Penn National Gaming has been doubling down on sports betting almost constantly since PASPA was repealed in mid-2018. On Tuesday, the casino operator announced another sports gambling partnership, this one with the Malta-based Kindred Group, owner of the Unibet sportsbook brand.
The deal paves the way for Unibet to launch in the state of Illinois, which kicked off sports gambling earlier this year. In addition, the deal includes potential future operation in Ohio, where policymakers are still working on crafting legislation for establishing an industry. Ohio appears in the ballpark of 50-50 for passage in 2020.
The deal also includes market access for regulated online casino gaming, but neither Illinois nor Ohio is likely to authorize that in the near future.
Kindred Group would need to obtain licensure from respective regulatory bodies in each state before it can conduct any operations.
Growing list of markets for Unibet
The online/mobile sportsbook is currently live in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Indiana.
Unibet launched in the Hoosier State in July as the state’s eighth online/mobile sportsbook. The book handled about $10,000 in wagers in just a few days in July. August was Unibet’s first full month being active in Indiana. New state figures for the month are expected out later this week.
In Illinois, Unibet would be licensed through the Argosy Casino Alton near St. Louis. In the Buckeye State, Unibet would go through one of PNG’s Hollywood casinos (Toledo or Columbus) or its racinos (Youngstown or Dayton). According to a presser, these agreements are good for at least 10 years.
“Extending our footprint in the U.S. by establishing our brand in two key states like Illinois and Ohio is very exciting for us,” said Kindred U.S. SVP Manuel Stan. “We continue our journey in what we believe will become the largest gambling market in the world. Putting Illinois and Ohio on the list together with New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Indiana, shows our commitment to establishing Unibet in the U.S. Illinois is one of the largest U.S. states and it will be the next state that we are targeting to launch.”
Michigan, which has already legalized both online/mobile sports betting and casino play, is expected to launch in the coming months. Unibet doesn’t have a market access deal for the Wolverine State, but that could be in the pipeline for the firm.
Kindred will continue to utilize technology from Pala Interactive and the Kambi Group for its online gambling products in the U.S., the presser stated.
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