Watching the ponies race at the casinos in Atlantic City is the closest thing the city has to a sportsbook but that’s changing. Only 5 of the 12 casinos in Atlantic City still have horse racing simulcasts.
Last Sunday, March 31, Trump Taj Mahal became the latest Atlantic City casino to get out of the simulcasting business when it closed its racing operation Sunday. Now only five of the city’s 12 casinos, including Borgata, Bally’s Atlantic City, Caesars Atlantic City, Harrah’s Resort, and the Showboat Casino Hotel, continue to offer simulcasting. The simulcast parlor at Taj Mahal will be used for live keno and to extend the poker room.
When I frequented Atlantic City I only went to the horse books a few times for bigger races like the Kentucky Derby or the Belmont Stakes. I’m not into the horses and the race books did nothing to make me feel comfortable enough to want to stay and see what it was like.
Horse racing only accounts for about .7% of gaming revenue in Las Vegas (about half of sports betting) but there are a lot of people watching the horses and every now and again it looks like something I’d like to try. Betting on horse racing may be the only way to get a drink ticket in some sportsbooks.
Most of the spaces that I remember in Atlantic City that were devoted to to horse racing were small and probably couldn’t be renovated to account for the, relatively, large space needed for when sports betting is legalized in a few years when the powers that be get their act together. The Borgata racebook above may be the exception and is probably the largest in Atlantic City.
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