“After engaging with our over 200,000 monthly reader sports fans, many of whom are bettors or likely bettors, it has become clear that millennial mobile-first sports bettors want an app that looks and feels at home on their device right next to apps like Instagram and Facebook”
DOYLESTOWN, Pa. May 31, 2019
Online sports betting has officially launched in Pennsylvania with SugarHouse SportsBook going fully live after a three-day soft launch period which allowed the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to test the app and its underlying technology under live conditions.
But this is just a small step toward full-scale online sports betting in PA.
“This is just a start for online betting in Pennsylvania,” said CrossingBroad.com editor Kyle Scott, who chronicles the legal sports betting industry. “SugarHouse is not yet live on the all-important Apple iOS ecosystem as Apple has not approved their app for the App Store and there is no mobile web version due to the fact that SugarHouse can't confirm a user's location without an app installed on the device.”
“In the coming weeks and months we will see other entrants like FanDuel Sportsbook and Parx Sportsbook enter the fray, and the real tipping point will begin when mobile betting is available as an app on iOS,” Scott added.
New Jersey has seen the vast majority of its sports bets made online, with a presumed majority share of those coming through mobile apps.
Analysts from CrossingBroad.com project that upwards of 85% of bets in Pennsylvania will be online within 1 year.
“There are only 12 casinos, but with the population of the state being 12 million, the opportunity for online betting, regardless or a user’s location, is substantial,” Scott said.
CrossingBroad.com predicts that Valley Forge Casino Resort, thanks to its partnership with FanDuel, will lead the state in betting handle in the six months following launch, based on conversations with industry insiders and executives who wished not to be named.
Will large local casino brands be able to compete with national and international sports betting brands expected to enter the fray in PA?
“As we saw in New Jersey, local brand strength meant little as the online betting market has been dominated by DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, and William Hill, national brands which are not actually New Jersey casinos,” said Ziernicki, who also founded PASportsbooks.com, a site that focuses on industry news and sportsbook reviews. “Users view DraftKings and FanDuel as modern approaches to sports gambling with apps that clearly have several layers of development above what some of the casinos have offered on their own.”
“Pennsylvania is a unique market in that it has two major casino brands in Parx and SugarHouse that have heavy marketing ties into the sports ecosystem,” Ziernicki said. “But that is all built around their local casino presence— will that translate to successful mobile gaming numbers?”
A CrossingBroad.com survey of 1,149 local sports fan followers found that only 15% planned to bet with SugarHouse Sportsbook, but 31% planned to wait for DraftKings or FanDuel to enter the market. 26% said they would try more than one app, and 28% planned not to bet at all.
That means 79% of likely sports bettors are waiting for DraftKings or FanDuel or plan to try more than one app.
Besides FanDuel, The Stars Group plans to bring its FOX Bet app to PA thanks to a partnership with Mt. Airy Casino Resort.
FOX recently acquired a 5% stake in Stars to brand its app— it is believed it will be heavily featured on FOX Sports programming, including NFL on FOX broadcasts.
“After engaging with our over 200,000 monthly reader sports fans, many of whom are bettors or likely bettors, it has become clear that millennial mobile-first sports bettors want an app that looks and feels at home on their device right next to apps like Instagram and Facebook,” Scott said. “SugarHouse will need to leverage its local brand recognition in Pennsylvania to compete with the expected launches of FanDuel and FOX.”
CrossingBroad.com is Philly’s most popular independent sports website and has an audience of over 200,000 local sports fans. Founded in 2009, the site has broken countless local and national sports stories, and has covered all sides of the fantasy, DFS and sports betting industries. CrossingBroad.com recently opened a video studio in Doylestown to provide sports betting content to its readers. The site’s credentialed writers cover the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers and Union.
PASportsbooks.com is the state’s leading website in covering news and industry developments around sports betting in Pennsylvania. The site charts legal sports betting revenue along with providing reviews of physical and online sportsbooks.
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