Unibet and FanDuel in a Battle for Pennsylvania
It’s seven up in Pennsylvania! European sports betting giants, Kindred, has followed the land-based launch of its Unibet brand in the Keystone state by rolling out both online sports betting and casino.
The Stockholm based company, who, in September made their US sports betting debut in New Jersey, bring a wealth of experience and a seventh online sports betting option for 12.8 million Pennsylvanians.
Question is, can the brand make a name for itself in PA? And, looking ahead, what are the chances of success for Unibet in the US?
FanDuel lead the way in PA. But for how long?
Despite the $10 million license fee and 36% tax rate on gross gaming revenue, the PA mobile sports betting is thriving. SugarHouse, FanDuel, BetRivers, Parx and Fox Bet generated close to $200 million in online wagers in October, a figure representing 82% of Pennsylvania’s total handle for the month. To give this some context, around 85% of New Jersey’s bets are made online.
As is the case in the Garden State, FanDuel are the market leaders in Pennsylvania by quite a distance. The fantasy sports turned sports betting powerhouse own just over 57% of the state’s online handle. Their number one spot at the head of active sportsbooks in the state of Pennsylvania could come under threat however with the recent additions of DraftKings and Unibet to the online sports betting mix.
In need of no introduction, DraftKings, setting foot in PA courtesy of its market access agreement with Penn National, are set to resume the rivalry they share with fellow DFS operators in three other states. Unibet, on the other hand, are newcomers to US sports betting and are the only non-US operator to have launched in Pennsylvania. So, how will they compete?
Building the brand
Already, the building blocks are in place for Kindred Group, to build a successful brand in PA. Local NFL side, Philadelphia Eagles are on board as official partners. The multi-year agreement will see the Unibet name given a presence across the Lincoln Financial Field, particularly the ‘Eagles Nest Tower’, the stadium’s billboard. Although the linkup is exclusive to the online casino, the website being the same for both sportsbook and casino, and customers having access to a shared wallet, will see the Eagles’ partnership generate plenty of online traffic for Unibet as a whole.
On top of this, a partnership with the state’s MLS representative, Philadelphia Union, will grant Unibet access to another audience and sport entirely, further strengthening their profile in a state well known for backing their sports teams. Creating local links is a philosophy Unibet clearly value having also partnered with New Jersey Devils in New Jersey.
Being partnered with Mohegan Sun Pocono casino, known as an established brand in PA, will also assist in making the Unibet name a familiar one. Further strings to the Unibet bow come in the shape of the simultaneous launch of the brand’s online casino, which happens to be the biggest online casino offering in PA. New players to Unibet sportsbook PA meanwhile will benefit from a variety of promos and bonuses including two $10 free bets on sign up and a risk-free bet up to $250.
The future for Unibet in PA and beyond
From the outside looking in, the battle for US market share seems daunting. For Kindred though, parent of eleven online gambling brands around the world, the battle to make themselves heard in a highly competitive market dominated littered with domestic names is par for the course.
Owed to a highly successful philosophy based on a local focus, Unibet are on solid ground when it comes to establishing themselves in PA and trying to crack what eventually will become the biggest sports betting market industry in the world. Let’s not forget, only four states have launched full-scale mobile sports betting since the federal ban was lifted in May 2018, Significantly, Unibet are live in two of the most prominent.
Early days it may be yet Kindred has taken small but significant steps in what is viewed as a long-term vision to grow the brand across the states. New Jersey and Pennsylvania are viewed as the building blocks as online gambling in the US continues to rise.
With more states set to ratify bills for online sports betting through 2020, Kindred is working to secure access in soon-to-be launched markets and lay down yet more roots. It seems Unibet are only just getting started in the states.