Playtech Plans to Enter the US Sports Betting Market
Playtech is seeking gaming licenses in the United States to help it move into the next big sports betting market. Playtech operates the iPoker Network, which supplies poker software to large online gaming brnads like William Hill, Paddy Power Betfair, and Bet365. Playtech provides online casinos and live casino games to hundreds of online gaming sites.
Playtech wants to entire the sportsbook market with its Playtech BGT Sports, an online bookmaker brand which operates in a wide range of markets, including Mexico.
In an earnings call with top shareholders, Playtech CEO Mor Weizer (pictured right) told investors BGT Sports is a natural fit for the US gaming market. Weizer said that Playtech BGT Sports is scalable from state-to-state, which is important in a federal republic like the United States.
Playtech BGT Sports also is modular, which would offer potential license holders flexibility in their gaming ensemble. For instance, online casino operators who do not want to pay development costs could add Playtech’s sportsbook software without compatibility issues with existing software.
Playtech’s Ties to Caesars Entertainment
The company already has links to US gaming enterprises. When online gambling first was legalized by New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware in 2013, Playtech signed a partnership deal with Caesars Entertainment.
In June of 2017, Playtech signed a further deal with Caesars’ subsidiary, Caesars Entertainment EMEA. That could help smooth a licensing process, because the deal acts as a kind of personal reference or recommendation by a respected US casino company. Caesars owns 3 casinos in Atlantic City: Caesars AC, Harrah’s AC, and Bally’s Atlantic City.
In return, Playtech has advantages to offer Caesars. For instance, Playtech would work with Caesars Entertainment’s eight UK-based casino enterprises to provide the company’s Neon Enterprise system.
William Hill and Betfair
For that matter, longtime licensees William Hill and Paddy Power-Betfair have operated in the US gaming market for years. William Hill entered the Nevada market in 2013 and now operates 108 of the state’s 128 land-based sportsbooks or sports betting shops.
Betfair, which merged with Paddy Power in 2015, has operated in the New Jersey gaming market since 2009, when it bought the TVG and TVG2 network. Betfair has provided race betting services to Meadowlands Racetrack for 9 years. Earlier this year, Paddy Power Betfair signed to provide sports betting services to Meadowlands Racetrack and Tioga Downs in New York state — both owned by Jeff Gural.
Kindred Group, which owns international online casino brands like 32Red and Unibet, signed a deal with Scientific Games and that lottery giant’s new interactive subsidiary, SG Digital, to bring sports betting content to the New Jersey online gambling market. In time, it would seem that all the major UK and Irish bookmaker sites plan to enter the U.S. sports betting market.
Playtech Needs a Sense of Urgency
Playtech must enter the US sports betting market soon if it is to be a top competitor. Since the May 14 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court which struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA), companies already active in America have agreed to strategic partnerships, bookmaker deals, and mergers.
With the period of consolidation and collaboration a few months old already, Playtech may find itself with fewer solid partners in any sports betting arrangements it makes — if it waits too long. The company, based on the Isle of Man, might find itself competing against many of its top license holders.
The US sports betting industry is going to be a game changer, at least once 10 or more U.S. states legalize sports betting. At present, New Jersey, Mississippi, Nevada, and Delaware have single-game sports betting. Most expect others to follow in short suit.