A quiet week in sports betting but there was progress on several fronts. A new sports book in Pennsylvania, a long term deal signed between GAN and FanDuel, and the Borgata in New Jersey announced the construction of a new sports betting bar.
But first, what is happening in Michigan?
Representative Brandt Iden plans to reintroduce sports betting legislation
The outgoing governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, left with his veto hand running overtime. He vetoed 40 bills before leaving office at the end of the year, including the legislation that would allow sports betting.
There is no news on what new Governor Gretchen Whitmer will support, but Rep. Brandt Iden plans to re-introduce the sports betting legislation in 2019.
Iden was one of the legislation’s most active advocates. He has said that Governor Snyder’s motivation in exercising the veto was to protect the state online lottery revenues.
This isn’t a particularly powerful argument. New Jersey lottery revenues have increased since the introduction of legal online gaming. Admittedly no state with an online lottery has introduced legal online sports betting, so there’s no direct comparison available. Nevertheless, alarmist predictions about the impact of legal online gambling have proved to be unfounded in every state which has taken the plunge.
There are a bunch of newly elected politicians in Michigan, so Iden has his work cut out in re-making the arguments in favour of his legislation. But he is determined to make the effort, so with luck, Michigan will get legal sports betting with only a year or so of delay.
Parx Casino launches Kambi powered casino in Pennsylvania
The Parx Casino in Bensalem, Pennsylvania launched late last week as the fourth legal sports betting provider in the state.
Parx is using technology provided by Kambi which now powers three of the four state-licensed casinos open for sports betting.
Kambi will soon have a fifth location when the South Philadelphia Turf Club goes live. Parx owns the Turf Club and originally planned to launch both locations simultaneously. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) wasn’t happy with the idea so the Turf Club launch is delayed by the minimum amount of time possible for the regulators to make sure that the systems in the main Parx casino work.
A press release from Kambi says that testing for the Turf Club will begin this week.
The Borgata is building a new sports entertainment bar
Over in Atlantic City, the Borgata is a building a new sports betting location. The aim is to have an entertainment area with sports betting facilities centered around a bar.
The $11 million budget suggests that this will be one very fancy bar. If all goes to schedule the new “destination” will open in early Summer.
Caesars puts its brand in its rewards program
The Total Rewards program has an incredible 55 million members, but can you tell which casino group operates it?
That won’t be a problem in the future as the scheme is being renamed Caesars Rewards. The best casino loyalty program in the US works at almost 40 casinos spread over 13 states.
And it also works for online customers at CaesarsCasino.com. Caesars offers online sports betting in New Jersey and Nevada with the rewards scheme integrated into the online VIP program. The online sportsbook will also launch in Pennsylvania, but timings are not yet firm.
Which leads to the one bit of bad news for the week.
Pennsylvania online sports betting may not start until Spring
It’s hearsay and rumor and off the record comments, but the first online sports betting in Pennsylvania may not launch until Q2 of 2019.
At USBR we had hoped for an earlier set of launch dates, but the regulator is up to its eyeballs in testing new live sportsbooks and Video Gaming Terminals (VGT). Alongside that we detect some reluctance on the part of some operators to get their online gaming up and running.
Pennsylvania’s high tax rates squeeze the margins for sports betting to the point where few operators may manage to make a profit.
GAN and FanDuel have extended their existing agreement to work together to provide sports betting in the US. USBR’s Joan Mantini has all the details.