Pennsylvania legalized sports betting pending a change in the federal law as part of a gambling expansion law signed into effect in October 2017.
That change in federal law came when the US Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on sports betting in May 2018.
Now, Pennsylvania’s 13 casino license holders and any potential sports betting operation partners can apply for licenses to operate sportsbooks. All while the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) is busy crafting regulations to govern PA sports betting.
Likely because the crafting of regulations is not complete, as of mid-July 2018, no casino license holder or potential sports betting partner has applied.
However, several casino license holders have already lined up sports betting partners. Most will likely move forward when the state finally releases its regulatory plan.
Meanwhile, here’s a look at the sports betting partnerships between operators and PA casinos already in place:
Kambi – SugarHouse and Rivers
Malta-based sports betting services provider Kambi Group plc inked a deal with Chicago-based Rush Street Gaming and its online gambling division Rush Street Interactive in May 2018.
As a part of the deal, Kambi will provide its sports betting technology and services to Rush Street. Plus, will Rush Street will launch a Kambi-powered sportsbook in states where the law allows it.
Rush Street Gaming owns and operates SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia and Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh. Rush Street Interactive also owns and operates a New Jersey online gambling site on the domain PlaySugarhouse.com, operating under the Golden Nugget Atlantic City internet gambling license.
It’ deal with Kambi is of the multi-year variety and will see the Kambi Sportsbook integrated into Rush Street Interactive’s proprietary platform. The deal also covers both online and retail sports betting services and will extend to markets outside the US, if Rush Street goes there.
Kambi Chief Executive Kristian Nylen said Kambi has been keeping a close eye on the US market and jumped at the chance to partner with Rush Street.
Rush Street Interactive President Richard Schwartz said the company has chosen to launch a sports betting product with a company that shares its focus on innovation and customer experience.
SBTech – Presque Isle Downs
Kentucky-based horse racing giant Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) bought Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Erie in February 2018. At the time, CDI Chief Executive Officer Bill Carstanjen said the fact Presque Isle would give the company a foothold in a state that recently passed legislation authorizing real-money online gaming was one of the main reasons why.
Now it appears sports betting is part of the equation as well.
In May, CDI inked a deal with international sports betting technology firm SBTech. The deal will SBTech provide its integrated technology platform for sports betting to CDI in New Jersey. The deal also includes other states where government regulations will allow it to. Pennsylvania and Presque Isle Downs & Casino look like they are next in line.
GVC – Valley Forge Casino
There are rumors Valley Forge Casino Resort inked a deal with online gambling giant GVC Holdings years ago.
Now that online gambling is on its way to PA, details regarding this deal should soon surface. They will likely include a sports betting partnership as well. GVC provides software for Borgata and MGM’s online casino and poker sites in New Jersey. Plus, it runs its own partypoker and PartyCasino sites there.
But what’s the connection to sports betting? Well, legal and regulated sports betting launched at Delaware’s three racetrack casinos in early June 2018. It launched using a sports betting platform provided by Stadium Technology Group. Stadium is a GVC Holdings subsidiary.
The software has been integrated into the platform run by the Delaware Lottery along with fellow online gambling tech firm Scientific Games.
At launch, GVC Director of Development and Corporate Strategy Adam Greenblatt said this was a first small and important step GVC was taking into the US sports betting and iGaming markets. He also said it shows GVC’s preparedness to take an active part in the development of sports betting in the US.
The same software is employed by as many as 16 of 20 licensed sportsbooks in Nevada. Could a move into PA be that far off?
Scientific Games – Hollywood, Meadows, Mohegan Sun
Las Vegas-based gambling tech company Scientific Games has its fingers in all sorts of pies.
It is into digital real-money gaming and sports betting platforms, casino table games, lottery instant games, and much more.
Scientific Games is also Pennsylvania Lottery’s partner in launching online games at the end of May 2018.
It also has a partnership with Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course owner and operator Penn National Gaming. The company also owns and operates The Meadows Racetrack and Casino. Perhaps an even more comprehensive partnership with Mohegan Sun Pocono is on the horizon as well.
It appears Scientific Games will play a major role in sports betting across PA, with several different partners.