hard Rock partnership is just the start.
Bet365 also has a relationship with Empire Resorts, which owns Resorts World Catskills in New York. The deal is active for 20 years, with bet365 investing $50 million to buy five percent of shares.
Coates and company will build a branded sportsbook at Resorts World, confident that NY will get sports betting going this year.
Given the stated ambitions for the US and investments in New York, the one surprise is that bet365 isn’t involved in the Pennsylvania market. No announcements from the PA casinos mention bet365, but Coates has almost certainly taken a look at the market.
Pennsylvania’s high taxes might be a deterrent, but the location of the new offices is suggestive. Regular bus service exists between Marlton and Philadelphia, and the new offices are a lot closer to Philly than they are to Atlantic City.
The impending New Jersey launch is likely just the beginning of bet365’s ambitions.