On Wednesday in Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board met to award another sports betting certificate to ones of its brick-and-mortar casino licensees.
Mohegan Sun Pocono, which applied for the certificate in March, plans to offer sports betting in partnership with Unibet Interactive, a subsidiary of the Kindred Group. The plan is to utilize the Unibet brand for the casino’s sports betting products. The partnership was announced in January.
The Wilkes-Barre casino said Wednesday that it will have its retail sportsbook open in the fall, for betting on NFL and college football games. The casino said that its internet sports wagering product will come sometime after that, but it didn’t provide even a rough timeline for that.
The first PA-approved online/mobile sports betting platform is expected to launch in a matter of days, with additional platforms launching throughout the summer. Mohegan Sun Pocono, which sits about 100 miles northwest of the crowded Philadelphia retail sports betting market, will be relatively late to the internet sports betting game.
Details of the brick-and-mortar book
MSP’s sports betting will depend solely on the brick-and-stick book for part of, and possibly the entire, NFL season, depending on how long it takes regulators to approve the launch of its online betting product. No other PA sportsbook is partnered with the Kindred Group, so it’s a new company for the PGCB to vet.
The retail book will be 1,130 square feet, with seating for more than 70 patrons. MSP will put the book near the entrance of the casino, it told regulators.
There will be seven kiosks and three teller windows for sports bettors to place their wagers.
The casino gave regulators some renderings of what it will look like. One of them is pictured at the top of this article.
In addition to the partnership with Kindred, MSP will do business with Pala Interactive (player account management and technical integrations to third parties), Kambi (the sports betting odds), and Novomatic (for the sports betting terminals). It’s a team effort.
Kambi is providing lines for a handful of PA sportsbooks.
The MSP sportsbook is only one piece of the puzzle for the casino, which is planning a major overhaul to its gaming floor. MSP told regulators that it will be relocating its poker room to be adjacent to the upcoming sportsbook to capitalize on synergy between the games. PA casinos are finding that poker players are fond of sports betting.
The new poker room will have eight tables, down from the current 18, but MSP said it doesn’t often fill its poker tables. The casino said it will spend $400k on the poker room. A figure wasn’t given for the sportsbook, but it is reasonable to imagine that it’s a larger investment than the poker room.
The gaming floor makeover will also include additional slots and house-banked table games, MSP told regulators. Regulators approved the plans Wednesday.
Pennsylvania betting on sports betting
The Keystone State will get 34% of sports betting revenue, with an additional 2% for local governments. Pennsylvania could reap about $80 mm each year in the form of sports wagering tax revenue.
The regulatory approval is also steep, with the aforementioned $10 mm license fee.
To date, 11 properties in the state have sought to offer sports wagering.
Pennsylvania is already experiencing a nice windfall from sports betting, and online/mobile platforms aren’t even live yet. In neighboring New Jersey, 81% of the handle is now happening over the internet. Pennsylvania is expected to see a similar retail vs. online breakdown, but it won’t happen right out of the gate. Pennsylvania is set to have b&m sports betting sprinkled throughout the state, as even the so-called satellite casinos are permitted to have sports wagering. Retail might do better in PA than it does in NJ.
The first Pennsylvania sportsbook opened in November. There are eight in business right now. The most recent to open came in mid-March.