With college football preparing for its bowl season and college basketball starting to warm up a bit, I decided to take a ride down this past Saturday to Atlantic City’s Ocean Casino Resort (formerly Revel) and visit its William Hill Sportsbook, located right in the heart of its casino gaming floor.
Having opened its doors on June 28 of last year, the $6 million-dollar, 7,500 square-foot space is coming up on its 1½-year anniversary and even on a rare, relatively slow Saturday, business was brisk with European soccer, college basketball and the storied Army-Navy college football rivalry taking up 35 video walls around the sportsbook.
The sportsbook has eight betting teller windows, 14 live odds boards and two self-betting kiosks with a seating capacity of 120. Both sides of the sportsbook have comfortable seating areas with stand-up tables in the middle, anchored by a center bar to grab your favorite beverage and a bite to eat. The book is also easy to locate anywhere on the casino floor with its 360-degree sports ticker scroll around the entire lower portion of the space providing the day’s scores, odds, news and headlines.
“We have had an excellent relationship with William Hill since opening this space and it continues to serve as a great amenity for our guests and visitors,” said Ocean's Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President Mike Donovan. “This is another option for our guests. We want to give our guests everything they want in one property. So no matter if you are a hotel guest, a casino player, an attendee to one of our concerts or conferences in our Ovation Hall (seats 4,400), we want you to experience everything that Ocean offers and the sportsbook, obviously has been a huge benefit for us and our guests.”
Another neat way of experiencing all the sport betting action in the sportsbook is to reserve one of their skybox suites (seats up to 10 guests), which overlooks the sports betting floor. Each suite has its own TV (no self-service kiosks however) and is just a more relaxed and comfortable way to enjoy the action.
A new casino floor, the addition of 200-300 slot machines and new pathways to get around the 20 beachfront acres of the entire Ocean Resort complex are all on the docket for improvement and expansion come 2020.
And for the sportsbook? Donovan, who served over 11 years as vice president, marketing for Tropicana Entertainment, Inc. and who came over in March after a five-month stint as corporate vice president of marketing at Colonial Downs and Rosie’s Gaming in New Kent, VA, said the book will remain an integral part of the casino. But he wants Ocean to embrace the technology and have customers sign up and use the mobile app.
“Mobile betting, whether on the William Hill app or on our site is a huge part of what we want our guests to be a part of,” said Donovan, who is a Cincinnati Bengals fan. “During the start of football season last year and this year, first-time signups for the app was huge for us and we want to revisit that again, possibly for the NFL playoffs or March Madness during the college basketball tournament.”
The sportsbook, along with everything else Ocean Casino Resort has to offer, is finally beginning to "revel" in the possibilities of what this place can be now and in the future.