Penn National Banking on Legal New York Online Sports Betting

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The push to legalize online sports betting in New York continues. The only legal access to sportsbooks is through land-based casinos and race tracks located in the upstate region of New York. That effort has strong support from more than a few lawmakers but it still needs to make its way through the legislative process.

In the meantime, Penn National Gaming has decided to put the cart before the horse as far as expanding its sports betting initiative in New York. The Pennsylvania-based gaming company recently announced a new strategic partnership with Capital Region Gaming, LLC. This partnership also has ties to Rush Street Gaming.

Rush Street has grown to become a major player in the legal US sports betting industry. One of its New York properties is Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady. Penn Nationals new partnership with Rush Street is viewed as a viable gateway to the New York market.

This deal still needs to receive regulatory approval and it remains contingent on the approval of legal online sports betting in the Empire State.

The bigger picture in a partnership between Penn National and Rush Street would cover legal sports betting in three more states making their way through the legislative process.

With New York hopefully on board in 2021, expansion into Ohio, Maryland and Missouri would be next on the list if these states follow suit. New York, and more importantly New York City, offers the most potential as the next big online sports betting market.

Penn National Gaming’s equity stake in Barstool Sports has already paid huge dividends through last year’s launch of the Barstool Sportsbook mobile betting app. In markets where available, this app has been posting some impressive numbers in both monthly handle and revenue.

New Jersey has established itself as the biggest sports betting market in the country with more than $6 billion in sports wagers last year. The Garden State closed out 2020 with nearly $1 billion in sports bets during the month of December. January’s figure came in slightly lower at $958.7 million according to state gaming records.

In the heavily populated northern section of the state, quite a bit of monthly sports betting volume can be attributed to crossover traffic from New York.
While sports betting has been legal in New York since 2019, the current system in place is not conducive to market growth. The primary roadblock is the lack of legal online sportsbook apps.

Industry betting figures project that more than 90% of the sports wagers placed in New Jersey are online through a mobile sportsbook app.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been pushing hard for the legalization of online sports betting but the current legislative bills to amend state law are not moving as fast as expected.

Cuomo’s plan is to run legal online sports betting through the New York Lottery. However, New York lawmakers are looking to emulate New Jersey’s system that opens the door to more online operators.

The Barstool Sportsbook app was first launched in Penn National’s home state of Pennsylvania where it has performed extremely well. It was just launched in Michigan with an eye towards Illinois as the next state on the list.

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