ATLANTIC CITY — The Tropicana's temporary sportsbook is in an odd place as sports books go: right in the middle of the hotel's north casino floor.
There's a Chickie's & Pete's sports bar steps away in one direction and a handful of craps tables in another. In other words, there's plenty of action all around.
The Trop on Thursday became the seventh casino in Atlantic City to open sports betting when customer Victor Groynom, who lives next door at the Atlantic Palace, put $20 on the money line for the Lakers to beat the Nuggets on Thursday night. He'll win $47 if LeBron and the fellas come through.
"I think it brings a new customer," said Tropicana general manager Steve Callender, "especially the millennials who grew up playing fantasy sports and might not want to play slot machines or table games, but they'll bet games. And there's an existing market that will give people something else to do. We've been waiting a long time for this."
An ownership change caused the Trop, the southernmost casino on the boardwalk, to be late to the sports-betting party. Casino regulators this month approved the sale from Carl Icahn to Eldorado Resorts. Callender said opening operations during football season was key.
"More important than being first," he said, "I wanted to do it right. And this is right."
Construction on the 5,000-square foot permanent sportsbook — not far from the temporary digs — hasn't begun. Plans to put the sportsbook on the casino's second floor were scrapped. Instead, it will be adjacent to the North Bar in an area currently occupied by slot machines.
The William Hill-US company will operate the Tropicana's sports book, becoming the first in Atlantic City to run two locations. They also operate Ocean Resort.
"They have so many great amenities here and places throughout the casino to enjoy the game," said Michael Grodsky, William Hill vice president of marketing. "It's a different experience and we're excited for the opening of the permanent space in the near future."
The late start caused the Trop to miss out on seven Eagles games, which was damaging because of the early-season optimism, which has dissipated. Now, a playoff berth would be welcomed. The Trop's sportsbook will open Sunday at 7 a.m. ahead of the Eagles' 9:30 a.m. game against the Jaguars in London.
After the bye next week, the Eagles will have three primetime games in the back end of the schedule, starting with a Sunday nighter at home against the Cowboys on Nov. 11.
"When the Eagles played Atlanta on that Thursday night, it was like New Year's Eve in here," Callender said. "If you could have bet on that game [at Tropicana], it would have been that much better."