When you think of gambling cities in the US, you will probably think of Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Both are iconic choices, although if you were to compare the two, Atlantic City would be considered the newer of the pair. That is because gambling was legalized in that East Coast location in 1976. In this article, we will take a closer look at the history of gambling in Atlantic City and review the top casino rooms in that busy gambling destination.
History of Gambling In Atlantic City
Gambling in the form of horse racing dates back to the 1800s. That was until all forms of gambling were outlawed in New Jersey following the approval of a referendum on the subject in 1897. The ban was not very well enforced, and social gambling activities such as bookmaking and raffles were commonplace. Eventually, laws changed, and in 1939, horse race betting was again legal, with bingo halls in New Jersey and raffles following in 1953. In 1970, the New Jersey state lottery launched. A referendum in 1974 proposing state-wide gambling legalization failed, but an amended version of the same document received approval in 1976.
The goal at the time was for New Jersey to establish a gambling city on the East Coast that would rival Las Vegas in Nevada. Atlantic City was the selection, and the first casino to open was Resorts Atlantic City in 1978. The historic boardwalk overlooking the Atlantic Ocean quickly filled with other casino resorts in much the same way as The Strip in Las Vegas. Once the boardwalk area reached capacity, another gambling district was established at the marina. The casino resorts attracted a lot of tourist traffic, and Atlantic City boomed in the 1980s and 1990s. Oversaturation started to impact casinos, and closures began in 2014.
Online gambling at casinos in Atlantic City became legal in 2011, and the Golden Nugget was the first venue to tap into the new technology in 2013. Sports betting was legalized in New Jersey in 2012, leading to the NCAA launching a lawsuit against the state. This was the beginning of the end of restrictions on sports betting across the country as the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018. Once the Act was gone, each state could regulate sports betting individually. Sportsbooks now exist in nearly all Atlantic City casinos to address this growing gambling opportunity.
The Top Sportsbooks In Atlantic City
What’s your pleasure? Poker or craps? Slots or sports betting? Whatever you prefer, you will surely find a venue in Atlantic City that will meet your needs. One of the most impressive things about Atlantic City casinos is that most have sportsbooks on-site. Below is a closer look at the top ones worth exploring the next time you are on the East Coast and feel the urge to do a little sports betting.
Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa
This site opened on the marina in 2003. The Borgata offers sports betting in two different formats. There is access via the BetMGM app, where you can wager on your favorite team wherever you are in New Jersey. Or, you could just take care of business in the sportsbook that features 100 seats with individual monitors. There are several wagering kiosks for horse race betting, and to keep you occupied while you watch the game, the bar is fully stocked.
Golden Nugget Atlantic City
Located on the marina, the Golden Nugget opened in 1985 and has since rebranded in 2011. This venue was the first to adopt online gambling in 2013, and by 2017, the Golden Nugget online site was the best-known internet-based gambling venue in the entire state. Sports betting is available online via desktop or the app and the Sportsbook on-site inside the casino. It contains 50 televisions and self-service kiosks.
Bally’s Atlantic City
On the boardwalk, you will find this impressive site. Bally’s opened in 1979 and features their signature sportsbook called The Book. It contains an amazing 15,000 square-foot gaming area with a 100-foot television wall and self-serve kiosks, and you can host your parties and events in one of the rentable private “Fan Caves.”
Hard Rock Atlantic City
Another boardwalk venue, this one, opened in 1990 and went through a rebranding in 2018. The sportsbook on-site has 50 televisions and seating for around 50 sports fans. The sportsbook contains a dedicated bar. If you prefer, you can place your sports wagers via the HardRock app, which gives you access to all your favorite online gambling opportunities as long as you are in New Jersey.
Resorts Casino Hotel
This boardwalk location opened in 1978 and contains a DraftKings Sportsbook. Many say it is the most modern and slick of the sportsbooks in Atlantic City. There is lounge seating in front of the video wall, or if you prefer, you can rent a private booth with food service for hire. Another option is the DraftKings mobile app which is accessible anywhere within the state.
Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City
Located at the marina, this venue opened in 1980 as the first casino in the city, not on the boardwalk. The Book at Harrah’s is virtually a twin of The Book at Bally’s but smaller. This one measures 3,800 square feet and contains two television walls and a couple of “Fan Caves” that can be rented for parties and events. The Caesars sports betting app is accessible as Harrah’s is part of the same company.
Atlantic City has fast become a popular gambling center on the East Coast with several casino resorts. Each contains all the things you would expect in a Las Vegas casino. The list above focuses on a few of the top sportsbooks in Atlantic City where you can get your sports betting fix. Naturally, if you prefer slots, poker, roulette, or other casino games, you will also find them in each of these venues.