FanDuel Partners with The GreenBrier to Bring Online Betting to West Virginia
On Monday, June 25th, FanDuel inked a landmark deal with the historic and prestigious GreenBrier resort in West Virginia, to provide online and mobile sports betting services for the casino. This deal effectively brings mobile sports betting to the state of West Virginia once the official regulations are finally approved by the West Virginia Lottery Commission.
ProFootballTalk.com first broke the story of this new partnership on Monday. In addition to this news, FanDuel CEO Matt King also made the following comments to PFT:
“We are honored to be chosen to provide sports wagering services at The Greenbrier, an iconic resort in the U.S. As we work towards building out a top sports betting product for the upcoming NFL season, we look forward to bringing West Virginia residents, sports fans, and visitors to The Greenbrier the best interactive sports experience on the market.”
With this exciting news, there are still several questions needing to be answered. Let’s take a closer look at some of these questions and see if we can provide the answers:
When Will Sports Betting Become Legal in West Virginia?
Technically, West Virginia was the first state to legalize sports betting in 2018. Unfortunately, it took until last week before the state could hammer out a sports betting framework. Additionally, they had to do this under an emergency session in order to meet their desired timeline to start taking bets by September 1st. This is just prior to the beginning of the NFL and NCAAF football seasons, which are the most lucrative time of the year for sports betting.
According to Legal Sports Report, the services outlined in the deal between FanDuel and The GreenBrier will be implemented by the beginning of the fall:
“The Greenbrier plans to have an onsite wagering platform inside The Casino Club at The Greenbrier, America’s only private casino, as well as a FanDuel-branded online site and mobile application. Plans are to have the services running by the fall. The exact date will be contingent on when the state of West Virginia’s regulations are put in place.”
Clearly, The GreenBrier and FanDuel are banking on West Virginia to officially legalize sports betting by then.
What are Some of the Key Sports Betting Details for WV?
I went into more detail on West Virginia’s sports betting bill (S 415) in a previous article, but here are some of the bill’s key details:
- All bettors have to be 21 years or older.
- There will be mobile and online sports betting.
- Sports bets can only be placed on professional and collegiate events.
- West Virginia will charge a 10% tax on sports betting revenue.
- Each of the state’s 5 casinos will have to pay a $100,000 licensing fee to offer sports betting.
As you can see, online and mobile sports betting was made legal and it’s expected to be the cornerstone of sports betting in the state. So, it’s no surprise that FanDuel already jumped at the chance to partner with one of West Virginia’s premier casinos.
What’s Going on with FanDuel and Paddy Power Betfair?
What’s strange about this deal between FanDuel and The GreenBrier, is that the contract was signed with FanDuel and not with Paddy Power Betfair. As it’s been well documented, Paddy Power is in the middle of officially acquiring FanDuel and making it the company’s online betting platform in the United States under the supervision of PPB’s American branch Betfair US. This acquisition is taking longer than some had expected, but many pundits still believe it could be done as early as next month (July).
Furthermore, it was Paddy Power’s U.S. branch (Betfair US) that signed contracts with Tioga Downs (in New York) and Meadowlands Racetrack (in New Jersey) in early June, not FanDuel. So, the fact that FanDuel signed this contract with The GreenBrier led some to question why.
The best answer we can give is that it’s most likely easier for FanDuel to create these U.S. partnerships until the company is fully acquired. Once that happens, this and any other partnership will be rolled into the new business model under the overall supervision of Betfair US.
Is There Still Any Conflict of Interest with Governor Justice?
Less than two months after West Virginia passed their sports betting law, Governor Jim Justice was thinking about modifying the law to include an integrity fee. Apparently, the Governor allowed a few of the pro sports leagues to get in his ear about the topic of integrity fees. According to Casino.org, Governor Justice made the following comments about this matter:
“They wanted a percent, we negotiated to a quarter of a percent and if we can get them to sign on for that and everything and bring them under the umbrella, I think that’s very, very minimal cost to the casinos, and I think it would be a good thing.”
After the Governor made these comments, he was quickly met with staunch opposition from the State Legislature. Pundits also claimed that he had a glaring conflict of interest on this matter considering he owns The Greenbrier. Justice bought the hotel and casino in 2009 and was unable to even vote on the sports betting law due to his ownership. Eventually, Governor Justice dropped this matter.
Conveniently, the Governor’s casino has become the first to sign with an established brand to bring online and mobile betting to The Greenbrier.
How Does this Deal Affect the NFL and the PGA?
Ironically, The Greenbrier hosts a PGA tour event each year and the Houston Texans have been using The Greenbrier for their training camp. Prior to the Texans heading to The Greenbrier, the New Orleans Saints held their training camp here. In short, this deal with FanDuel just irritates the NFL even further as they’re pushing on a federal level for regulations and fees. However, I don’t expect the NFL or the PGA to prevent any of their current events from happening at The Greenbrier in the near future.
Final Thoughts on This New Deal
Despite the merger with Paddy Power Betfair still not finished yet, I expect FanDuel to continue making deals with casinos where possible, whether it’s in West Virginia or in other states that are legalizing sports betting. As for The Greenbrier, they continue to be at the forefront of the gambling and resort markets in the state. With an annual PGA golf event, an NFL training camp, and now the first to sign on for online sports wagering, The Greenbrier and Governor Justice are certainly strengthening their hold on the market.
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