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bet365 begins final testing ahead of full NJ launch


bet365 is closing in on a full roll out of its New Jersey sportsbook, after beginning a regulator-controlled soft launch of the product yesterday (22 August).

Should the soft launch go without a hitch and the operator secures approval from the state Division of Gaming Enforcement for a full roll out, it will become the second skin to launch under Hard Rock Atlantic City’s operating license.

Hard Rock has already launched a Gaming Innovation Group-powered offering under its own brand, while Unibet will be its third and final skin, with an offering expected to launch soon.

bet365 struck a partnership with Hard Rock in July 2018, and has applied for a New Jersey Casino Industry Enterprise license in the state.

The Stoke-based operator has also established an office in the state, in Marlton, and partnered EML Payments to launch a prepaid credit card to allow customers to deposit and withdraw funds from their online account.

It will also launch sports betting in New Jersey’s neighbouring state of New York, in partnership with Empire Resorts. Though a 20-year strategic partnership agreed in November last year, bet365 will launch a retail sportsbook at the operator’s Resorts World Catskills venue.

It will also acquire up to $50m of Empire Resorts’ common stock through the agreement, via its Hillside (New York) subsidiary. This sees bet365 become Empire’s second-largest shareholder after Kien Huat Realty, a subsidiary of Malaysian conglomerate Genting Group.

While efforts to legalize mobile wagering failed in the New York 2019 legislative session, the deal also includes a provision for the launch of a bet365 online offering, when regulations permit.