Posted on: February 13, 2024, 10:09h.
Last updated on: February 13, 2024, 10:16h.
Penn Entertainment announced Tuesday it’s acquiring the sports betting license held by WynnBet in New York.
Penn Entertainment says it’s paying Wynn Interactive Holdings $25 million to purchase its online sportsbook (OSB) license in the Empire State. The New York State Gaming Commission issued WynnBet the online sports wagering permit in 2021.
Wynn Interactive is a subsidiary of Wynn Resorts. Penn Entertainment is bullish on sports betting and is betting big on its ability to gain market share with its newly deployed ESPN Bet brand.
This is an important development that will bring ESPN Bet to the largest regulated online sports wagering market in North America,” said Jay Snowden, Penn Entertainment CEO and president. “Together with ESPN, we’re building a brand that is synonymous with sports betting, and operating in the New York market is key as we grow ESPN Bet across the U.S.”
Penn is paying ESPN $1.5 billion over 10 years to leverage the iconic cable sports programming conglomerate into its sports betting business. The decision followed Penn’s disastrous ownership of Barstool Sports, which incurred regulatory headaches. Penn spent more than $500 million to acquire the Barstool brand before selling it back to Dave Portnoy for just $1.
Richest Sports Betting State
Home to the largest population in a state where online sports betting is legal, New York oddsmakers take more action each month than any other state. New York OSBs are taking about $2 billion a month in bets and retaining around $150 million monthly.
Before Penn’s $25 million transaction goes through, the company will need to undergo a suitability review by the New York State Gaming Commission. If the state signs off on the acquisition, Penn’s ESPN Bet will join a crowded market that includes OSB leaders DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM. Also operating online in New York are Bally Bet, Caesars Sportsbook, Fanatics, Resorts World Bet, and BetRivers.
ESPN Bet launched in 17 states on Nov. 14. The OSB replaced Barstool Sports in those jurisdictions after state gaming regulators signed off on the branding change.
Wynn Resorts is winding down its sports betting business. Last August, WynnBet announced it would be ceasing online betting operations in eight states, including Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Louisiana, New Jersey, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. That left the OSB just two states — Massachusetts and New York.
Wynn Resorts has a physical casino in Massachusetts with its Encore Boston Harbor. WynnBet has run an online book in the Bay State, but Wynn Interactive announced Monday that it will be ceasing OSB operations in Massachusetts, too. WynnBet customers in Massachusetts have 30 days to withdraw their account balances.
Penn already has an OSB license in Massachusetts through its operation of Plainridge Park Casino.
Wynn remains interested in winning one of the three downstate New York casino licenses. The company is partnered with The Related Companies, the real estate empire owned by billionaire Stephen Ross, on a $10 billion project targeting Hudson Yards on Manhattan’s West Side.
Presumably, Wynn Resorts could seek an OSB license in New York if its Manhattan project is greenlit. Penn Entertainment isn’t among the bidding pool, which currently numbers roughly 10 entries for the three concessions.