Up until about two weeks ago, there was no guarantee one of the biggest US sportsbooks would be in the CT sports betting market.
That all changed when Mohegan renegotiated its existing contract with Kambi to partner with FanDuel Sportsbook. The deal will see FanDuel power one of the three online Connecticut sportsbooks, as well as an online casino and daily fantasy sports.
Partnering with FanDuel really came down to finding the best opportunity for the company, the Mohegan Indians and its customers, Mohegan Digital CEO Rich Roberts told LSR:
“We always want to offer up what is the best experience and we want to do that state by state. In Connecticut, we evaluated the opportunities and for us, the relationship with FanDuel – which is the premier sports betting and iGaming partner out there – is something that we wanted to bring to the experience here in Connecticut.”
Mohegan and FanDuel Sportsbook will be a third of the sports betting competition in Connecticut. It will compete with DraftKings Sportsbook, partnered with the Mashantucket Pequot, and whichever brand won the Connecticut Lottery‘s skin. The Lottery has not revealed its partner yet.
How prominent will FanDuel brand be in CT sports betting?
The decision to go with a national brand like FanDuel would be somewhat wasted without taking advantage of the recognition that comes with the name.
That said, those digital products will not just include the FanDuel branding, Roberts said.
“You’ll be seeing a mix of both. We’re going to take the best of both worlds. The Mohegan Sun brand in Connecticut is one of the most recognized brands and we know that FanDuel is the same.”
Also coming to Mohegan Sun is what Roberts thinks could be the largest sportsbook on the East Coast. A temporary sportsbook and the mobile app should both be ready to launch simultaneously whenever the state allows. Roberts could not share many details for the permanent book but made it sound like some grand plans are in place.
“Mohegan Sun speaks to that high household-income sports bettor,” Roberts said. “And the sportsbook is only going to give that person even more reason to come to the property.”
Ready to market CT sports betting to others nearby
Connecticut is situated in a pretty good spot of the highly-populated Northeast corridor. Roberts recognizes that and is ready to take advantage of slower-moving states like New York and Massachusettts.
“I think you’ll see a good amount of [out-of-state marketing],” Roberts said. “We’ve already identified the core marketplaces where we have a very good understanding of the sports betting demographic that will make Mohegan Sun a sports betting destination.
“Massachusetts, the legislation there is stalled. There [have been] expectations for what, a year and a half, that they’d be going live with sports betting and it hasn’t really moved forward. Mohegan Sun will be there to pick that slack up and give that destination and that opportunity. For what we know Massachusetts is, it’s a very high-income state with a lot of sports bettors.”
Connecticut could get PokerStars too
Not included in the announcement concerning Mohegan and FanDuel was online poker. FanDuel is under the umbrella of Flutter, the same parent company that owns one of the top international poker brands in PokerStars.
Mohegan’s poker partner is still under evaluation, but it sounds like PokerStars is in play as a potential partner.
“The launch is specific to the casino games, table games and sports betting,” Roberts said. “With what we saw in New Hampshire’s case [concerning the Wire Act] being concluded, we’re evaluating how that’s going to work and how we can participate with what probably is also a premier brand in PokerStars.”
Other focus on sports betting in Ontario
While every new launch is important, Mohegan Digital has a particularly big fish to fry north of the border.
“The next focus – and actually current focus – is Ontario,” Roberts said. “We have two properties up in Niagara and so we will be participating up there and we are in the process of putting all those plans together.”
Sports betting in Canada recently underwent a significant change that allows single-game betting at the federal level. Mohegan runs the operations at Fallsview Casino and Casino Niagara, both of which sit just over the border from New York.
Could FanDuel also be a partner for Mohegan’s Ontario sportsbooks?
“At this point, we’re evaluating all our options in Ontario,” Roberts said. “Having the two bricks-and-mortar operations does give us a differentiated position than most going up into that marketplace.”