PENN Entertainment currently does not run a casino, racetrack, or online sports betting in New York. However, the company wants to integrate its latest brand, ESPN Bet, into the state. In a recent newsletter, analysts from Wells Fargo indicated that on top of New York, the company wants to launch its new sportsbook in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
At the moment, the Empire State only offers legal online sports betting, and the available slots for operators are limited as there are only nine licensed private sportsbooks. It does not offer regulated iGaming but there are efforts by lawmakers to legalize it. However, the item did not make the cut in the last fiscal budget and will most likely return for the next one.
An Important Market
There are projections that PENN Entertainment will debut its ESPN Bet in markets it already has access to in the coming months. However, the company does not have such in New York. But it will not stop it from attempting to enter. This is due to the circulating rumours that two or three licenses could be made available in the state.
A while back, the corporation had a chance to join the Empire State’s legal sports betting market. FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetMGM explored Barstool for the final spot in their bid when the state was reviewing sportsbook applications in 2021. However, the group opted for Bally’s Corporation instead due to past erratic behaviour from Barstool founder Dave Portnoy.
A while back, the CEO of PENN, Jay Snowden remarked that the state may make some profits from the sports betting sector, but he does not believe that a single operator would bank out of it. However, he also noted that it is a market that you’d rather be in than not be in. In his words, it is one of those jurisdictions, where if you are not in, you are not crushed by it.
But the situation has changed, as the company and ESPN inked a 10-year collaboration to debut ESPN Bet. Also, PENN may go after the sports betting license of WynnBET. This, the latter announced that it would be suspending its operations in seven states, however, it remained online in New York. This could be due to downstate casinos or potential iGaming plans.
iGaming Seems a Matter of When and Not If
Meanwhile, New York lawmakers such as State Sen. Joseph Addabbo, D-Queens continue to lobby for online gambling expansion in the state. Mr. Addabbo wants to build on the success of online sports betting. However, John A. Pappas, founder and CEO of Corridor Consulting noted that he must remain patient due to the pace of the New York State Legislature and other regulatory bodies.
Additionally, CEO of Rush Street Interactive, Richard Schwartz is also optimistic about its legalization in the Empire State. A while back he said the company will continue to participate in discussions about its implementation. He added individual state efforts but explained that preliminary work is being put down.
Source: “New York ‘Critical’ For ESPN Bet, But How Can Sportsbook Find an Entry Point?” PlayNY, September 27, 2023