Eyes immediately shifted to the United States map when DraftKings Sportsbook and Caesars Entertainment announced their new partnership Monday.
Would this provide the long-awaited path into PA sports betting for DraftKings? Caesars owns Harrah’s Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, so the possibility crackled.
Within 24 hours, Caesars put out that flame, saying it will use its lone available skin on its own branded platform in Pennsylvania. A Caesars spokesperson told Gambling Compliance ($) that the company would not use DraftKings Sportsbook branding for PA sports betting.
What the move means for DraftKings Sportsbook
DraftKings Sportsbook will not have much time to find a PA sports betting partner if it wants to be live at launch.
Being first to market provided a significant edge for DraftKings in New Jersey, as the company launched the first app and enjoyed a three-week head start over competitors. That helped DraftKings Sportsbook become the top revenue producer in NJ sports betting in 2018.
Replicating that success in Pennsylvania presents a bigger challenge for DraftKings Sportsbook because of state rules. Regulations permit a sports betting licensee only one skin, or brand, under which to operate.
Because Caesars wants its own branded app at Harrah’s, DraftKings must find another licensee willing to sell its skin.
PA sports betting goes mobile soon
Retail sports betting operations started in Pennsylvania in November. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) plans to allow mobile sports betting, but no casino is authorized as yet.
PGCB spokesman Doug Harbach said last month that sports betting licensees are working to get their operations vetted:
“We continue to work with the casinos and their partners to get everyone licensed and equipment/software tested. Once the casinos are ready, we can launch.”
March Madness will begin just a couple of weeks, which appears too soon for Pennsylvania to start at this point. An April launch would allow the state to capture the start of Major League Baseball season. No other mileposts will pop up until NFL season after that.
Potential PA partners for DraftKings
With Harrah’s off the table, who makes the most sense as a tie-up for DraftKings Sportsbook in PA sports betting?
Six casinos/racetracks in Pennsylvania already offer legal sports betting, so take them out of the discussion:
- Harrah’s Philadelphia, Chester
- Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, Grantville
- Parx Casino and Racing, Bensalem
- Rivers Casino, Pittsburgh
- South Philadelphia Turf Club, Philadelphia
- SugarHouse Casino, Philadelphia
According to the insiders at PlayPA.com, keep an eye on The Meadows, a Penn National property in North Strabane Township. The casino has not applied for a PA sports betting license yet.
But a Penn National sister property, Hollywood Casino, launched first in Pennsylvania with William Hill as a partner. Penn National and DraftKings partnered in December on West Virginia sports betting, making an extension of their relationship a natural fit.
Here’s more from PlayPA: