DraftKings and the Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort in D’Iberville, Miss. announced a partnership on Monday that will put DraftKings in charge of the casino’s retail sportsbook.
Once live, this will mark two firsts for the Boston-headquartered company: its first retail sportsbook and its official foray into a second state after New Jersey, where DraftKings operates under a license with Resorts Casino and so far has led the competition among NJ online sportsbooks — by a couple laps — in terms of handle and gross revenue.
“Opening Nov. 16, 2018, the sportsbook will transform Scarlet Pearl’s existing PRL Bar into a multi-screen betting and social destination for sports lovers,” reads Monday’s joint news release.
Sports betting facilities are opening in Mississippi just about every day, with a handful more expected on Friday. On Thursday, after a meeting of the Mississippi Gaming Commission in the morning, Allen Godfrey, executive director of the commission, was on his way to check out testing going on at several Penn National Gaming properties in advance of their projected openings Friday.
“It hasn’t been overwhelming, it’s just been really busy,” Godfrey said of the slew of openings. “After the initial newness wears off, well, the fall will tell if it’s worth all of their efforts to have it. It’s been a good process so far.”
Before hitting the road, Godfrey’s board approved SBTech and William Hill as “suitable manufacturers and distributors for platforms” to provide sports betting. The companies join IGT and Scientific Games, both of which are also approved providers. By becoming approved providers, the companies can partner with existing, licensed Mississippi casinos to provide sports betting platforms across the state. William Hill announced earlier this month that is has signed agreements with 11 Mississippi casinos.
In a week of too much news to digest, William Hill US announced on Friday that it has signed partnership agreements with 11 Mississippi casinos for sports betting risk-management and technology services, with deals in the works in West Virginia and another that “would cover a further 14 US states.”
From the release:
Subject to regulatory approvals, William Hill will provide sports betting risk management services and its proprietary technology for both retail and on-premises mobile sports betting to the following casinos: Hard Rock Casino Hotel & Casino Biloxi, Island View Casino Resort (Gulfport), Palace Casino (Biloxi), Treasure Bay Casino (Biloxi) and WaterView Casino (Vicksburg), in addition to six other casinos in Mississippi. All properties are expected to be live by the end of August pending granting of licenses.
(And also, MGM’s Beau Rivage (Biloxi) and Gold Strike (Tunica) debuted the first Mississippi sportsbooks on Wednesday, August 2.)
William Hill hit the ground running in the post-PASPA world on June 7 as the Delaware Lottery’s sports betting partner via its agreement with Scientific Games. Three racinos took wagers and registered a $330,000 handle on Day 1 with just baseball and some World Cup on the menu.
“We are now the early market leader in New Jersey where our mobile app will launch within weeks and we expect to be market leader in Mississippi with these eleven casino agreements,” said William Hill CEO Philip Bowcock. “The team continue to engage in discussions that cover a further fourteen states and they are doing a tremendous job.”
The company currently operates about 105 sportsbooks locations throughout Nevada. More from Friday’s news release:
In West Virginia, William Hill will provide retail and mobile/online sports betting to a soon-to-be-announced casino partner. William Hill US is also in advanced discussions with operators about deals that cover casinos in a further fourteen states in the US about similar sports betting agreements.
The deals further expand William Hill’s US presence, which already includes sports betting operations in Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey and a race book in Iowa. William Hill has also combined forces with IGT for the Rhode Island Lottery Sports Betting RFP. If IGT is awarded the contract, William Hill will supply its operational expertise, risk management, and trading data to support the operation of sports betting in the state.
Previously in West Virginia, the Greenbrier Resort announced a deal with FanDuel. Each of Penn National Gaming, Eldorado Resorts and Delaware North own three of the other four casinos to be licensed for sports betting in the Mountaineer State.
Those greater referenced negotiations (regarding 14 states) are likely with a regional casino operator such as Penn National Gaming and/or others.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.
As had been rumored since the new Mississippi sports betting regulations went into effect on July 21, the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino (Biloxi, MS) and Gold Strike Casino Resort (Tunica, MS) will accept their first legal sports wagers on Wednesday, August 1 at 12 p.m. CT.
“The two Mississippi gaming resorts, both part of the MGM Resorts International portfolio, will celebrate the occasion with invited guests placing simultaneous first bets in the two locations at opposite ends of the Magnolia State,” a statement from MGM reads. “These first sports wagers will be placed on the 26th anniversary of the first casino bet made in Mississippi’s modern casino age, when the first pair of dice was rolled at the Isle of Capri in Biloxi on August 1, 1992.”
For now, wagering will be retail, or on-premises only. Mississippi’s enabling legislation in 2017 that permits sports wagering now there there’s been a change in federal law, courtesy the United States Supreme Court in May, but allows only wagering only in person and via mobile on casino premises.
Mississippi Sports Betting Will Arrive This Week in Biloxi and Tunica at MGM’s Beau Rivage and Gold Strike.
Among dignitaries and sports figures invited to place the first wagers are Willis McGahee, former NFL Pro Bowl running back (2003-2013); New Orleans native Robert Royal, former NFL tightend (2002-2010); and handicapper and sports analyst for USA TODAY, Danny Sheridan.
“It’s been exciting, it’s been busy, and we’re starting to get applications in,” said Mississippi Gaming Commission executive director Allen Godfrey in early July. “Operators are diligently preparing. It appears that the enthusiasm is high.
“We’ve had staff in Nevada, we’ve had them in New Jersey,” Godfrey continued. “We talk constantly with these other agencies and the model we are after is the Nevada model.”
Support and training from personnel in Nevada is part of why MGM will be the first to take wagers in Mississippi, and why the MGM-owned Borgata Hotel & Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey opened its doors on June 14, the day that the Garden State saw its first two licensees launch.
Over a dozen of Mississippi’s casinos, largely concentrated in Biloxi on the Gulf Coast and Tunica in the northwestern part of the state near Memphis, Tennessee, have applied for licenses.
Here's another "sign" of Mississippi sports betting.
Full details of the sportsbook at the Beau Rivage, already regarded as a cream-of-the-crop resort in Mississippi, are not available. The lounge is likely a temporary space for the time being with about 5 to 8 sports betting windows/tellers available.
Further, we anticipate a traditional sports betting menu, with straight bets, parlays, teasers, props and futures, just like the recently launched Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey. And there will be no limitation on wagering on local college teams — namely Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
Sports Handle has learned that the Golden Nugget in Biloxi will also launch sometime in August, likely before football season.
Likewise, the Horsehoe Tunica, next door neighbor of the Gold Strike, will launch “The Book” in mid-August, roughly. That opening will coincide with a sportsbook launch at Biloxi’s Harrah’s Gulf Coast Hotel & Casino — a Caesars property like the Horseshoe. Others in both Biloxi and Tunica will follow in the coming weeks.
This MGM news comes on the same day that the company disclosed further details of its $200 million joint venture with British betting group GVC. Plus — Monday brought word of its partnership with regional operator Boyd Gaming. The latter arrangement will expand MGM’s portfolio into states likely to offer sports betting and/or online gaming in the coming months or years. The partnership has an eye toward jurisdictions where either Boyd Gaming or MGM Resorts operate physical casino resorts and should be able to obtain licenses to operate online.
This sure beats a Friday news dump! Stay tuned for further coverage Mississippi sports betting launches and developments.