- WynnBET has secured market access for sports betting and iGaming in West Virginia via a partnership with Delaware North.
- Delaware North owns and operates two properties in West Virginia: Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack in Wheeling and Mardi Gras Casino & Resort in Nitro, near Charleston.
- WynnBET is live in Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, Tennessee and Virginia.
To use a horse racing metaphor–WynnBET was ‘slow out of the gate’ but have caught up to the rest of the field. WynnBET is a product of Wynn Interactive, the sports betting and iGaming division of Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ: WYNN). The interactive division is a partnership between WYNN and Malta based BetBull. Since reorganizing into the current form in November 2020, Wynn Interactive’s WynnBET has taken some bold strides toward catching up with the major players in the US sports betting/iGaming market. WynnBET is live in Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, Tennessee and Virginia with addition states ‘in the pipeline’ including Iowa (where they’ll partner with Elite Casinos for market access) and Louisiana.
In addition to market access, they’re gaining ground on the promotional and brand building front. They’ve inked partnership deals with a number of sports leagues and teams. WynnBET is an Approved Sportsbook Operator of the NFL, an Authorized Gaming Operator of NASCAR, MLB and NBA, and a marketing partner of several NFL, NBA and MLB teams including the New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts. As a marketing tool, the impact of such partnerships on ‘the bottom line’ is unclear. That said, many sportsbooks look at these relationships as tangible signs of brand validity so they’re worth mentioning. WynnBET has even started to enlist major celebrities as ‘brand ambassadors’. Former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal was brought on in the dual role of brand ambassador and ‘strategic consultant’. WynnBET put Shaq to work quickly, casting him in a ad campaign which includes TV spots directed by Ben Affleck.
‘Brand building’ is certainly important but the ‘bread and butter’ of any gaming business is taking bets. With many states in the US still hampered by bumbling politicians, clueless lottery bureaucracies and inept regulatory frameworks there’s still a very pronounced disparity in gaming freedom. At this point, there’s less than 10 states that have really done sports betting well. For that reason, access to jurisdictions that welcome a competitive market environment is crucial.
WynnBET is live in seven states and they’re on the verge of adding another. Earlier today, the company announced that it now has a market access agreement for sports betting and iGaming in West Virginia. The deal is in partnership with Delaware North, a global hospitality company that describes their business as follows:
Today, Delaware North manages and provides food and beverage concessions, premium dining, entertainment, lodging, and retail at many large venues and special places. These include sports stadiums, entertainment complexes, national and state parks, airports, and casinos.
Delaware North owns and operates two properties in West Virginia: Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack in Wheeling and Mardi Gras Casino & Resort in Nitro, near Charleston. Delaware North offers a retail sportsbook at both properties along with statewide mobile sports betting all under the ‘Betly’ brand name. Delaware North owns and operates additional gaming properties in Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, New York and Ohio along with the Mindil Beach Casino Resort in Darwin, Northern Territory Australia.
No guidance was given as to a timeline for WynnBET to go live in West Virginia. They’ll have to be licensed in the state first and that could take a while. Making matters even worse, sports betting in West Virginia is regulated by the state’s lottery commission and that’s never a good idea. If I had to guess I’d say that you won’t see WynnBET go live until late Q1 or early Q2 in 2022. Wynn Resorts has their Q3 2021 earnings call scheduled for Tuesday, November 9 and we could get some more information about a timeline for their launch in West Virginia as well as some other states.