On June 25, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement issued a letter approving a request by the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and Bet365 Group Ltd to enter into an agreement to conduct a sports wagering related business.
The letter, which was first spotted by PlayNJ’s Eric Ramsey, indicates that Bet365 has applied for a casino service industry enterprise (CSIE) license. The DGE has approved Bet365’s relationship with the Hard Rock venue only until July 31, suggesting the formal approval of the full CSIE license is imminent.
The DGE letter references a Letter of Intent entered into by the two gaming operators, but the DGE’s letter states that its approval “will be for the narrow scope of approving only Article 3 of that agreement.” We’ll just have to wait to learn what other collaborations are envisioned under the new Hard Rock-Bet365 umbrella.
The Hard Rock opened last Wednesday without a sportsbook but Hard Rock International CEO Jim Allen suggested several days earlier that his company was preparing to announce a sports betting partnership, pending approval by the DGE.
The Hard Rock also launched its first online gambling site last week, which for the time being contains only casino products, but New Jersey is expected to begin authorizing online sports betting on or around July 12.
Bet365’s arrival on American shores marks the latest European incursion into the nascent US sports betting market. The US division of William Hill is already taking wagers in Nevada and New Jersey, while the likes of Paddy Power Betfair, Kambi and SBTech have all been busy cutting deals in betting-friendly states.
But Bet365 is the unquestioned betting behemoth in the UK and in many other markets around the globe, which could seriously upend the ongoing jostling for position in the suddenly frenetic US B2B betting market. If nothing else, the company has cash to burn, which should give it plenty of leeway in the state-level marketing and lobbying wars to come.