As of March 1, Elys Game Technology (Elys) is now approved to operate the retail sportsbook at the iconic Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City. The retail sportsbook replaces one from William Hill and will be provided by US Bookmaking, a subsidiary of Elys.
The new license — which will be in effect for six months — was granted by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) and went into effect at 1 pm on March 1. It is expected that the construction of the new sportsbook will begin immediately.
The new facility will be part of a larger remodeling underway at Ocean Casino as a whole and is expected to be a new 2,500-square foot facility costing about $4 million.
The larger Ocean’s refit will include the new US Bookmaking-powered facility, as well as a new high-stakes casino floor, and a refit of the 12-story hotel that is already part of the property. The new sportsbook facility is just the latest step in an agreement originally signed last November, which solidified the partnership with Elys and plans for the new facility pending approval by the NJDGE.
While the new sportsbook is under construction, Elys was expected to begin operations on March 1 from a temporary location. While the initial license has been granted, future products will still be subject to continued approval as they are developed.
Elys Part of Ocean’s Expansion
Announced in November 2021, the partnership with Elys’ US subsidiary US Bookmaking is a key part of the larger expansion plans. In part, Ocean will be looking to the new bookmaker to help boost its number-two spot in the NJ sports betting market.
Ocean banked $2.4 million in gross casino revenue in 2021, second in the market to BetMGM. But there is a lot of ground to make up — Ocean’s 2021 gross was less than half the $4.9 million that the market leader made.
The casino is clearly hoping that replacing the existing Revel sportsbook from William Hill with new offerings from US Bookmaking will help make up some of that gap. The new facility is looking to be a more immersive sports betting venue focused on the customer experience.
There will be no disruption of betting services at Ocean during the facelift. There is already a temporary location set up for the new sportsbook while the new facility is under construction. The temporary book has been running since the license went live on March 1.
John Salerno, Director of Operations of US Bookmaking, is eager for the challenge.
“Atlantic City is one of the top sports betting and resort destinations in the country and Ocean is one of the most prestigious properties in the area,” Salerno said. “We are delighted to begin our commercial partnership today with Ocean and their professional leadership and operational teams, and we also look forward to bringing new and unique sports betting products and services to New Jersey players.”
While the current license is directly related to retail sports betting, Elys and US Bookmaking already have expansion plans. According to Michele Ciavarella, Executive Chairman of Elys Game Technology, the operator plans “... to continue to work closely with the NJDGE in expanding our operational footprint and product diversification.”
“[We] believe that the soft launch today at Ocean is a key inflection point for our expansion in North America and a key component of our growth strategy within other casinos and partnerships with small businesses, as well as further development of the company’s mobile platforms in 2022.”