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Penn National set to unlock NY online access through Rivers Casino deal


Penn National Gaming could gain access to the proposed New York online gaming market through a long-term strategic partnership with the owner of Rivers Casino & Resort.

Penn Interactive, which is already live in Pennsylvania and Michigan, will gain ‘second skin’ access to the New York market, subject to legislation being enacted and regulatory approvals, through Capital Region Gaming’s licence.

In announcing the deal with Rivers Casino, Jon Kaplowitz, Penn National’s senior vice president of interactive gaming, reiterated the group’s backing of a multi-operator market in one of the US’s most populous and potentially profitable states.

“Gaining potential access to what could become one of the nation’s most lucrative sports betting markets has been a major priority for our company,” said Jon Kaplowitz, Penn National’s senior vice president of interactive gaming.

“We are hopeful that the New York State Assembly will follow those leading revenue producing states that allow for multiple skins for mobile sports betting. A state the size of New York certainly warrants open competition and a free market approach.”

Penn Interactive said it anticipates operating its Barstool Sports mobile sportsbook app in at least 10 states by the end of 2021. Kaplowitz said Penn Interactive has been encouraged by its performance so far in Michigan, where as well as sports it has also launched its Barstool-branded online casino.

“We’re very encouraged by the initial results we’ve seen in Michigan, as we registered over 48,000 new customers and generated total handle of $27.5m during the first 10 days of operation,” said Kaplowitz.

New York’s lawmakers have still to progress a legal framework for the introduction of online and mobile betting. Governor Andrew Cuomo, who once opposed online gambling, last month laid out a proposal that could see multiple brands permitted to launch.

A study on gaming expansion in New York published in January suggested widespread mobile sports betting could see the state generate annual revenue of between $816m and $1.41bn. The Spectrum Gaming Group study was commissioned in 2019 by the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC).

Commercial sports wagering revenue in New York jumped 75.7% year-on-year in January, according to figures released by the NYSGC.

Gross gaming revenue from sports betting amounted to $3.3m in January, up from $1.9m in the corresponding month last year and 43.4% higher than $2.3m, in the final month of 2020.

Rush Street’s Rivers Casino and Resort in Schenectady retained top spot in New York with $1.4m in revenue, up 79.7% from $778,997 last year.