Atlantic City casinos to host fantasy tournaments as prelude to sports gaming

New Jersey regulations that take effect next month will allow Atlantic City casinos to offer fantasy sports tournaments.

Customers will be able to select sports players to create their own dream team. They would pay an entry fee and collect winnings at the casino cage if their team outperforms other participants.

The fantasy tournaments won’t have a big impact on the casinos, said Roger Gros, publisher of Global Gaming Business Magazine, an industry trade publication.

“It’s basically the same kind of thing you can do online with any kind of organization. Once people realize that, they’re going to say, ‘Oh, this isn’t really sports betting and why do I need to go to Atlantic City?’

“I think the main focus here is to really get under the skin of the sports leagues that are trying to keep sports betting out of New Jersey,” said Gros Tuesday.

The casinos also will be able to take advantage of a big interest in fantasy teams while the state continues it’s legal battle to get sports wagering, said Bill Pascrell III, a lobbyist for the Interactive Media and Entertainment Gaming Association.

“Sports betting, which we’re continuing to push and fight for, is going to come. It’s not a question of if. It’s a question of when,” he said. “And this allows us to take advantage of a different market that isn’t already there while we’re waiting for that to happen.”

The fantasy contests will allow casinos to collect names and email addresses for their databases as they prepare for Internet wagering.

Supporters expect the tournaments will draw more people to Atlantic City and will help boost revenue at hotels, restaurants, and stores.

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