Penn National Deal Could Allow Rush Street Interactive To Offer Ohio Online Gambling

Posted By Martin Harris on February 23, 2021

Online casinos and online sportsbooks have yet to be legalized in Ohio, although lawmakers continue to explore various possibilities.

If and when they green light those verticals, Rush Street Interactive, Inc. will be in position to capitalize.

On Monday, Rush Street announced it has entered into a strategic partnership agreement with casino operator Penn National Gaming. The deal affords Rush Street the ability to offer its BetRivers online casino and sportsbook platform in multiple new states — including Ohio — once lawmakers and regulators in those states approve doing so.

Penn National properties could afford Rush Street entry to Ohio

According to the announcement, Rush Street will be able to offer its platform “for up to 20 years in Ohio, Maryland and Missouri through potential second skins in each of those states.”

In other words, while Rush Street will potentially have access to those three states, they won’t be able to launch in any of them until the states legalize online casinos and sportsbooks. At that point there will also need to be licenses issued and approvals from regulators before any BetRivers sites can go live. And that is if those states allow for multiple skins for license holders.

Penn National Gaming operates two casinos in Ohio: Hollywood Casino Columbus and Hollywood Casino Toledo. Penn also operates two racinos in Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway and Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Downs.

Ohio lawmakers continue to debate the possibility of legalizing sports betting in the Buckeye State. They are considering online sportsbooks as well, although online casinos are not currently part of the discussion.

Voters in Maryland just approved sports betting in November 2020, including online. However, lawmakers still need to hammer out details before it can go live. Missouri, like Ohio, has yet to legalize online casinos or sports betting.

The agreement also includes “a right of first offer for a potential skin in Texas through Penn National subject to, among other things, state law and regulatory approvals.” Texas has not legalized online gambling of any kind.

Additional states enables Rush Street to expand reach

Richard Schwartz, president of Rush Street Interactive, expressed enthusiasm about adding Ohio, Maryland and Missouri to the company’s “market access portfolio.”

Schwartz specifically noted neighboring states in which BetRivers is already live. The additional possibilities in these new states, Schwartz said, could help “create enhanced marketing efficienies” for the company.

Currently Rush Street Interactive operates online gaming sites in eight states:

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

Rush Street Interactive also has agreements in place in both West Virginia and New York. West Virginia has already legalized both online casinos and online sportsbooks, while New York continues to explore the possibility.

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