Penn National To Invest Heavily In Pennsylvania Sports Betting; Online Plans In The Works

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Penn National, the first PA casino to pony up the $10 million licensing fee to offer sports betting, met with the state gaming control board today for its required five-year gaming certificate renewal hearing.

During the meeting, representatives of the gambling conglomerate highlighted the positive impact the company has had on the state, while also making several revelations regarding Penn’s sports wagering plans.

Eight-figure investment

During their presentation, company executives revealed that Penn National will make a $10 million+ investment in the vertical, offering live sports betting at Hollywood Casino as well as through desktop browsers and mobile apps. They estimated that the physical sportsbook could be operational in the next few months.

In August, Penn announced that it would partner with William Hill for its sports wagering offerings in both Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

According to comments made during the hearing, online options will likely be delayed for some time, until the kinks in the company’s retail books are smoothed out.

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Will Hill, a company which already operates retail, online and mobile books in New Jersey and Nevada, should have no trouble deploying its technology quickly and efficiently for PA clients like Hollywood Casino when the time is right. The provider has teamed up with IGT in a deal which will give state lotteries throughout the U.S. a turnkey solution to deploy sports betting should they choose to do so.

Penn National will also utilize IGT tech for its upcoming online casino, something which comes as somewhat of a surprise, considering that SG Digital, a fully capable iGaming platform provider, currently powers its play money social casino.

Hollywood likely won’t be the only PA slot licensee to leverage William Hill technology. In New Jersey, the UK sports leader is becoming entrenched, already powering three retail sportsbooks, along with its own branded online and mobile site.

Who else is coming along?

Aside from Penn National, the following Keystone State properties have applied for a sports wagering license:

We believe that the majority of the state’s 13 eligible properties will eventually bite the bullet and pay the massive fees in order to offer sports betting. Several will likely turn to William Hill in order to get their operations up and running as fast as possible.

More Hollywood sports wagering tidbits

At the hearing, we also learned that the Hollywood Casino sportsbook will be located on the second floor adjacent to the simulcast facilities. Execs believe that gamblers betting on horse races will naturally be interested in betting on sports as well.

The area will encompass 5,000 square feet, and feature six betting windows, a gigantic 110” flat screen TV, and over 50 additional televisions. The casino will hire 20 extra employees to staff the sportsbook and spend $450,000 renovating the space.

Penn National, once an opponent of expanded gambling, has accepted its new reality and gone all-in by purchasing two satellite casinos at a total price of $57,600,000, along with a $10 million online gambling license and a $10 million sports betting permit.

Tomorrow, regulators will meet again in order to approve sports wagering applications for the four companies which have so far decided to take the plunge. Once given the green light by the board, the casinos will begin ramping up their sports betting plans, and likely launch sometime during the middle or the tail end of the NFL season.

About Penn National

Penn attorneys also divulged some company statistics during the proceedings, detailing its reach and success in the Commonwealth and throughout the US.

  • Penn operates 25 properties across the country
  • The company employs 18,000 people
  • Penn brings in roughly $3 billion in yearly revenue, which will jump to $5 billion after its acquisition of Pinnacle is complete
  • With Pinnacle real estate included, Penn National will oversee 40 gaming properties
  • Penn is the only publicly traded gaming company based in PA
  • The company has paid the state $1.6 billion in taxes since first launching in the Commonwealth

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Bill Grinstead

Bill has over a decade of experience working in diverse aspects of the online gambling space. He is currently focused on legal, US online gaming, which he has reported on since the industry first became regulated in the country.

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