ohegan Sun Pocono in Plains Twp. is getting ready to offer a new amenity the casino’s President and General Manager Tony Carlucci expects will attract more customers.
Pending approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, the casino is just months away from adding sports betting that will create at least 12 more jobs, bring live tellers and kiosks to the casino as well as TV screens and monitors where people could watch games, Carlucci said.
Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board spokesman Doug Harbach said determinations are typically made one to two months after petitions are filed and Carlucci expects people will be able to bet on sports at Mohegan Sun Pocono before the football season starts.
Mount Airy Casino Resort in Monroe County filed to offer sports betting too. Both casinos will have to pay a $10 million licensing fee.
Mohegan Sun entered into an agreement with New York-based Unibet Interactive Inc., a subsidiary of Kindred Group PLC, that would serve as its sports wagering and interactive gaming operator. The casino applied to offer all types of sports betting permitted by state law.
Kindred will be largely involved with the online and on-site sports book presence at Mohegan Sun Pocono, a casino spokesman said, as reported by Pocono Records. It will offer customers the online sportsbook and casino experience under the Unibet brand as well as a Unibet sports betting lounge at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
Through the online sportsbook, people can use a mobile or web device to place a bet. They can place wagers on all major sports events in the U.S. and the world, including baseball, basketball, football and hockey, said Aviram Alroy, vice president of Interactive Gaming at Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment. The casino plans to feature in-game betting as well as future bets, he said.
Statewide, gaming operators have raked in millions of dollars in revenue from sports wagering. In all, Pennsylvania has collected more than $81.1 million from sports betting since November 2018 and more than $2.5 million in state and local taxes. The local share assessment amounted to $141,412, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. Sports betting revenue is taxed at 36%. Thirty-four percent goes to the state’s general fund and 2% to a local share assessment to the Commonwealth Finance Agency for grants.
If sports betting is approved at Mohegan Sun Pocono and Mount Airy, Harbach said it’s difficult to say how much money it will bring in because it will vary from week to week unlike slot machines, where the hold is 10% to 11% for the casino consistently.
Wagers can be racked up in one week, but the payouts will not be made for some time down the road. That’s because many bets are for “futures” that won’t be determined until the end of a season, he said. Throughout Pennsylvania, Harbach said sports betting has generated a great deal of excitement and it has resulted in bringing in new customers. March was the first month eight locations in Pennsylvania offered sports betting for a full or partial month.
Unlike slots revenue, sports betting revenue will not benefit the horse racing industry. According to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, 11% of slots revenue goes to the horse racing industry.
Pete Peterson, president of the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Association and spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Equine Coalition, said wagers placed on a “sports game between the Dodgers and the Reds do not benefit the Pennsylvania horse racing industry.”
Peterson hopes sports betting will attract new horse racing bettors. He would like to see integration between sports betting and horse racing. “I believe if it’s done right, it could attract new bettors who will place wagers on horse racing but it’s really about how it’s integrated,” he said.
On his behalf, Carlucci said he believes adding sports betting will bring in new customers and that also will benefit horse racing. “We pride ourselves on offering the whole entertainment package and this will be another amenity for the casino,” Carlucci concluded.