At least one casino in Pennsylvania has plans to offer sports betting in 2018. This morning, gambling software provider GAN plc announced it has reached an agreement with Parx Casino to offer in-person and online sports betting in Pennsylvania. GAN says it anticipates launching sports betting in the second half of 2018.
Prior to today’s news, there was no small amount of speculation as to whether or not Pennsylvania casinos would even be able to afford to offer sports betting given the high taxes and fees demanded by the state under last year’s gambling expansion law.
Up until now, not a single casino had expressed interest in offering sports betting despite the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) announcing it was now accepting sports betting license applications way back on May 31st.
Today’s announcement from GAN brings us significantly closer to answering the question of whether or not Pennsylvania will be able to roll out sports betting in time for the NFL season.
Although we still don’t know for sure if Parx Casino and GAN will be able to get everything up and running in time for the first game of the year, the company did say they plan to have things up and running by “H2 2018.” If that holds true, Pennsylvanians will be able to bet on at least some of this year’s NFL games.
Here’s John Dixon, CTO of Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment, which operates Parx Casino:
“GAN has ably demonstrated it abilities with both its overall Platform and its integration capability for existing major clients. By leveraging GAN’s Platform, Parx Casino will have the opportunity to launch retail and online Regulated Sports betting together with online Gaming in Pennsylvania later this year, subject to the regulatory approval of the PGCB.”
GAN Press Release Paints Optimistic Picture of Regulated Gaming in PA
The GAN press release also paints a more optimistic picture of legal sports betting in Pennsylvania. There are still serious concerns regarding tax rates and fees, but this morning’s press release included some very optimistic projections:
- Retail (in-person) sports betting is forecast to generate in excess of $100 million in gross win during the first 12 months (citing an analysis from Chris Grove of Eilers & Krejcik Gaming
- Online sports betting is forecast to generate an additional $189 million over the same period (citing a study from Regulus Partners)
- Other types of online gambling are forecast to generate $200 million in gross gaming revenue over the same period (citing another study from Eilers & Krejcik Gaming)
GAN and Parx Casino have not yet released much by way of details as far as how the sportsbook will look and function when it goes live, but the press release did state GAN will be able to combine in-person and online rewards into a single loyalty program. This means bets placed online or in-person will accrue rewards points which can then be redeemed for perks either online or in-person.
GAN Chief Commercial Officer Jeff Berman said this in regarding the announcement:
“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. We welcome the opportunity to deliver Sports betting in the retail channel, as well as online, through GAN’s unique Platform containing patented technology.”
Now that one Pennsylvania casino has announced its intention to take up sports betting, it increases the likelihood of other casinos following suit if for nothing else than to avoid being left out in the cold. Even if sports betting proves less profitable than it could be under a more business-friendly tax environment, sports betting could still serve to draw customers away from competing casinos without sports betting.
The Pennsylvania market also has some amount of potential based on population alone. As the GAN press release noted, Pennsylvania’s population of 12.8 million is 42% larger than New Jersey’s population of 8.9 million.