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Sports betting comes to Atlantic City boardwalk on Thursday with opening of Ocean Resort

The former Revel opens at noon, though the sportsbook won't be completed for several weeks.

The Ocean Resort casino will join the Borgata, shown here, as the only properties in Atlantic City to offer sports betting. Unlike its competitor, the Ocean Resort is located on the popular boardwalk.
The Ocean Resort casino will join the Borgata, shown here, as the only properties in Atlantic City to offer sports betting. Unlike its competitor, the Ocean Resort is located on the popular boardwalk.Read moreEd Barkowitz / Staff

There will be sports betting offered on the Atlantic City boardwalk on Thursday. It's a moment fans and degenerates will mark with fervor and lost cash. Just like the governor.

The Ocean Resort officially will open to the public at noon and though its opulent sportsbook isn't ready, the casino will have about five auxiliary windows for bettors to lay action starting at 1 p.m.

Business will commence just in time to for the 2 o'clock soccer matches between England and Belgium, and Panama and Tunisia.

Joe Asher is the CEO of William Hill US, which operates the sportsbook at Monmouth Park that opened two weeks ago. His company also is running the 'book at Ocean Resort, the former Revel casino.

"The level of business [at Monmouth] has been exceptional," Asher said. "I never imagined so much betting on World Cup soccer without the United States in it."

Asher expects the Ocean Resort's full sportsbook to be ready by late July or early August.

The Hard Rock Casino, located at the site of the old Trump Taj Mahal just south of the Ocean Resort, also is officially opening Thursday. They will not be offering sports betting, at least to start. Both casinos were granted permission for soft openings on Wednesday.

The fact that one property on the boardwalk is taking sports action is a monumental leap from where New Jersey was at this time last year when Nevada still had the sports betting monopoly.

Ocean Resort joins the Borgata as the first two places in Atlantic City to offer sports wagering. Whereas the Ocean Resort looks at the Atlantic, the Borgata is in the Marina District and generally not walkable to the boardwalk.

Officially, the other AC casinos are planning sportsbooks, but executives aren't commenting beyond releasing nebulous statements.

Unofficially, there's plenty of anticipation, especially among the workers. As one pit boss at Caesars said, "I can't believe we don't have it yet." It was a familiar refrain.

Reasons seem to vary from licensing issues to logistics to general unpreparedness. The Supreme Court overturned the federal law which banned sports betting outside of Nevada on May 14. The Borgata was ready and running by June 14. The others were not.

For the consumer, a brick-and-mortar sportsbook may become negligible once online gaming becomes a reality, which is expected in mid-July. At that point, putting $50 on the Phillies will be as easy as using an app.

Here's the scuttlebutt of where things stand in AC:


Resorts – Hoping to get a sportsbook by football season, but are ready to launch online betting Aug. 1. DraftKings, which specializes in fantasy sports, will run the sports betting for Resorts.

Bally's – Likely will house its sports betting operation in the Wild Wild West Casino, which has plenty of space and high ceilings – good for accommodating large TVs. Mid-August is what some of the workers are hearing.

Caesars – As previously reported, they'll likely direct customers to Bally's. The two hotels are owned by the same company and are connected through a common hallway. That'll come in handy during the NFL playoffs when it's 10 degrees outside and a stiff breeze is blowing off the Atlantic.

Tropicana – They're renovating the old rooftop bar at the showroom level with the goal to have it up and running by the time the Eagles host the Falcons in the NFL's first regular-season game on Sept. 6.

Marina District

Borgata – Up and running with plans for hefty expansion. That expansion is unlikely to be finished for the start of football season. "We recognize that sports betting is a big opportunity," said Mike Woodside, Borgata's VP of marketing. "We want to do it right. We don't want to just rush it."

Golden Nugget – Targeting the start of the NFL season. The Nugget will not be permitted to accept NBA wagers since their owner, Tilman Fertitta, also owns the Houston Rockets.  They can take action on everything else.

Harrah's – Not real optimistic about Harrah's, which apparently hasn't started any new construction. With the sharpest indoor pool area in AC, a sportsbook would be a nice amenity during the dead of winter.

Yo, Gov.

Tough week for New Jersey governor Phil Murphy.

Not only has the state's budget crisis been looming over his head, his Germany pick for the World Cup went up in flames on Wednesday.

At the opening of  Monmouth Park on June 14, Murphy placed the ceremonial first bets. He put 20 bucks on the Devils to win the Stanley Cup and another 20 on Germany to win the World Cup.

The defending-champion Germans, who Murphy had at 7-2, were stunned by South Korea on Wednesday and failed to reach the second round for the first time ever.

Hate when that happens.

>>READ MORE: South Korea stuns Germany, 2-0

Tip of the day

Visited three of the beach bars in Atlantic City on Wednesday and none of them had TVs. When sports betting takes off, televisions – even muted televisions — should be mandatory.

As they say in Vegas, where sports parlors are as prevalent as cacti, every bar can have the energy of a sports book.