Wynn Quietly Launches Sportsbook, Online Casino In New Jersey

Wynn Sports recently had one of the quietest online gambling launches in the history of New Jersey. The sportsbook app went live with an integrated online casino, Wynn’s first foray into that space.

Wynn first released the app in unannounced fashion in early August, launching without fanfare in the already crowded New Jersey market. Now, that soft launch phase has come to an end and Wynn Sports has begun full-fledged operations. For now, the product is mobile-only, with a browser version to come at some later date.

Lacking a physical property among Atlantic City‘s casinos, Wynn had to find a land-based partner in the state. The deal it has struck is with Caesars Entertainment, which owns several casinos there. WynnBET Online Casino is the fourth skin on that license, alongside Caesars, Harrah’s and 888.

It’s commonplace for untested products like Wynn’s to start with a soft launch to give the company a chance to iron out wrinkles before making a big marketing push. But it’s hard to remember an online launch in NJ that came with less marketing than this one.

Uncharted territory for a well-known casino brand

Although Wynn’s Las Vegas properties form an iconic part of the Strip skyline, it’s an unknown brand as far as real money online gambling goes. Until now, its only online presence was in the form of its Nevada sportsbook and a free-to-play mobile slots app. The latter is primarily aimed at its brick-and-mortar customers, and awards prizes such as free stays or meals at Wynn properties.

Wynn’s sports betting app was actually one of the first to launch in Nevada, but it has yet to expand from there. It is expected to launch a Colorado sportsbook and an Indiana sportsbook in the near future, followed by other states.

Part of the reason for its slow entry to the online market is its lack of a physical presence in key states. Five of its six casinos are in Las Vegas or Macau. The only other is the Encore Boston Harbor. Although Massachusetts could end up legalizing online casinos eventually, it hasn’t done so yet.

In 2010, Wynn had announced plans to build a new casino on the Philadelphia riverfront, which would have given it a toehold in Pennsylvania. However, it abandoned those plans in 2013, long before online gambling became legal there.

It remains to be seen how this impacts Wynn’s success in the online arena. So far, the biggest success stories have been either online-only brands like DraftKings Sportsbook, or ones with a strong local presence, like Golden Nugget in New Jersey. Major national brick-and-mortar casino brands like MGM and Caesars have been making progress as well, but more slowly.

Initial emphasis on sports, with casino to follow

Despite Wynn’s recognition as a casino brand, it has so far elected to prioritize the sports vertical for its online operations. At the moment, there is no standalone Wynn Casino app. Rather, casino games are included as a tab within the Wynn Sports app.

Most of Wynn’s communications so far have focused on the features of the sportsbook. It claims that its app has the best search features of any New Jersey sportsbook, allowing players to find the matches they’re looking for faster than anywhere else. Likewise, the only welcome bonus at the moment is a $100 risk-free bet for sportsbook users, with nothing on offer for casino players.

At the moment, there are no table games and only a few dozen slots titles in the casino tab, but more should be coming soon. We have some idea what to expect in that regard because Wynn has enlisted Scientific Games as its technology provider.

Scientific Games’ OpenGaming platform provides ready access to over 2,500 slots and table games. Some of these it develops in-house, while others it licenses from outside developers. This will allow Wynn to fill out its catalogue quite easily as it settles into the market.

A quiet approach by Wynn

Not much other information is available at this point, either about the app itself or Wynn’s future plans. All along, the company has been playing its cards close to its chest. Prior to the soft launch, it had given no direct indication it was coming to New Jersey at all.

That said, it wasn’t a complete surprise. Wynn’s plans for New Jersey became apparent in indirect fashion in April 2019, when Scientific Games sent out a press release announcing their deal. Among other things, it specified that New Jersey would be the initial target market, but no launch date.

The timing only became apparent thanks to another third-party announcement. This came in July from Global Payments Gaming Solutions, which had struck a deal with Wynn to handle its payment processing.

Wynn hasn’t said whether it has similar plans for Pennsylvania, West Virginia or Michigan. However, New Jersey is the traditional starting point for companies eyeing the iGaming market. Given its approach there, it’s reasonable to expect similarly unannounced launches from Wynn in other states.

- Alex is a journalist from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. Now site runner for Online Poker Report, he has been writing about poker and the online gambling industry in various capacities since 2014.
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