ollowing Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont's signature of legislation that legalizes sports wagering and online gambling in the state back in May, Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE) launched Mohegan Digital earlier this month, the iGaming division of the brand that will be essential in the upcoming sports betting and igaming offering in Connecticut this fall, in partnership with FanDuel.
Yogonet spoke about these recent developments and future steps with Rich Roberts, President of Mohegan Digital.
Why have you chosen FanDuel as a partner to run sports betting and iGaming in Connecticut?
We are thrilled to add another world-class partner like FanDuel, one of the leading sports-tech entertainment companies in the world, to our roster. When choosing a partner, we aim to ensure that they align with the values of the Mohegan Tribe and will further enhance the consumer experience for our loyal network of guests – and we are confident that FanDuel will do just that. We are excited to offer sports bettors and fans across the state of Connecticut access to FanDuel’s premium online and mobile betting experiences. We believe our innovative gaming offerings will provide a positive boost to economic activity and bolster the state’s tourism and entertainment industries for years to come.
What key contributions and added value will FanDuel bring to your business, and what innovations and distinctive features can we expect from this new iGaming, sports wagering experience in the state?
These exciting initiatives will further solidify Mohegan Sun’s position as the premier gaming and entertainment destination on the East Coast. We anticipate our sportsbook, which potentially will be the largest FanDuel Sportsbook in the country, will bring increased tourism to the state, and that includes from neighboring states, some of which do not yet have legalized sports betting. Specifically, we’re very pleased to offer an additional layer of the premier gaming experience to our reward program (known as Momentum) members, both present and future.
The opportunity with FanDuel will complement what Mohegan Sun has to offer – from two brick-and-mortar casinos and extraordinary dining experiences to world-class entertainment. The digital experience from FanDuel will further position Mohegan Sun as not only a destination, but also a true gaming and entertainment experience. Not only will FanDuel offer a great selection of table games that they will bring to the app, but also deliver an incredible retail experience in-house, featuring a game-day atmosphere unlike any other with wagering options across various sporting events. We are confident the digital experience will match what we have in the casino.
Which kind of technologies will you work with and offer both in your retail and online segments (cashless, touchless, VR, etc.)?
Our team is constantly evaluating new technologies and looking at the best opportunities via a state-by-state model to ensure we are offering the best solutions for our consumers.
FanDuel said Mohegan Sun has the potential to host the largest FanDuel sportsbook in the United States. Could you elaborate on this projection? Which kind of partnerships and features will you be after in order to achieve this, and which specific audiences are you targeting?
Our partnership with FanDuel is a priority for Mohegan Digital, as we continue to grow and enhance the casino, sportsbook and online operations in Connecticut and beyond. Since 1996, MGE has developed properties that prioritize the overall consumer experience; and through our strategic partnership with FanDuel, we are looking to amplify the consumer experience at Mohegan Sun across all levels – from the digital experience to retail and F&B, we want to engage our Mohegan guests beyond the casino.
CEO Ray Pineault said he hoped to launch sports betting in time for the upcoming NFL season, by the fall. Are you on track to meet that deadline? Which are the next steps?
The launch of sports betting and iGaming, both on-property and online, is contingent on the current regulatory procedures with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. There is a regulatory process for Connecticut that is being finalized as well, and that includes regulatory framework for online systems. Pending regulatory approval, we anticipate launching our sports betting operations by NFL kickoff. We’re expected to open a temporary sportsbook location at Mohegan Sun by September; and following, our signature sportsbook located in the property’s Casino of the Earth is expected to be the largest FanDuel sportsbook in the country.
Could you share your own estimates for your online gaming and sports betting operations in the state? Which are your plans, goals and expectations in the short-mid term?
Our main priority is to extend the world-class Mohegan experience beyond the doors of our casino in Uncasville. It is our goal for Mohegan Digital to introduce online gamers to our brick-and-mortar property and provide our consumers with a full 365-degree retail and digital experience. With Mohegan Digital, we are bringing a great product to the marketplace that will match the existing excitement at our properties.
For the gamers who have not visited Mohegan Sun or any other of our properties before, we hope our partnership with FanDuel will expand our footprint and provide an opportunity for consumers to experience the world-class gaming and entertainment Mohegan is known for.
When announcing Mohegan Digital, Aviram Alroy said the new division has plans to launch not only in Connecticut, but also Washington, Pennsylvania, the province of Ontario, and more states in the future. Could you share further insights and outlooks for those markets? Are you already working to prepare your entry into one of them? What is your approach to them in terms of partnerships, business models, market share, etc?
One of our immediate focuses is expanding sports betting to our Ontario properties, and we are currently in the midst of that planning. Having two properties in Ontario gives us a unique opportunity to reach an international audience.
In Washington, we are also looking at our options and identifying our best strategy, pending legislative approval. As discussions move forward, we are interested in working with Washington State to bring Mohegan Digital to the Pacific Northwest.
Digital gaming is certainly expanding throughout the country and our hope is that Mohegan Digital will grow visitation to the brick-and-mortar casino in Connecticut, and our other markets.