The sports betting juggernaut has now been steadily making progress for over three months across various US jurisdictions, as organisations jockey for position in what is quickly becoming a very busy marketplace.

One such entity is Nevada based gaming and hospitality firm Boyd Gaming, whose current operations spread in excess of twenty properties in seven American states, with expansions very much on the agenda.

Recent deals completed alongside MGM Resorts, FanDuel Group, IGT and Aristocrat has seen Boyd continue in its period of sustained growth, as it seeks to be become a leader in the new sports betting scene.

SBC Americas has been speaking to Boyd’s vice president of corporate communications David Strow, regarding PASPA’s repeal, the significance of a number of key deals completed and which state/s are currently holding Boyd’s attention.

SBC Americas: To begin on relatively simple terms, what did the repeal of PASPA mean for Boyd Gaming? Was it an outcome that the group had prepared for and was prepared to act upon swiftly?

David Strow: While we couldn’t predict how the Supreme Court would rule, we were prepared for this outcome – as evidenced by how quickly we were able to get sports betting operations up and running in Mississippi following regulatory approval.  Boyd Gaming has more than 40 years of experience in sports betting in Nevada, and we are ready and eager to put that experience to work in new markets across the country.

“…we look to become a leading player in the US sports betting market”

SBCA: A number of recent partnerships have been announced by Boyd, how significant are such deals, particularly with MGM (labelled “unprecedented” by Jim Murren) and FanDuel?

DS: Both partnerships are strategically important to Boyd Gaming as we look to become a leading player in the US sports betting market.

Thanks to our partnership with MGM, we will gain access to five of the most densely populated states in the US – Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey and New York. In all, Boyd Gaming now has the ability to offer igaming (including sports, casino gaming and poker) in 15 states across the country, should any of these states move ahead with the legalisation and regulation of these forms of gaming in the future.

The partnership with FanDuel provides Boyd Gaming with the technological expertise and infrastructure to take full advantage of these new opportunities as they emerge. Should a state move ahead with the legalisation of mobile or online gaming, we have two options under the FanDuel agreement – partner with FanDuel to operate a FanDuel-branded mobile/online gaming product in that state, and/or operate a Boyd Gaming-branded mobile/online gaming product that is operated by FanDuel on our behalf.

Thanks to our partnerships, Boyd Gaming has potential future access to about 36% of the US population – and with FanDuel, we have a partner that provides considerable technological expertise and resources, as well as one of America’s best-known sports wagering brands.

We see sports betting as an important market differentiator for Mississippi”

SBCA: Boyd recently opened two sportsbooks at its Mississippi properties, with Penn National now set to open at all of five of its assets, how important do you see this market becoming?

DS: Today, Mississippi is the only state in the southern US that permits sports wagering. We see sports betting as an important market differentiator for Mississippi, an amenity that helps the state’s gaming industry stand out from the competition – and hopefully, draws more customers than ever to the state’s casinos.

SBCA: Related to the previous question, are there any markets which Boyd are putting a concerted effort into? And which, short and long-term, do you envisage becoming the most integral?   

DS: The number of markets available to us at the moment is limited; currently, only a few states across the US currently allow sports wagering. Our ability to offer this product in the 15 states where we have access will depend on what each state’s lawmakers decide to do, but we are obviously monitoring the situation across the country very closely.

The next near-term opportunity for us could be Pennsylvania, which recently legalised both sports betting and igaming. We anticipate entering this state in September, when we are scheduled to complete our acquisition of Valley Forge Casino near Philadelphia. Once that acquisition is complete, we will closely evaluate these opportunities in Pennsylvania to see if they make sense for us.

We absolutely think that igaming and sports betting would be mutually beneficial”

SBCA: How significant is a sustained growth in igaming within certain jurisdictions? Could the igaming and sports betting verticals be mutually beneficial for one another?

DS: We absolutely think that igaming and sports betting would be mutually beneficial. Nevada provides a great example of this – since Boyd Gaming launched our mobile sports betting app in Nevada a few years ago (B Connected Sports), a significant amount of our Nevada sports betting activity now occurs through our mobile platform. Mobile sports betting is highly popular among Nevada players, and I think you would see similar trends if other states move in that direction.