DraftKings Sportsbook Set To Go Live In PA On Nov. 4

Written By Katie Kohler on October 30, 2019 - Last Updated on February 18, 2020

The “King” has entered the Commonwealth.

DraftKings Sportsbook received conditional approval for a conditional sports wagering license during the Oct. 30 Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) meeting. DraftKings plans to soft-launch on Monday, Nov. 4, through Penn National’s license. It is Pennsylvania’s sixth online sportsbook.

Tim Dent, DraftKings’ chief compliance officer, confirmed the launch plans to PlayPennsylvania:

“DraftKings is excited to receive our Sports Wagering Operator License, moving us one step closer to bringing our top-rated online and mobile sportsbook app to sports fans in Pennsylvania. Working in partnership with the outstanding team at Penn National Gaming, we expect the mandatory soft-play period to begin on Nov. 4 toward the goal of an official public launch a few days later.”

The Meadows retail sportsbook already open

DraftKings will serve as The Meadows’ online sports wagering operator. The Meadows retail sportsbook received approval to open in early October and is operated in-house by Penn Interactive. The Meadows Sportsbook is located in the spot of the former Vibe Lounge. Penn National Gaming invested $1.4 million to renovate the space. The new, nonsmoking sportsbook creates 17 new jobs (11 full-time and six part-time jobs).

Penn National severs ties with William Hill

Last week, Hollywood Casino/Penn National Gaming officially announced the end of their PA partnership with bookmaker William Hill.  The retail sportsbooks at Meadows Casino and Hollywood Casino are now powered by Kambi odds, said Scot McClintic, the vice president and head of sportsbook, at Penn National Gaming.

At the Wednesday PGCB meeting, Hollywood made the split from William Hill even more official by transferring the shared services agreement for sports betting over to its internal unit, Penn Interactive.

DraftKings already rules DFS

DraftKings has been operating regulated fantasy contests in Pennsylvania since the launch of daily fantasy sports in May 2018. It is PA’s top fantasy sports operator.

Head of Development at Penn National Chris Rodgers commented:

“We think DraftKings is an ideal partner for the Meadows. It’s a well-known, trusted brand. We expect them to be a market leader in Pennsylvania as well.”

Sports betting in PA hits record numbers

September 2019’s numbers reached record-highs for handle ($195 million) and revenue ($14.8 million), with more than 80% of wagers being placed online. More than half the bets took place on FanDuel, which is, far and away, the market leader.

PGCB Director of Communication Doug Harbach commented on the most recent sports betting monthly numbers:

“It shows that the legislature was right initiating sports wagering in PA. They knew it would be a substantial market both because of the interest in sports and the large population base. We expect those numbers will continue to grow because we are still at the beginning of launch and casinos getting a full customer base. We should see Pennsylvania possibly become a major, if not the major player in sports wagering in the months and years ahead.”

If New Jersey is any indication, DraftKings should present some competition. In the Garden State, the two DFS companies are also the top two sportsbook operators.
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Katie Kohler

Katie Kohler is a Philadelphia-area based award-winning journalist and Managing Editor at PlayPennsylvania. Katie especially enjoys creating unique content and on-the-ground reporting in PA. She is focused on creating valuable, timely content about casinos and sports betting for readers. Katie has covered the legal Pennsylvania gambling industry for Catena Media since 2019.

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