SugarHouse launched its online sportsbook on playsugarhouse.com last week in New Jersey. In just a week of operation, wagering on tennis is already shockingly popular.
As it happens, tennis is the third most bet on sport on the site through Aug. 29. In a press release, company officials expressed amazement that so many bets were coming in for the US Open, which began on Aug. 21.
SugarHouse has designated Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic as the men’s favorite, offering a +225 moneyline bet for Djokovic to win the whole tournament. Spanish star Rafael Nadal is slightly behind the odds on Djokovic at +250, and all-time great Roger Federer has a +450 moneyline to win the entire competition.
On the women’s side of things, perennial superstar Serena Williams is most likely to win, going off at +350. That moneyline puts Williams at a greater chance to win than defending champion Sloane Stephens, whose moneyline is +600.
SugarHouse sees massive in-game betting on tennis
The star power is not the only thing pushing bettors to wager on tennis. SugarHouse just released a host of in-game bets for the US Open, and the results have been nothing short of astounding.
“It seems that our sports bettors really started exploring our live in-game offer (on Aug. 27), with both Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal playing prime time at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York,” said Rush Street Interactive COO Mattias Stetz.”70% of wagers on tennis are live in-game already.”
In fact, each individual US Open match can contain up to 70 in-game wagers. Bettors can wager on events as granular as the outcome of current sets, following sets, current or following games, or even the outcome of individual points.
They can also bet on whether the match will contain a tiebreaker or what the final score of a set will be. Players can make these bets at any time during the match.
SugarHouse’s in-game offering and others in NJ
By the end of the tournament, SugarHouse plans to offer 20,000 in-game bets for fans of the US Open. The site is also planning similar coverage of NFL games, with a wide variety of bets available at all times during the game.
In-game betting is appealing because of its flexibility. Players can use in-game bets as a primary betting function. They can also hedge against earlier bets that are unlikely to pay off.
SugarHouse is focusing its efforts on in-game betting as a major source of revenue and activity. Company management has made it clear that it sees a trend in the practice.
“Live in-game betting is the future of sports betting here in the US, and being able to offer interesting bets, even in games that are very one-sided, is something we always strive to offer our bettors,” Stetz said.
Of the two other online sportsbooks in New Jersey (DraftKings Sportsbook and playMGM), only DraftKings offers in-game wagering at this time. That said, playMGM cannot be far behind, and its current offering is likely just a move to get the ball rolling for MGM Resorts.
There are major similarities between the SugarHouse and DraftKings sportsbooks, however. These similarities are understandable considering that both companies used European platform provider Kambi to build and power their sites.
The only major difference is that DraftKings maintains separate sites for its sportsbook and daily fantasy sports offerings. SugarHouse, on the other hand, integrated all its online gambling functions into a single location, which may translate into a convenience edge for the operator.
The live ticket system remains the biggest innovation, however
Both DraftKings and SugarHouse also offer a style of betting that fundamentally changes the nature of sports betting, however. Though neither company may realize its importance yet, the early payout or “live ticket” (as DraftKings calls it) system allows players to cash out their bets at any point during the contest.
Live ticket cashouts have existed in European sportsbooks for quite a while. However, they are brand new on this side of the pond. Essentially, players can take a reduced payout on wagers while the contest is still in progress.
This set-up works for both player and sportsbook. The player is able to book a win and negate the chance of a last-second collapse, and the sportsbook can settle early and effectively increase its juice with the reduced payout.
However, both the live ticket option and the in-game wagers are more appealing to a world that operates on a shorter timeframe. Fewer bettors want to wait until the end of a game anymore. They would rather begin and end a wager in minutes.
So, however SugarHouse chooses to implement its sports betting, the focus on short-term bets seems like a smart decision. With the NFL season coming soon, most sportsbooks in the country are about to see their numbers skyrocket, anyway. It’s good to get the kinks worked out while there’s still time.