BetRivers Could Slide Into Maryland Sports Betting Thanks To Penn National Deal

Written By Blair Ames on February 24, 2021 - Last Updated on June 16, 2022
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Rush Street Interactive (RSI) and Penn National Gaming have announced a 20-year partnership that gives Rush Street an opportunity to bring its BetRivers online casino and sports betting platform to Maryland.

Under the deal, if the state allows multiple skins for license holders, BetRivers would piggyback off Penn National. This would also be the case in other states featured in the agreement, including Missouri, Ohio and Texas. Of course, all of this is subject to regulatory and licensing approval, according to a press release. Following the launch of the skins, RSI will compensate Penn National for market access.

In Maryland, legislators are currently hashing out the details of the state’s sports betting launch after voters approved of the measure in November. Missouri and Ohio lawmakers are also considering bills that would allow for retail and online sportsbooks in their states.

“We are pleased to gain potential market access to three new states as we continue the execution of our strategy to gain access and bring our best-in-class online gaming offerings to key markets across the United States,” Richard Schwartz, president of Rush Street, said in a statement.

“The addition of Ohio, Maryland and Missouri to our market access portfolio, specifically, builds on RSI’s success in neighboring states and will create enhanced marketing efficiencies for our brand.”

Rush Street eager to expand BetRivers reach

Rush Street first launched its online gaming site in New Jersey in September 2016. It now operates online gaming in eight states:

  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia

In addition to the BetRivers online casino and sports betting platform, RSI offers immersive social gaming options and provides retail betting services.

Another key aspect of the partnership allows Penn National to enter the highly sought-after New York market through the Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady. The deal gives Penn National second-skin access in New York should lawmakers allow license holders to launch multiple skins.

Sports betting is only available in New York at the state’s casinos. But mobile sports betting may be approved as soon as this year.

Penn National and Barstool Sports in Maryland

Penn National has been a major sports betting player in states that have legalized and launched online gaming. This is due in part to its highly publicized alignment with the Barstool Sports brand.

In February 2020, Penn National partnered with Barstool Sports to launch the Barstool Sportsbook, which is now available for bettors in Pennsylvania and Michigan. Reports have indicated that the Barstool app could be live in as many as 10 states by the end of 2021.

Penn National demonstrated its interest in the soon-to-launch Maryland online gaming market in December 2020 when it acquired Hollywood Casino Perryville for $31.1 million – a property it had divested from in 2013.

With the Hollywood Casino back under operation with Penn National, Barstool may now have the opportunity to open a branded sportsbook at the location and has access to launch its sportsbook platform in the state.

Penn National originally helped develop the Cecil County casino, which was the first to operate in Maryland in 2010.

The state of sports betting in Maryland

Maryland legislators are still crafting the framework for how sports betting will operate in the state.

House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones and others have indicated a desire for the licenses to be awarded equitably and to include minority-owned sports betting facilities. But many questions remain as to how many licenses will be awarded initially and for what physical locations.

It is also unknown when Maryland residents will be able to begin placing wagers. However, lawmakers have suggested sportsbooks may be up and running in advance of the 2021 NFL season.

The Speaker’s initial proposal has called for sports betting at a variety of locations in the state, including:

  • Six casinos
  • Three racetrack properties
  • M&T Bank Stadium
  • FedEx Field
  • Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Smaller properties, such as restaurants and bars, may also be included in the final plan.

Photo by AP / Julio Cortez
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