Hard Rock, Bet365 plan sports betting in New Jersey

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Hard Rock has signed a deal with a British online gambling company to offer sports betting as soon as the arrangement is approved by New Jersey gambling regulators.

The global hospitality and gambling company owned by Florida's Seminole Indian tribe has signed a deal with Bet365 to offer sports betting at its new casino on the Atlantic City Boardwalk.

Neither company has announced the deal, but its existence was revealed in correspondence from the state Division of Gaming Enforcement.

According to a June 25 letter from division Director David Rebuck, made public on Monday, Hard Rock and Bet365 signed a deal on June 19 to offer sports betting. Rebuck approved only part of the agreement — a section called Article 3 — and has yet to act on the full request.

The division has not yet responded to a request made Monday by The Associated Press to make the document public; it typically gives companies 24 hours to ask that portions of their filings be blacked out before being released. The agency then assesses those requests and releases what it determines can be made public under state law.

Hard Rock and Bet365 did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment Tuesday.

Currently, only three New Jersey entities offer sports betting: The Borgata and Ocean Resort casinos in Atlantic City, and Monmouth Park racetrack in Oceanport, near the Jersey shore.

But that club is about to expand. On Saturday, the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford will bring sports betting practically to the doorstep of New York City; the track is about 6 miles from Manhattan. And Hard Rock would be the fifth to offer it, if its request is approved soon.

At the June 28 opening of its Atlantic City casino, Hard Rock CEO Jim Allen said the company is pursuing sports betting, but had no announcement to make at the time. The deal with Bet365 had already been signed nine days earlier, although it had yet to be approved by state regulators.

New Jersey won a U.S. Supreme Court case on May 14 clearing the way for all 50 states to offer legal sports betting if they choose.

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Follow Wayne Parry at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

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