Seeking a sports wagering technological edge
Nascent Pennsylvania sportsbook operators employ the latest wagering solutions to differentiate their offerings
When it comes to recent gaming expansion within the U.S., there is Pennsylvania and then everyplace else.
Indeed, the Keystone State is now home to a rather impressive array of legalized gaming options, a list that includes casinos, racinos, pari-mutuel wagering, lottery, i-lottery and electronic gaming devices. The commercial casino portion of this gaming panoply has done very well, generating $3.23 billion in combined gross gaming revenue in 2017, according to the American Gaming Association’s State of the States Report. This take makes Pennsylvania the second largest gross revenue producing commercial casino state in the nation, trailing only Nevada.
Chances are the state’s commercial gaming revenue will be on the uptick for the immediate future since Pennsylvania approved and set up regulations for an additional three forms of wagering in 2018, all of which will come on line this year: iGaming, video lottery terminals (VLTs) at track stops and, last but not least, sports betting.
Indeed, the initial response to sports wagering in Pennsylvania has been enthusiastic from both the consumer and gaming business communities. This past January saw five sportsbook operations active in the state: at Sugarhouse Casino, Rivers Casino, Hollywood Casino at Penn National Racecourse, Parx Casino Bucks County, Parx South Philadelphia Turf Club and Harrah’s Philadelphia, which, combined, generated $30 million in handle and $2.6 million in revenue according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. Not bad considering three of the properties were only open for part of the month.
Digging down to property level, the Parx Casino properties, owned and operated by Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, have been active integrating the latest technology into its sports wagering experience. To start, the operator partnered with kambi, a London-based provider of premium sports betting services, to supply state-of-the-art sportsbook facilities, according to press materials. At the company’s Parx Casino Bucks County facility, patrons can watch the game at the sportsbook and place their bets via seven teller windows or at any of the 45 Kambi-powered betting kiosks located within the sportsbook space, throughout the casino floor and in the Parx Poker Room.
Further, Parx has leveraged Kambi’s innovative Bring Your Own Device technology to launch Betslip Builder—a mobile app which enables players to fill out their bet slip when on the move and create a QR code to be scanned prior to reaching a cashier. Betslip Builder will streamline the bet placement process during busy periods and fast moving games.
With the Parx Casino sportsbook up and running, attention turns to launching additional Kambi-powered sportsbooks at Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment’s South Philadelphia Turf Club and Valley Forge Turf Club.
In addition, a Parx-branded online sportsbook will be launched as and when the PGCB elects to fire the starting gun on mobile wagering in the state.
“Parx Casino is thrilled to launch legalized sports betting on property, and to do so with such a high-quality product from Kambi is particularly exciting,” said Matthew Cullen, senior vice president of interactive gaming and sports at Parx Casino. “Parx is expanding its portfolio of offerings to give patrons the absolute best of all types of legalized gaming, and sports wagering is just the latest stage in enhancing our customer offering.”
In addition to its arrangement with Kambi, Greenwood also inked a deal with Chalkline Sports, a leading North American free-to-play (F2P) sports games provider, to launch a F2P sports betting platform at Parx casino. Thinking well outside the box of standard sign-up offers and bonuses, Chalkline Sports delivers a new way to enhance recruitment, reactivation, and retention through deep F2P player engagement, according to a press release. All Chalkline Sports games are mobile-first, and can be accessed easily via phone, desktop or app.
The initial set of Chalkline games will feature “The Big Game Challenge,” in which players make picks against live odds and player props for Super Bowl LIII. Additional Chalkline titles available at Parx Sports Games include Pro Hockey Net 4, Pro Hoops Daily Pick 5, College Hoops games and more.
Chalkline’s turnkey F2P sports games platform features real-time tracking with BettorAnalytics, allowing Parx to better understand and optimize game play activity, unique player metrics and player acquisition source.
Greenwood and its Parx Casinos are not the only sports betting providers investing in technology. Wilkes-Barre, Pa.-based Mohegan Sun Pocono has signed a strategic partnership with Kindred Group for online and offline sports betting and online gaming in Pennsylvania. According to a press release, Kindred will offer customers an online sportsbook and casino experience under the Unibet brand, as well as a Unibet sports betting lounge at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The initial phase of the strategic partnership covers five years with the possibility to extend the collaboration for two additional five-year terms.
Meanwhile, the sportsbook at Caesars Entertainment-owned Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack is powered by Scientific Games’ OpenBet platform, which features world-class sports betting retail solutions, allowing Harrah’s players to place bets at the venue. Online and mobile sports betting will follow in the first quarter of 2019, according to press materials.
The sportsbook offers a wide range of betting options, including professional and college sports coverage for football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, golf, and more to reach new and experienced bettors. Further driving Caesars sportsbook to the next level, Scientific Games will provide ongoing managed trading services from its Don Best group, powering continuous evolution of the platform’s pricing and data feeds.