Unibet operator Kindred has struck market access deals with regional casino operator Penn National Gaming to offer online betting and gaming in Illinois and Ohio.
It hopes to offer betting in Illinois, subject to it being licensed by the state Gaming Board, and both online betting and gaming in each state, provided legislation is passed.
In Illinois, Kindred’s Unibet brand will partner with Argosy Casino Alton in the greater St. Louis area to launch its online product. Currently, sports bettors in Illinois must register in person to place bets online, which means a journey of more than 250 miles for Chicago residents who would wish to register with Unibet.
In Ohio, meanwhile, the operator will partner with Penn National’s Hollywood Casino, which has facilities in Columbus and Toledo, as well as a site at Dayton Raceway.
“Extending our footprint in the US by establishing our brand in two key states like Illinois and Ohio is very exciting for us,” Kindred US senior vice president Manuel Stan said. “We continue our journey in what we believe will become the largest gambling market in the world.
“Putting Illinois and Ohio on the list together with New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Indiana, shows our commitment to establishing Unibet in the US. Illinois is one of the largest US states and it will be the next state that we are targeting to launch.”
The launch in Ohio hinges on the state passing legislation, and there has been some progress on this front. Earlier this year, Ohio’s House of Representatives passed a bill that would legalize both retail and mobile sports wagering in the state by an 83-10 vote, more than a year after its introduction.
However, the bill has not yet progressed beyond introduction to the Senate floor.
Members of the state Senate introduced their own sports betting bill., which would see the Ohio Casino Control Commission act as regulator instead of the Ohio lottery as proposed by the House bill. This bill has not yet progressed beyond committee stage.
Earlier today, Penn National Gaming also announced that its own Barstool-branded sportsbook would launch on 15 September. The operator purchased a 36% stake in the sports media business in January for $163m.