At the Nov. 28 meeting of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) meeting today, the board approved Mohegan Sun Pocono to offer online slots and casino table games.
Mohegan Sun originally applied for a peer-to-peer license that allows the holder to offer online poker as well. It has now decided to abandon that plan.
The PGCB gave the casino permission to withdraw from its application, which means a $2 million rebate goes back to the Mohegan Sun.
Mohegan Sun’s online partner remains a mystery
During the presentation to the PGCB, Mohegan Sun did not name its partner for online gaming. The company simply said that:
“The partner is a well known public company in Europe and has filed for an application in New Jersey as well and plans to be present in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania.”
Interestingly enough, that doesn’t actually leave many options.
European company bet365 is a big brand name in sports betting looking for partners in the US. It has license applications in process in New Jersey and New York. Respective partners are Hard Rock Atlantic City and Empire Resorts, which owns the Resorts World Catskills casino.
But bet365 is not a public company.
The big French operator Winamax has expressed interest in the US market, but it is mainly a poker and sports betting company. French regulations don’t allow online casino games.
Mohegan Sun isn’t interested in online poker anymore, and it hasn’t yet filed an application for a sports betting license. So Winamax isn’t an option.
Most of the other big name online operators from Europe have already partnered up with Pennsylvania casinos.
Kindred is public, in New Jersey, and a possible option
That leaves the Kindred Group, owner of the Unibet brand as the most likely partner.
There simply doesn’t seem to be any other partner who fits the bill.
Kindred CEO, Henrik Tjärnström commented on the company’s US ambitions during the last quarterly earnings call:
“Last year the Group decided to enter the US market and after the US Supreme Court ruled against PASPA in May this year, we applied for an online license in the state of New Jersey. The USA is the world’s largest gambling market and we see it as a great opportunity for Kindred.”
He even produced a map signaling his ambitions:
And there it is, Pennsylvania, a target market for 2018.
Kindred spin-off Kambi already big in PA
Kindred may not be a household name in PA, but Kambi is becoming well known.
Kambi is already the sports betting technology partner for:
Add that up and Kambi has a stake in around 25 percent of the Pennsylvania sports betting market.
Outside Pennsylvania, Kambi’s partners include DraftKings and 888. It is becoming a force to be reckoned with in US sports betting.
The company was a spin-off from Kindred but still has very close links with its former parent. Kindred’s current chairman of the board, Anders Ström is also a member of the board of Kambi Group plc.
Put it all together and Kindred is almost certainly the unnamed new partner of the Mohegan Sun Pocono.
That raises another issue. A Pennsylvania partner that doesn’t offer sports betting won’t satisfy Kindred.
So it shouldn’t be long before the PGCB receives another $10 million sports betting license application and the Mohegan Sun Pocono really gets into the game.