New Jersey casino launches daily fantasy, first in Atlantic City

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- New Jersey's first casino has become the first in Atlantic City to let patrons play daily fantasy sports contests for money.

Resorts Casino Hotel on Monday launched FastPick, a daily fantasy sports game in which customers choose head-to-head player matchups of real-world athletes. If the customer's slate of picks outperforms those assigned to the casino, the customer wins.

"I'm very excited about this new business," Resorts president Mark Giannantonio told The Associated Press. "We expect it to be exciting for our online customers and, soon, for those who play at our casino. The idea has always been for the brick-and-mortar casino to be integrated as much as possible with our online business."

The move marks the expansion of daily fantasy into a new casino market. But even as the activity has taken off across the country and abroad online, it has been slow to catch on at casinos in the United States. Steve Doty, a spokesman for the American Gaming Association, the casino industry's national trade group, said the group does not know of casinos outside Nevada that offer daily fantasy games for money.

Daily fantasy contests allow people to deposit money in accounts, create fantasy rosters of sports teams by selecting real players and then compete against other contestants based on the statistical performances of those players to win money. Proponents say it's a game of skill, not chance, and shouldn't be regulated the way casinos are, but many states consider it to be a form of gambling.

The game being offered by Resorts, which opened in 1978 as the first casino outside Nevada, lets customers choose three to 10 players from a series of head-to-head matchups across a range of sports. Those selected players will form the customer's lineup, while the other players in the matchups are assigned to the casino. If the customer's player amasses more fantasy points than the casino's player, the customer wins that matchup. Customers need to win all their matchups to win money.

At first, the daily fantasy contests will be available online only. But Resorts hopes to have kiosks up and running on the casino floor by the time football season starts.

Giovanni Garcia, who runs TheFantasySportsCave.com, a website about the daily fantasy industry, said Resorts might have found a way to get people like him to visit a casino.

"I won't really want to go to a football game. I'd rather stay at home and watch all the games," he said. "But if they make it an experience, offer all the games to watch and meet all my needs, then I'll go to a casino and I'll spend money on food and drinks and probably play poker and blackjack while I'm there too."

Joe Pollock, who runs TheFantasyTakeaway.com, a website focused on fantasy football, said he would be interested in trying Resorts' new offering.

"A lot of people don't know the rules of casino table games, but really a lot of people know how to play daily fantasy sports," he said. "It's something pretty simple that can be attractive to them."