Legal Sportsbooks Coming To A Casino Near You!

Written By Marc Meltzer on July 27, 2018
Legal sportsbooks

Get ready for local sportsbook news! We’re in the middle of gaming corporations reporting their quarterly earnings. When these companies have earnings calls with investors and advisors they often share forward-looking information. Casino operators are particularly great because they often share information publicly for the first time.

The first batch of casino corporations to report earnings were Penn National Gaming and Boyd Gaming. Both companies have casinos located in Las Vegas and around the country. Now that sports betting is legal outside of Nevada, these kind of companies are preparing their casinos outside of the Silver State to take sports bets.

Boyd is ready to go in Mississippi

On its earnings call, Boyd Gaming said that it will be ready to take sports bets at its Mississippi casinos as soon as regulators allow it. Boyd Gaming operates approximately 10 casinos and sportsbooks in Nevada and will oversee its own operations at its Mississippi casinos. Boyd operates Sam’s Town in Tunica and IP in Biloxi.

Boyd Gaming expects to take bets in early August. The company is hoping to take bets on NFL preseason games and should be ready in time for college football season. Again, everything in Mississippi depends on regulatory approval.

Boyd Gaming caters mostly to locals in Nevada and has 40 years of experience operating casinos. An experienced casino and sportsbook operator should be able to expand operations smoothly. There shouldn’t be any shenanigans like FanDuel had when it opened its first sportsbook at Meadowlands in New Jersey. You can see the early FanDuel experience here and here.

It appears as though the Boyd Gaming casinos in Mississippi will use the same lines and odds that originate in Las Vegas. We still don’t know how lines in Nevada will be shaded for football season. Originating lines in Las Vegas could provide an opportunity for SEC bettors to find favorable lines and odds on their teams.

On the earnings call, Boyd Gaming said the purchase of Valley Forge casino in Pennsylvania should close in the fourth quarter. The company did not commit to taking sports bets and said there are still evaluating the situation to see if taking bets makes sense in PA. Stay tuned.

Penn National Gaming preparing for kickoff

Penn National Gaming is also gung-ho for sports betting but doesn’t seem quite as ready as Boyd Gaming. It is planning to accept wagers on sporting at their Mississippi and in West Virginia casinos in time for the NFL regular season.

Penn National Gaming operates Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in West Virginia and Boomtown Casino in Biloxi, MS, Hollywood Casino in Tunica, MS, and Hollywood Casino Gulf Coast in Bay St. Louis, MS. Penn wasn’t specific which casinos would offer sports betting on its call.

Penn National Gaming does not operate the sportsbooks in its Nevada casinos. CG Technology (formerly Cantor Gaming) operates the sportsbooks at M Resort and the Tropicana in Las Vegas. There’s no word on who will operate Penn’s sportsbooks around the country.

Like Boyd, Penn National is cautious about opening a sportsbook in their Pennsylvania casino.

Looking ahead to MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment earnings

MGM Resorts should have plenty of sports betting news when it reports earnings on Aug. 1. MGM already told ESPN that it is working with regulators in Mississippi and hopes to begin taking bets soon.

It appears as though Caesars Entertainment might be taking bets in New Jersey by the time it reports earnings on Aug. 2. Bally’s and Harrah’s in Atlantic City are currently in the process of setting up temporary sportsbooks. Caesars operates three casinos in Mississippi so we should hear news about more casinos offering sports bets.

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Marc Meltzer

Marc Meltzer grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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