After having its sports betting operations shut down for nearly a year, Delaware North is getting back into the game. International Game Technology PLC (IGT) announced this week that it will serve as the gaming company’s retail and online sports wagering platform in the US.
That announcement took place on Tuesday, the same day Delaware North’s Southland Casino Racing opened its sportsbook at the West Memphis, Ark., venue – directly across the river from Memphis, Tenn.
IGT is a serious sports betting technology provider with a proven commitment to customer success, excellent global reputation, and a reliable, omni-channel sports betting solution for the US market,” said Brain Hansberry, the gaming division president for Delaware North, in the IGT news release. “We believe the IGT PlaySports solution will help us establish Delaware North as a preferred sports betting provider in West Virginia and Arkansas while enabling us to further reward our Lucky North Club members.”
Delaware North operates casinos in seven states plus Australia. IGT, meanwhile, has partnerships in 11 of the 14 US states where legal sports betting is active.
Not Open in West Virginia Yet
Last March, Wheeling Island Casino-Hotel-Racetrack and Mardi Gras Casino and Resort, Delaware North’s West Virginia properties, saw their sportsbooks shut down just days before the start of the NCAA Tournament. It turned out that Delaware North’s original partner, Miomni, had an issue with one of its vendors – a relationship that it apparently had not disclosed to Delaware North initially – that led to the shutdown.
Delaware North has since taken Miomni to court regarding the issue.
On Tuesday, Randy Burnside, the public relations and drawing manager for the West Virginia Lottery, told Casino.org that testing was taking place. A day later, at a West Virginia Senate Finance Committee hearing, Lottery Director John Myers told lawmakers that he expected testing to wrap up by Wednesday evening, but that the formal announcement of an opening would take place by Delaware North.
That has yet to happen as of Thursday afternoon.
West Virginia Expects Revenue to Miss Projection
Once Wheeling North and Mardi Gras come online, IGT will offer both retail and online sports betting, although it remains to be seen if they will launch simultaneously. Arkansas currently only allows brick-and-mortar sports betting establishments.
The return of sports betting at Delaware North’s casinos will make West Virginia whole again, as all five casinos will be running sportsbooks simultaneously for the first time in nearly 11 months. The Delaware North casinos are located near major population centers in the state.
Wheeling Island is based in Wheeling, in the state’s northern panhandle. The city itself has a population of about 30,000, but its metropolitan area is home to about 150,000 people. Mardi Gras is in Cross Lanes. It’s located between Charleston and Huntington, the state’s two largest cities.
In the state Senate hearing Wednesday, Myers said the lottery was initially projecting revenue of $5.3 million from sports betting in fiscal year 2020. However, he said they now expect that to be approximately $3 million. That’s up from $1.2 million in the 2019 fiscal year.