While the cost of entry into PA’s sports betting market may be staggering, a second state land-based casino has now confirmed that it will bite the bullet and take the plunge.
U.S. gaming giant Churchill Downs, which recently agreed to purchase Presque Isle Downs, was the first to announce its intentions to enter the sports betting market in the state, revealing a strategic partnership with software developer SBTech in May.
GAN already provides the platform for Parx’s social online gaming site, and will do the same for the property’s real money Internet casino when the state gives the green light for launch later this year.
The agreement revealed today will extend the partnership for several more years and see GAN even more deeply integrated with its brick-and-mortar partner.
“Following the execution of this extension and amendment, GAN now offers clients a Platform equipped with multiple options for integrated Sports betting to be launched seamlessly alongside GAN’s market-leading Internet casino product,” said Jeff Berman, GAN chief commercial officer. “We welcome the opportunity to deliver Sports betting in the retail channel, as well as online, through GAN’s unique Platform containing patented technology.”
GAN’s slow and steady U.S. expansion
Based in the UK, GAN is a major B2B supplier of iGaming enterprise software for both land-based and online casinos. The company got its start in regulated U.S. Internet gambling in 2013, when it launched as the backbone of Betfair’s U.S. online gambling site in New Jersey.
Betfair Casino, which, prior to opening up as a skin under one of Golden Nugget’s licenses had virtually no brand recognition in the country, has risen to become one of the state’s top earning gaming sites.
GAN struck its second partnership in the Garden State several years later with Ocean Resort. The newly reopened property (formerly known as Revel) recently went live with its own online gaming site, powered by GAN technology.
Earlier this month, the FanDuel Group announced that GAN would play a part in its sportsbook operation as well, providing the player management system for the nascent sports wagering operator.
Accepting the new reality
GAN has had its sights set on PA’s iGaming market for several years, serving as the software solution for Parx’s play money online casino, which went live in 2015. When lawmakers legalized Internet gambling, sports betting, and DFS last year, GAN had already laid the groundwork to offer real money online gambling through its land-based partner.
Parx execs, however, have always been wary of iGaming, with company Chairman Bob Green expressing concern over the legalization of the industry back in 2014. Now, with the industry fully legal and regulated, Parx appears to have accepted the new reality, going all-in in a bid to maintain its position as market leader.
The property, which unsuccessfully argued against limiting online casino skins, was the first of nine state venues to officially file a petition for an online gaming site. Parx was also one of several casinos to lobby against sports betting skins. In a recent filing of temporary regulations, state officials appear to have acquiesced, limiting sports betting sites to one per casino.
Filling in the gaps
GAN’s flagship product is its GameStack software platform, which provides casinos with a turnkey solution to offer Internet gambling and ancillary services like marketing, fraud detection, and more.
While the GAN platform is robust, even winning EGR’s Platform of The Year award in 2015 and 2016, it has partnered with a third-party sports betting provider to round out its offering. That supplier is SBTech, a sports-focused software company that services over 50 sports books, casinos, and lottery operators in 14 regulated markets.
SBTech announced in January of this year — before the Supreme Court ruled to overturn a law prohibiting sports betting in most U.S. states — that it would supply the sports wagering platform for GAN’s U.S. clients.
The SBTech/GAN integration will allow GAN to dip its toes into the retail sports betting market, something in which it had little experience before.
SBTech will also be the go-to technology solution for Churchill Downs, which will enter the PA sports betting market through Presque Isle Downs. SBTech partnerships with other U.S. sportsbooks are likely on the horizon, as the industry is set to explode in the coming years.
When will Parx’s sportsbook go live?
There is still work to be done before players can place bets on their favorite sporting events at the Philadelphia area’s largest casino. The state began accepting sports betting license applications on May 31, but it is still unclear which casinos have officially applied.
Through press releases, we now know that Parx and Presque Isle Downs will pay the eye-watering $10 million fee and approximately 41% tax rate to offer sports betting both at their land-based facilities and through online and mobile channels. Other casinos may balk at the upfront costs and pass on the industry altogether.
In its announcement today, Parx stated that it would open its sports betting operation sometime in the second half of the year. Many operators in New Jersey are scrambling to get their products ready to go live before the start of football season, a lucrative time for sportsbooks.
While Parx and GAN may be ready to launch at any time, regulations still need to be hammered out and licenses must be officially approved. So whether the casino will be able to launch its sportsbook before Week 1 of NFL season is still anyone’s guess.
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