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Penn National Partnership Likely To Bring DraftKings to Pennsylvania

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With Penn National announcing a multi-partner deal late last week, it appears DraftKings is poised to enter the Pennsylvania market. Speculation is high that Penn National property, The Meadows Racetrack and Casino outside Pittsburgh, is where DraftKings sportsbook will land.

“With dozens of states having already legalized sports betting or poised to do so in the near future, this expanded partnership ensures DraftKings is positioned to quickly enter new markets, Ezra Kucharz, DraftKings chief business officer said in a prepared statement. “Penn National Gaming brings tremendous resources, people and experience to the partnership and, as we finalized the terms of the deal, it was abundantly clear there is a real synergy between our two companies that bodes very well for the future.”

The expansion builds upon the two companies’ earlier West Virginia market access deal, which was announced in December 2018. DraftKings, who additional market access is exclusive to Penn National Gaming across certain states in which Penn National Gaming operates casino properties.

“DraftKings is a clear leader in the burgeoning sports betting industry, and Penn National is excited to be extending our partnership with Jason Robins and his team,” Jon Kaplowitz, SVP Interactive for Penn National Gaming as in a news release. “We believe that DraftKings is well positioned to continue its success in the years to come.”

FanDuel Sportsbook PA has been operating in The Keystone State. FanDuel went live two weeks ago at Valley Forge Casino Resort, in partnership with Boyd Gaming.

Beyond the fantasy sports/sportsbook provider, Penn National also has formed multi-year partnerships with PointsBet, theScore and The Stars Group, giving them all access to markets across the nation.

The four sportsbooks operators have the option to own, operate, and brand real-money online sports betting in states where sports betting is legal in exchange for upfront cash and equity, one-time market access fees and ongoing revenue sharing.

Penn National has 40 gaming venues in 19 states, including Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi and Nevada.

The partnerships were brokered through “skin agreements” which provides an online book operator market access to select jurisdictions on a land-based casino’s license.

“Sports betting represents an exciting new growth opportunity for Penn National,” Kaplowitz said.  “Our skin agreements … will help fund the cost of launching and maintaining our primary sports betting and iGaming operations, both by way of the upfront consideration and the long-term revenue sharing arrangements, which are consistent with industry standards and subject to minimum guarantees.

Penn National also will launch online app iCasino in Pennsylvania in mid-August, according to Chief Operating Officer Jay Snowden, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported.

“We have honestly analyzed this to death and have come to the conclusion that it's all about control,” Snowden said. “As has been proven in Pennsylvania, Illinois and Colorado, that first skin is extremely valuable."

About the time that announcement was made, Kambi , which provides odds to three other online casino in the Keystone State – BetRivers, ParxOnline and PlaySugarHouse, said it would be the exclusive sports-betting supplier to Penn National.

View USA Sports Betting by State using SBR's legislative tracker.