Sports betting is coming to Washington County, and DraftKings is finally coming to Pennsylvania. Just not at the same time.
The Meadows retail sportsbook was approved Wednesday by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). It will go live during a testing period Oct. 8–9. A grand opening with Pittsburgh sports celebrities is planned for Oct. 10.
The Meadows retail sportsbook will be operated in-house by Penn Interactive. DraftKings will serve as the Meadows online sports wagering operator. However, the online sportsbook will not launch in concert with the retail sportsbook. DraftKings’ sports wagering operator license is pending approval during the PGCB meeting on Oct. 30.
The Meadows Sportsbook coming next week
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).
The Meadows Sportsbook features:
- 17 TVs
- Five live tellers
- 18 self-serve betting kiosks
- Two horse racing betting kiosks
- 28 new lounge seats
- Food and beverage service
“We need this from a competitive standpoint in today’s landscape,” commented Head of Development at Penn National Chris Rodgers during the PGCB meeting.
As a part of the Meadows Sportsbook presentation during the meeting, it also appeared sports bettors can earn tier points and MyCash from betting on sports.
On Sept. 30, Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh opened its permanent $5.5 million sportsbook.
Doug Harbach, a spokesperson for PGCB, commented on casinos investing in retail sportsbooks:
“The casinos certainly know that this gambling endeavor brings in a whole new set of customers and they are willing to invest in good facilities in order to attract them.”
How did we get here?
The Meadows Sportsbook is Pennsylvania’s 12th retail sportsbook. When DraftKings launches in Pennsylvania, it will join an already competitive online sportsbook market.
“The market certainly is deciding on the amount of retail sports wagering operations,” said Harbach. “The law envisioned each of the casinos the opportunity to conduct sports wagering. We think that, coupled with what will be a growing online sports wagering market, Pennsylvania will become a significant leader in the United States.”
On July 31, Penn National Gaming announced that it entered into multiyear agreements for online sports betting and iGaming with big-name sports betting operators:
- The Stars Group
UK-based Kambi powers Penn National’s in-house sportsbooks across its portfolio.
The July announcement and now pending approval of DraftKings seem to be the nail in the coffin for the Penn National/William Hill partnership, which never got off the ground after its trial run.
DraftKings coming soon to PA
DraftKings has been operating regulated fantasy contests in Pennsylvania since the launch of daily fantasy sports in May 2018. They are PA’s No. 1 fantasy sports operator.
DraftKings Sportsbook app became the first online sportsbook outside of Nevada when it launched in New Jersey on Aug. 6, 2018. Their year-to-date total revenue, as of the end of August, was $39,865,626, which represented about a 32% market share.
“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,” said Rodgers.
Sports betting in PA grows
PA sportsbooks took $109 million in wagers in August. It marked their best month to date and the first time crossing the $100 million threshold. The sportsbooks yielded $9.9 million in revenue. Online sportsbooks accounted for more than 75% of the action.
Harbach commented on the August numbers:
“We know that Pennsylvania is going to be a significant hub of sports gambling if for no other reason because of our population. Certainly, the success of the other gambling ventures including casino slot machines and table games foreshadow the success of sports wagering success and new endeavors that are being launched as part of the Gaming Expansion Act.”