Mobile apps might drive the future of sports gambling in the United States, but casinos are still betting big on physical sportsbooks as legal wagering expands to new places.
Lounges, bars and other shiny new spaces are giving casinos and other operators a new way to attract patrons for things besides betting on sports. It’s a strategy long used in Las Vegas, where sports betting is dwarfed by betting on slot machines and table games, but new for places like Atlantic City or Biloxi, Mississippi, which until recently primarily relied on restaurants, shows and other offerings to keep casinos as fresh draws.
In some places, sports betting must be done in person, as many states have yet to approve mobile wagering. But the lounges also help build a company’s brand and add one more amenity that a nearby competitor might not have.
In New Jersey, where mobile wagering accounts for about 80% of sports betting, physical sportsbooks are required by law.
But rather than treat them as a burdensome cost, Atlantic City casinos are investing millions into turning expanded betting facilities into draws for gamblers that want to bet and watch games with friends.
Caesars Entertainment is building what it says will be the largest sportsbook in Atlantic City at Bally’s casino, a 15,000 square foot facility costing $11 million, as well as a smaller facility at Harrah’s.