The Borgata is readying to begin construction on a $7 million sportsbook at the Atlantic City casino resort. The project is in anticipation of the US Supreme Court coming down on New Jersey’s side in the state’s appeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA).
MGM Resort’s Marina District property is the first casino to announce a sportsbook, but certainly won’t be the last should PASPA be repealed. MGM Vice President of Race and Sports Jay Rood announced the Borgata sportsbook news at this week’s Sports Betting USA Conference, which was held in New York City. Rood is now in Atlantic City overseeing the sportsbook buildout.
Some 80 miles north of Atlantic City, William Hill said it’s investing more money into its sportsbook at the Monmouth Park horse racetrack. After voters approved a state referendum in 2011 and sports betting legislation was signed into law the following year by Governor Chris Christie (R), Monmouth Park partnered with Willian Hill to build a $1 million sportsbook.
But as the market became tied up with lawsuits from the NCAA and NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL, the first-floor grandstand lounge was reimagined into a sports bar. Monmouth Park owner Dennis Drazin said the sportsbook could be up and running in a matter of weeks.
However, William Hill now feels the current space isn’t large enough to accommodate the expected rush of visitors if sports betting is legalized in New Jersey. Company officials say plans are underway to expand the sportsbook floor.
PASPA Repeal Odds
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on December 4, and is expected to issue its ruling before the end of June 2018. At the core of the debate is whether PASPA violates anti-commandeering doctrines in the Tenth Amendment, which mandate that the federal government cannot require some states to enforce a regulation that others are exempt from.
PASPA seemingly does just that, as it requires 46 states to ban sports betting, but allows Nevada, Montana, Oregon, and Delaware to operate sportsbooks. The four exemptions were provided due to those four states having some sort of sports gambling in 1992.
ESPN gaming writer David Purdham thinks the odds of the high court siding with New Jersey are at -110. That’s basically a tossup, with implied odds of 53.5 percent. Law experts agree, gaming attorney Marc Edelman saying recently that he “would not put money on anything, even if I legally could.”
The Supreme Court will hear both sides of the issue, state lawyers for New Jersey making their case, while the NCAA and Big Four defend their lawsuit that has stopped the Garden State’s horse racetracks and Atlantic City casinos from operating books.
US Solicitor General Noel Francisco’s office will also send someone to represent the federal government at the hearing. Despite being appointed by President Donald Trump, a man who made part of his fortune through casinos, Francisco advised the court to dismiss New Jersey’s appeal.
The solicitor general officer will have the Supreme Court floor to make its case for 10 minutes before the justices.