In the nearly 18 months since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down PASPA and individual states were granted authority to create their own sports betting regulations, there has been a perpetual groundswell of related activity. From operators to oddsmakers, and risk managers to regulators, professionals in the gambling sector have directed a focus on the business opportunities associated with the burgeoning U.S. sports betting market.
Industry professionals have been quoted calling this chapter in gaming history an “arms race,” while others label it a “gold rush.” For global gaming leader IGT and its digital and sports betting-focused organization IGT PlayDigital, the expansion of legalized sports betting presents a wealth of opportunities and a natural extension of the company’s international sports betting legacy.
IGT continues to leverage its gaming and sports betting pedigree, strong relationships with operators and regulators, and market-leading IGT PlaySports platform to enable its customers to quickly add retail and mobile sports betting to their existing offerings.
THE 50-STATE SOLUTION
IGT started “Americanizing” its sports betting platform years before PASPA’s repeal. This process included hundreds of man hours, extensive collaboration with regulators and a laser focus on creating the most reliable, market-ready, omni-channel sports betting platform in the industry.
“When PASPA was repealed, IGT had a market-ready solution that we could offer a range of customers including commercial and tribal casinos, lotteries and racetracks,” said Charles Cohen, vice president of sports wagering for IGT PlayDigital.
The solution is backed by IGT’s vast experience as casino supplier and is supported by IGT’s commitment to customer service.
“For many of our customers outside of Nevada, sports betting is an entirely new offering,” Cohen added. “With that, we view our relationship with our customers as a partnership—not just taking the role of service provider. We are with them throughout every step of the deployment process from employee and patron training, to implementation and ongoing troubleshooting and support.”
The company often refers to IGT PlaySports as a “50-State Solution,” due to its flexible design and ability to meet the needs to any operator type. The solution’s hub-and-spoke design is ideal for multi-state operators, while its modular design helps operators evolve their offerings as local regulations and player demands shift.
IGT PlaySports is not just limited to back-end, bet-processing technology. The company offers self-service betting technologies including the IGT PlaySports kiosk, the tablet-based Miosk, and the CrystalBetting Terminal, as well as technology to enable mobile wagering.
“Today’s consumers want choice and convenience in all aspects of their lives,” Cohen said. “With sports betting, they want freedom to place bets when they want and where they want, and they have expectations for how each of those betting scenarios should feel. For example, someone placing a bet from the couch at home will desire a different experience than someone betting at a kiosk within a casino. IGT’s technology enables our customers to deliver a bespoke customer experience across channels and there is no better example of how to leverage that than what our partners at FanDuel are doing.”
FANDUEL LEADS THE WAY WITH IGT
Each month the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement releases sports betting revenue metrics for the state, and each month the same sports betting provider sits atop that long, competitive list: FanDuel Sportsbook at The New Meadowlands Racetrack. The East Rutherford, N.J. gaming destination and its associated FanDuel Sportsbook app quickly emerged as the measuring stick by which all other sports betting venues outside Nevada are evaluated. FanDuel Sportsbook routinely takes approximately 50 percentage of the sports wagers in New Jersey, and each of those thousands of daily wagers are processed through the IGT PlaySports Platform.
“We are using the number one retail sports betting solution in the market,” said Garreth Core, sportsbook product manager for FanDuel. “[The PlaySports platform] is straightforward, easy to use for players and staff alike and accommodates a vast range of bets.”
“Selecting IGT’s solution was an easy decision,” added Core. “IGT was prepared to meet our needs by providing a straight-to-market solution with the best product that was proven in other markets.”
During the first week of legalized sports wagering in New Jersey, the FanDuel Sportsbook opened its doors with over-the-counter retail sports betting. The venue quickly added IGT PlaySports services including mobile betting and 50 self-service betting kiosks. Rows of IGT PlaySports kiosks line the walls on every level of The New Meadowlands Racetrack, giving patrons options for placing retail sports bets and alleviating operational and labor strains for the venue.
“The [IGT PlaySports] kiosks have seen week-over-week growth, with approximately 49 percent of our retail customers using kiosks to place their bets,” Core said.
The IGT-FanDuel partnership extends beyond New Jersey. As of mid-September, FanDuel and IGT have introduced an integrated sports betting offering in six total states including New Jersey, New York, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Indiana. In each instance, FanDuel offers its first-class risk and trading technology and pairs it with the IGT PlaySports technology to create a best-in-class product and user experience.
CHOCTAW TAP IGT IN MISSISSIPPI
In August 2018, IGT and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians made gaming history when they introduced sports betting at Golden Moon Hotel & Casino and the property became the first non-Nevada tribal casino to open a sportsbook post-PASPA repeal. Days later they introduced sports betting at Silver Star Hotel and Casino and at Bok Homa Casino. All this expansion took place less than three months after PASPA was repealed.
“We were early adopters,” said Neal Atkinson, director of table games for Pearl River Resorts. “The number one reason we went with IGT was our prior relationship with the company. Who in gaming does not know IGT’s reputation and what they bring to the table? Number two: IGT already had a gaming license with the Choctaw Gaming Commission, as well as history operating in the U.S. regulated market so that was a huge factor. And number three, they could simply meet our timeline and make it happen.”
Pearl River Resorts’ sportsbooks first opened their doors with over-the-counter retail sports wagering, but quickly took advantage of additional IGT PlaySports peripherals such as self-service walk-up kiosks and app-based, on-premise mobile betting technology. Adding these additional betting channels has proven to enhance the guest experience and reduce the labor requirements for sportsbook personnel.
“Before we added mobile, we had lines outside the building, especially at Pearl River, and now we do not have those long waits because people are jumping on mobile to place those same bets,” added Atkinson.
The forward-thinking operator believes that IGT’s position as a leading sports betting platform provider benefits everyone who leverages the PlaySports technology.
“One thing that I have found in speaking with my colleagues who use other systems in the state, is it seems that we have had far fewer problems than the others,” Atkinson said. “I can honestly say that IGT has been on top of its game, and we have benefitted from IGT being the major platform provider in New Jersey.”
Adding sports betting services has proven to have the “halo effect” for the bottom line and casino visitation that industry experts claimed that it would. For Pearl River Resorts, the addition of sports betting has bolstered many aspects of their bottom line—not just sportsbook revenues. Atkinson provided an example: “We have noticed that our drops on Sunday are a little bit higher during football season,” he said. “Our guest population at the resort used to leave the resort around noon to go home. Now, they are making their football bets and staying until five o’clock.” SBM
IGT offers the gaming industry’s largest and most comprehensive solutions portfolio. For more information on IGT PlaySports, visit www.IGT.com.
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