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Yet another online casino in New Jersey is coming, as Australian bookmaker PointsBet has announced a deal to launch one in partnership with Twin River Worldwide Holdings. It’s the third new iGaming operation to be announced this month for New Jersey, a market in which over 20 online casinos already operate.
The deal is contingent on Twin River closing on its expected purchase of Bally’s Atlantic City from Caesars Entertainment and Vici Properties. It guarantees that PointsBet’s casino will be the primary skin on the Bally’s license for a 10-year period. In return, Twin River will collect a share of PointsBet’s gaming revenue.
“PointsBet continues to innovate and iterate upon its proprietary technology profile,” said Manjit Gombra Singh, the company’s President of Product and Technology. “This agreement is yet another signal that PointsBet remains focused on providing a modern gaming experience for modern times.”
PointsBet is one of many sports-focused operators now seeking to branch out into the legal US online casino space. Describing itself as “Australia’s fastest-growing bookmaker,” it differentiates itself from the competition by its eponymous points betting product. These bets are similar to moneyline or spread bets, but with winnings or losses that scale with the margin by which the game’s outcome exceeds or misses the target.
The company already has a sports betting app in the state, in partnership with Monmouth Park Racetrack. The app will soon be available in six states. However, PointsBet’s only retail sportsbook in the US at the moment is at Catfish Bend Casino in Iowa.
PointsBet hasn’t been able to launch a casino in New Jersey yet because Monmouth Park, as a racetrack, isn’t eligible for an online casino license. That’s why the deal with Twin River is so important.
Twin River is based in Rhode Island, where it owns the state’s only two casinos. These, however, are operated by the state lottery. It has a similar arrangement in place in Delaware, where it owns the Dover Downs racetrack.
Delaware is also the only state with online gambling in which Twin River currently has a presence. However, those online casinos are also lottery-run. The plans for New Jersey are therefore uncharted territory for Twin River as much as for PointsBet.
Twin River President and CEO George Papanier describes the deal as part of a plan to “fundamentally transform” the Bally’s property. The purchase was a bit of a steal at just $25 million. The casino has seen better days, and Caesars was a motivated seller due to its obligation to dispose of at least one of its Atlantic City properties to pave the way for its merger with Eldorado Resorts.
As well as launching the online casino, Twin River expects to do extensive renovations to Bally’s hotel rooms, casino floor and convention space. It says it also plans to improve the food and beverage offerings, and add a full-service spa.
Twin River also owns casinos in Missouri, Mississippi and Colorado. It stands to be a dominant force in the Colorado sports betting industry, with deals in place with both FanDuel and DraftKings, which have typically proven to be the top two sportsbooks wherever they operate.
Unfortunately, Twin River’s purchase of Bally’s will only be complete later this year or early next year. That deal needs to go through before PointsBet can launch its casino on the Bally’s license.
It probably won’t be PointsBet’s first online casino at that point. It was one of the first companies to secure a market-access deal in Michigan, with the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.
Michigan is still at least a few months away from a launch for online gambling. Even so, PointsBet says it expects to be able to launch there before it can in New Jersey.
The earliest possible date for a Michigan online casino and Michigan online sports betting launch would be in October, provided the rule-making and licensing processes go smoothly. If not, then the regulator says early 2021 would be more likely.
Meanwhile, PointsBet and Twin River say they anticipate that the New Jersey launch will take place sometime in the first six months of 2021.