There’s news going around that Buffalo Wild Wings, purveyor of live sports, hot wings and cold beer in all fifty states, is considering adding sports betting to the menu.
“As the largest sports bar in America, we believe Buffalo Wild Wings is uniquely positioned to leverage sports gaming to enhance the restaurant experience for our guests,” a BWW spokesman told ESPN. “We are actively exploring opportunities, including potential partners, as we evaluate the next steps for our brand.”
With the federal sports betting prohibition no longer in effect thanks to a Supreme Court ruling in May, competition in the quickly-growing industry is heating up. Recent weeks have seen the likes of MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment, FanDuel, DraftKings and major international sports betting providers making big moves.
That established gaming companies are getting involved in new sports betting markets is no surprise… But Buffalo Wild Wings? It does make a certain amount of sense, though. After all, BWW restaurants already look like sportsbooks with bars, plenty of seating and banks of TVs adorning the walls.
Smart Move for Buffalo Wild Wings?
Imagine that, B-Dubs Sportsbook. It’s not the first thing we would’ve predicted this time a month ago, but it just might be a smart move for the sports bar chain.
Buffalo Wild Wings conveniently corners a coveted sports betting demographic: young men with money to spend and an interest in sports. Just stop in to a Buffalo Wild Wings any time there’s a big game on and look at the bustling crowd.
It’s easy to imagine the synergy that would be created by taking a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant and adding a sportsbook to the mix. The restaurant already has the foot traffic and a customer base with favorable demographics to support a sports betting operation. The sportsbook would also likely draw in additional people, who would in turn spend money on wings and beer.
Although sports betting would certainly provide a welcome new revenue stream, simply drawing in new traffic may be even more valuable for Buffalo Wild Wings. In Nevada, casinos do not make a killing off sports betting. Last year, sports betting only accounted for 2.2% of total casino revenue with other gaming and entertainment options providing the big money.
As ESPN noted yesterday, Buffalo Wild Wings has seen falling sales in recent years with younger people having more convenient food options at hand these days. Reduced foot traffic has in turn hurt alcohol sales, which are critical to BWW.
Either way, it seems like a smart idea for Buffalo Wild Wings. Sports betting would provide them with a new revenue stream, generate buzz and get more customers in the door. The biggest hurdle would be finding suitable casino partners in states where sports betting is legal.
Laws passed so far in Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Mississippi all restrict sports betting to licensed casino operators. However, fantasy sports providers FanDuel and DraftKings have managed to break into the industry in New Jersey by partnering with licensed casinos.
Things work differently in every state, but BWW could potentially partner with casino operators to offer sports betting under the Buffalo Wild Wings brand in New Jersey. This may also be possible in other states depending on what type of legislation is rolled out across the nation.