State regulators on Wednesday approved a sports-wagering license for a casino near Pittsburgh, providing a platform for DraftKings, the fantasy sports giant, to finally enter Pennsylvania’s booming online sports-betting market.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board unanimously approved the sports-betting license for the Meadows Racetrack & Casino in Washington County, about 25 miles south of Pittsburgh. Casino officials said they were ready to begin taking bets next Tuesday during a test period and anticipate an official opening by Oct. 10.
Meadows Casino would become the 10th Pennsylvania casino to open a retail sportsbook in the state since November. Perhaps of greater interest to the industry, and to sports bettors across the state, is what comes next: the long-awaited entry of DraftKings into the Pennsylvania market.
DraftKings, which is the state’s largest fantasy sports operator, will run the Meadows online sportsbook in a co-branded deal. DraftKings’ application for an operator’s license is scheduled to be considered by the gaming board Oct. 30, and it anticipates going live in November.
DraftKings and its rival, FanDuel, dominate the daily fantasy sports market, and the two companies leveraged their customer bases to quickly capture big shares of New Jersey’s online sports-betting market.
The FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino, which went online in July, already accounts for more than a third of Pennsylvania’s sports bets, mostly online.
Meadows Casino, which is based at a harness-racing track outside Washington, Pa., is formally known as Washington Trotting Association LLC.
Meadows last year came under the control of Penn National Gaming, of Wyomissing, Pa., which operates casinos and racetracks at 41 locations worldwide. Its flagship operation is the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Racecourse near Hershey, which accepted the state’s first legal sports bet in November.
In choosing DraftKings as its partner at Meadows, Penn National has assembled a different sports-betting team than it works with at Hollywood Casino, where the sportsbook is operated by William Hill US.
DraftKings will manage Meadows’ online sports-betting operation, but not the retail sportsbook at the casino, which will be run by Meadows employees. Meadows will offer betting odds and trading services managed by Kambi, the European bookmaker with its U.S. headquarters in Philadelphia.
Kambi also will offer trading services to DraftKings’ online operation in Pennsylvania.