Stadium And Meadows Most Recent PA Applicants For Sportsbook Licenses

Stadium And Meadows Most Recent PA Applicants For Sportsbook Licenses

Earlier this month (Aug 2019) Meadows Casino and Stadium Casino queued up to join the nine other Pennsylvania casino operators in the state’s brand new sports betting market. Both casinos submitted their applications (along with a $10 million fee) to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) and both are expected to be approved with no problems.

DraftKings finally gets access to PA through Meadows Casino

DraftKings had to watch their DFS/sportsbook rivals FanDuel enter the PA marketplace ahead of them and it must’ve been annoying. FanDuel partnered with Valley Forge Casino in the Philadelphia area to run their sports betting operations. This partnership launched their retail sportsbook in March 2019 and an online sportsbook in July 2019. Fortunately for DraftKings, they finally have a path into Pennsylvania of their own.

It was recently announced that Penn National (owners of many casinos, The Meadows among them) has entered into a series of partnerships with PointsBet, theScore, The Stars Group, and DraftKings to aid them in their online gaming and online sports betting operations throughout the entire scope of the company’s vast network of casino operations.

Specifically, this means DraftKings will finally get a much wanted avenue to operation in Pennsylvania through The Meadows Casino. DraftKings had previously sought licensure in PA on its own, but this new arrangement with Penn National most likely makes those efforts superfluous. According to a press release, DraftKing’s new agreement is for ten years, subject to an additional ten year extension. If so, DraftKings may have sewn up their PA needs for the foreseeable future.

Conflict with Hollywood Casino’s sportsbook partner?

Hollywood Casino is also owned by Penn National and has international sports betting giant William Hill as its technical partner in the sportsbook space. Does this new agreement with DraftKings signal a problem with that relationship or a potential separation?

Probably not. Penn National could well benefit from operating multiple brands (or multiple skins) within the state of PA or even under a single casino’s sports betting license. Joining with a new partner doesn’t mean any problems with the existing relationship.

Stadium’s big plans…

Stadium has yet to complete construction of their $700 million casino and entertainment complex located in the stadium area of south Philadelphia. That hasn’t prevented them from moving quickly to take advantage of the recent expansion of legal gaming in the Keystone State. Stadium has already purchased the full $10 million suite of online gaming licenses (slots, table games, and poker) to go alongside this $10 million sports betting license (which includes the right to operate an online sportsbook). They have also made plans to open a mini-casino in western Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh – the license for which cost them $40.1 million.

These are big plans for Stadium, and are also somewhat contradictory in one respect. Stadium is owned by Cordish Companies, who are lobbying against legalized sports betting in the state of Maryland. Whether this is hypocrisy or just shrewd business tactics is a matter of interpretation, but one thing is for sure: the sports betting genie is already out of the bottle in PA, and perhaps the whole of the USA as well.

…and possibly big competition

Stadium Casino’s sportsbook will face stiff competition from the other big sports betting names that will be up and running in the online space by the time Stadium’s app enters the scene. William Hill, Kambi, FanDuel, and DraftKings (among others) will already have a big head start in a hotly competitive space.

Stadium will benefit somewhat from its location, of course. Having a casino situated in close proximity to all the major sports venues in Philadelphia is a boon. However, this is somewhat offset by the fact that Parx Casino is already operating a sportsbook in that area at the South Philly Turf Club.

Stadium will have to work hard to differentiate itself and carve out some space to be successful.

PA’s sports betting market is here and getting bigger all the time

Pennsylvania’s sports betting market, though new, is going like gangbusters, with many operators already up and running successful operations in both the brick & mortar and online/mobile spaces.

As of August 2019, Pennsylvania has eight retail facilities where sports bets can be legally made under the licenses of six different casino operators (Parx has three retail sportsbook outlets already). Four of these operators have also launched online/mobile versions of these sportsbooks accessible by computer web browser as well as mobile device applications.

It’s a big market and getting bigger all the time. Here’s a nice summary of the sportsbook picture in Pennsylvania:

CasinoApproved by PGCB for Sports Betting?Sportsbook Technical PartnerPhysical Sports Betting LocationsOperating Online/Mobile Sportsbook?
Parx YesKambiParx Casino, Philly Turf Club, Valley Forge Turf ClubYes
SugarHouse (PlaySugarHouse)YesKambiSugarHouse CasinoYes
Rivers (BetRivers)YesKambiRivers Casino PittsburghYes
Hollywood YesWilliam HillHollywood CasinoNot yet
Valley ForgeYesFanDuelValley Forge CasinoYes
Harrah's PhiladelphiaYesWilliam HillHarrah's Philadelphia CasinoNot yet
Presque Isle DownsYesBetAmericaNot yetNot yet
Mohegan Sun PoconoYesKambiNot yetNot yet
Mount AiryNot yetBetStarsNot yetNot yet
Stadium (Live!)Not yetUnknownNot yetNot yet
MeadowsNot yetDraftKingsNot yetNot yet

Sidelines still occupied

Of the thirteen brick & mortar casinos that are eligible for sports betting licenses in PA, there are still two that haven’t been moved into joining the party. Sands Bethlehem Casino and Lady Luck Casino at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort.

It’s conceivable that Lady Luck’s operators consider themselves too small, remote, and “niche” a market to bother with the sizable fees and taxes and cost of offering sports betting. Sands Bethlehem doesn’t have these concerns, but for whatever reason, they have decided to forego this new gaming opportunity as well.

More money for the PA state budget

With these latest entrants, that makes eleven out of Pennsylvania’s thirteen eligible land-based casinos who have ponied up serious cash to the state for the privilege of being able to legally accept sports bets. At $10 million per, that’s $110 million added to the states coffers in license fees alone. Add to that PA’s 36% tax on sports betting gross gaming revenues and it looks like the state stands to get a healthy boost from sports betting now and in the years to come.

As an early example: From November 2018 through June 2019, PA’s new sportsbooks generated $21,73 million in sportsbook revenue. The state and local governments got nearly $8 million of that in taxes.