Game, Set, Match: DraftKings Finds Way Into PA Thru Penn National, The Meadows

Posted on July 31, 2019 - Last Updated on August 1, 2019

The question for the past several months has been: How is DraftKings going to get into Pennsylvania?

The answer, it appears, is via Penn National Gaming (PNG). Penn dropped the blockbuster news as part of a national-scale press release detailing sportsbook partnerships with four major online betting operators:

  • DraftKings
  • The Stars Group / Fox Bet
  • Points Bet
  • TheScore

It is hard to keep up with just how many people and companies are involved in this deal. Moreover, simultaneous to the release, Kambi announced it will be the long-term exclusive sports betting supplier to Penn National. Kambi currently supplies the odds to three of the four online casinos in Pennsylvania: PlaySugarHouse, BetRivers, and Parx Online Sportsbook.

Penn National’s Senior Vice President of Interactive Gaming Jon Kaplowitz had nothing but good things to say about the multi-state deal:

“Sports betting represents an exciting new growth opportunity for Penn National. Our skin agreements announced today will help fund the cost of launching and maintaining our primary sports betting and iGaming operations, both by way of the upfront consideration and the long term revenue-sharing arrangements, which are consistent with industry standards and subject to minimum guarantees.”

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The Meadows new DraftKings home, pending license approval

Within the press release, Penn noted that the only sportsbook of the four getting access to Pennsylvania is DraftKings. A reminder, that each $10 million license to offer sports betting in Pennsylvania allows for a single online betting site. Initially, Hollywood planned to use William Hill for its sports betting app in Pennsylvania.

The latest press materials from Penn National make no mention of William Hill whatsoever. However, at least according to PGCB, it is not necessarily a given that Hollywood is jumping ship from William Hill.

One idea repeatedly floated as an option for DraftKings was for The Meadows, the other Penn National property in the state.

That is exactly what happened. PGCB spokesperson Doug Harbach confirmed late Wednesday that The Meadows applied for a $10 million sports betting license earlier this month. Here is what else he had to say about The Meadows’ petition:

“It would allow them to offer both a land-based sportsbook and online wagering. DraftKings must also be approved as an operator for sports wagering.”

Here is what DraftKings Chief Business Officer Ezra Kucharz has to say about the partnership:

“With dozens of states having already legalized sports betting or poised to do so in the near future, this expanded partnership ensures DraftKings is positioned to quickly enter new markets. Penn National Gaming brings tremendous resources, people and experience to the partnership and, as we finalized the terms of the deal, it was abundantly clear there is a real synergy between our two companies that bodes very well for the future.”

Next steps to get DraftKings in Pennsylvania

As we reported last month, DraftKings preemptively took the steps of applying for key online casino and sports betting licenses in Pennsylvania.

The Meadows now has to go through the same process as every PA sports betting applicants. That requires getting approval for sports betting plans. Moreover, as Harbach noted, DraftKings needs licensing approval by PGCB as well.

Meanwhile, most of the key personnel approvals for sports betting to get off the ground are set on DraftKings’ end. That means it could be just a few weeks before one of the biggest online sportsbooks in NJ is up and running in Pennsylvania.

Here is a look at The Meadows’ petition to PGCB. The heavy redactions relate to DraftKings, as the petition was submitted on July 3 before the deal was finalized:

WTA-pet for sports wagering certificate Public-3
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Jessica Welman

Jessica Welman is the managing editor of PlayPennsylvania. A longtime poker media presence, Jess has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the managing editor for WSOP.com.

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