2019 has been an eventful year for the regulated sports betting market in the United States, finally with some significant movement and opportunities popping up by the minute. Penn National Gaming (PNG), North America’s largest retail gaming operator, is in a unique position when it comes to retail and online sports betting in the U.S. and they are poised to take full advantage of the situation.
PNG have already enjoyed a revenue boost from adding sports betting to five of their retail locations and said they are excited about ongoing efforts in other states to legalize wagering. Penn Interactive Ventures, the online gaming arm of PNG, have their eyes on opportunities in online sports betting specifically.
“In the short term, we’ve launched five retail sports books that Penn Interactive, my group, is actively operating right now. One in Iowa, two in Indiana and two in Pennsylvania. So at those sportsbooks we’ve already seen a boost in direct revenue from revenue from our retail sports books as well as a boost in food/beverage, a boost in table drop as well, at those properties. So overall, direct and indirect benefits from sports betting”, revealed Jeff Kaplan, VP of Strategy at PNG.
“Then you look more long term, there’s the online aspect as well which we have not launched as of yet, but we see an opportunity for Penn National to get involved in online sports betting as well, we believe that to be a good opportunity for the company”, he added.
Several months ago, PNG announced five new sports betting and online gambling deals, underscoring their position as one of the market leaders in the American regulated sports betting space.
“Kambi is our sports betting platform provider, both on a retail and online perspective. So from a retail perspective, Kambi is supporting our retail sports books…they’re the odds provider, they work on the risk management, they provide the platform, the bet settlement, etc, etc. They’ll do the same thing for us from an online perspective as well”, explained Kaplan.
“What [PNG is] going to be doing is we’re going to be providing our own front-end. We’re building that in-house, that’s something that our technology team is working on and we believe we can be differentiated in the marketplace”, he added.
PNG has also struck deals with online gambling companies Draft Kings, Stars Group, PointsBet and The Score, all strategically chosen for their potential and promising market share.
“Penn National, by virtue of having 41 properties in 19 states, we have more ‘skins’ than anybody, we have more licenses to operate sports books than anyone and given that most states who allow online sports betting are allowing for skins and are allowing them through the land based casinos, we have a really interesting position that we find ourselves in”, Kaplan said.
“Each one of our partners has something unique they can offer. Draft Kings has their database that clearly has shown a propensity to convert from daily fantasy sports to sports betting which is really interesting”, he said.
“You have the Stars Group who have their deal with FOX and now they have FOX Bet, so they’re going to have the power of the major media partner behind them”, Kapaln added.
“PointsBet has done some really interesting things from a marketing perspective with their ‘Karma Committee, they have a really strong tech stack and a great platform”, he said.
“And then The Score, from a media perspective, they have millions of users on their app who sit and look at scores all day and talk about sports betting on the message boards. They’ll be able to convert customers from their platform, from The Score App platform, over to The Score Bet platform”, he said.
For the rest of the online gambling companies who wish to jump on the PNG bandwagon, the good news is there’s still an opportunity.
“We still have, I’ll call it ‘dry powder’, as it relates to our skins”, revealed Kaplan.
“We’ve given many of our skins – we have licensed them to our four partners – but there are other skins available. What we’re advocating for in many states is multiple skins and we’ve seen that in Indiana, there’s three skins per property, Iowa two, West Virginia three, New Jersey three”, he explained.
“When you look at the states, if each state provides two or three skins per property, given the number of properties that Penn National has, I would say we’re still open for business from a skin perspective”, Kaplan added.