Bet365 Launches Its First US Online Sportsbook in New Jersey

  • Soft launch sees platform currently in its testing phase 
  • Bet365 operating sportsbook in partnership with Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
  • Full launch set to take place once no issues have been discovered
  • Operator also has sports betting partnership with Empire Resorts in New York
bet365 logo printed on paper
Bet365’s soft launch of its New Jersey online sportsbook inaugurates the sports betting firm’s operation in the U.S. market. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Testing phase under way

Online sports betting operator Bet365 has soft-launched its first sportsbook in the United States market. This came after it got approval from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement to hold a test launch of the platform. 

The testing phase allows the regulator to ensure that Bet365 can survive in a competitive market

The launch took place just in time for the beginning of the NFL season, which is known to be lucrative for sports betting operators. Bet365 announced this “pre-live phase” on Twitter. 

The company has been working for more than 12 months to enter the US market. Many other European bookmakers in operation in the U.S., such as William Hill and Paddy Power (through their majority stake in FanDuel), have had a lot of success to date.

The testing phase allows the regulator to ensure that Bet365 can survive in a competitive market. As part of the launch, people can register for an account on the Bet365 platform remotely once they are within New Jersey state lines. 

Partnership in place

The bookmaker is partnering with the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City for this venture. The partnership was agreed back in July 2018, shortly after the federal ban on sports betting came to an end.

Once there are no issues in the testing phase, the Division of Gaming Enforcement will give Bet365 and the Hard Rock the green light for a full launch of their platform. 

There are already two other online gambling platforms that have partnered with the casino. One is a site under the Hard Rock brand in partnership with the Gaming Innovation Group, which platform went live in January 2019. The other is a sportsbook under the Unibet brand, which is partnering with the Kindred Group for this venture. The Unibet site has yet to launch, but its online casino is now in operation. The Hard Rock Casino can only partner with three sports betting companies.

In total, there are 16 online sports betting platforms currently in operation in New Jersey. 

Further US expansion plans

Bet365 is not just eyeing up the New Jersey market. It is also looking at expanding into other states where online sports betting is legal. The company now has an office in Marlton, New Jersey, that will be used in its expansion efforts. 

Bet365 already has a deal in place in New York, where the four upstate commercial casinos can offer sports betting. A deal with Empire Resorts will see it launch both a retail sportsbook and an online sports betting platform. Bet365 also bought shares in Empire Resorts, worth $50m.

Mobile sports betting appears to be on the way in the next couple of years in New York, despite a lot of opposition in 2018. The issue will be a major topic of discussion during the 2020 legislative session. With nearby New Jersey receiving more than 80% of sports betting revenues from mobile sources, experts say this is a logical move for New York. This is especially the case due to the remoteness of the four upstate casinos.

Bet365 has been working with a lobbying company for the past year to identify other opportunities in the U.S. market. The company has had massive success in Europe, with CEO Denise Coates reportedly earning bonuses of $256m. 

Global deals in place

As part of its global expansion plan, Bet365 is also looking at the Latin American market, a rapidly growing but largely untapped market.

Bet365 has now partnered up with a local company in Mexico to help launch in the country. Additionally, it is close to signing a deal with a local gambling operator in Argentina.