Weekly News – 07/14/2021


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July 14th, 2021 Weekly Report

This week’s report on sports betting covers Penn National’s planned opening of a new mini casino and retail sportsbook in York, Pennsylvania. The clock is still ticking for legal sports betting in four states while Washington moves one big step closer to launch. In other news, DraftKings and Major League Baseball expanded their partnership.

If you want to find out more on some major topics not covered in this article you can check out the rest of VegasInsider with our exclusive BetMGM bonus codeUnibet promo code or DraftKings promo code for example!



Part of Pennsylvania’s 2017 Gaming Expansion Act created a new category of land-based casinos across the Keystone State. These Category 4 casinos were also referred to as mini-casinos because of their smaller size. The main idea was to bring casino gambling to smaller cities in the state outside of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. While the concept took some time to catch on with the major gaming companies in PA, mini casinos are starting to pop up here and there.

The most expensive mini casino to date is set to open its doors to the betting public on Aug. 12. Owned and operated by Penn National Gaming, Hollywood Casino York is busy making the final preparations for the grand opening. Located in the former Sears department store at the York Galleria Mall, the total cost of this project was more than $120 million. This figure does not count the $50.1 million bid for the actual license. Penn National is one of the biggest casino operators in the Keystone State with the Hollywood brand represented in both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The mini venue in York will cover more than 80,000 square feet of gaming space.

This casino will also have the distinction of housing the first retail Barstool Sportsbook in the state. As part of Penn National’s equity stake in Barstool Sports, the company has expanded into the legal US sports betting industry. Hollywood Casino York will offer 500 slot machines and 24 table games on its casino floor. There will be a casual restaurant and bar as part of the sportsbook to add to its amenities.

Ruben Warren is the vice president and general manager of Hollywood Casino York. He had this to say in a recent company statement:

“The countdown to our grand opening begins today. We’re excited to soon welcome patrons to this beautiful new property, where they’ll be able to experience premier gaming, dining and entertainment.”

York was a logical location for a Penn National mini casino. Located midway across the southern portion of Pennsylvania, it also caters to northern Maryland. This location is also a main thoroughfare to the Hollywood Casino located at Penn National Race Course in Grantville. The company did not want a competitive casino building in the York area that would cannibalize business from the track.

Penn National is also building a mini casino in Berks County in the eastern part of the state. The company’s corporate headquarters is located in this general area.


By the end of this year, there could be more than 30 states plus the District of Columbia offering legal sports betting in some form. However, the following four states are still stuck in the legislative process.


At the top of the list is Texas as potentially one of the biggest legal sports betting markets in the US. Legalizing sports betting this year was a longshot at best given the current opposition.

However, outside influence from The Sands as a gaming giant helped further the cause. There was also support from in-state professional sports teams such as the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys and the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks.

Despite the new push, casino gambling and/or legal sports betting never gained the necessary support from enough state lawmakers. At best, the issue will be revisited in 2023.


The expansion of any form of gambling in Kentucky has been met with strong opposition in recent years. There have been several legislative attempts to legalize sports betting but none have succeeded so far. One major obstacle standing in the way is a short 30-day legislative session. Rep. Adam Koenig did introduce legal sports betting legislation in 2021 that also had the support of Gov. Andy Beshear. However, the effort ran out of time before it could be passed.

The fact that Kentucky is surrounded by states offering legal sports betting could be a contributing factor in any future efforts for legalization.


Sen. Denny Hoskins spearheaded an effort to pass legislation legalizing sports betting in Missouri this year. Yet, it failed to garner the necessary support throughout the state Senate.

A polarizing issue with his bill was the inclusion of legal video lottery terminals. That drew strong opposition from the state’s existing casino industry. The ensuing debate among state lawmakers over this issue stalled any attempts to move legal sports betting forward.


Legislation in Alabama revolved around a major expansion of gambling in the state. Along with legal sports betting, there would have been six new casinos as well as a state lottery. While Gov. Kay Ivey came out in favor of the measure, it failed to pass in the House.

A dividing issue among political parties was the use of gambling proceeds to help expand Medicaid in the state. The bright side is that there was enough support to revisit the issue in 2022. With some compromise here and there, it could pass the next time around.


Legal sports betting in the state of Washington made a major move forward earlier this month. Gov. Jay Inslee has formally approved new compact agreements with 16 different Native American Tribes that are federally recognized.

Overall, there are 22 tribes in the state operating 29 tribal casinos. More than half have expressed an interest in adding legal sportsbooks to their gaming operations. The next step in the process is federal approval by the Department of the Interior. Depending on the timeline for approval, this could give the state a reasonable chance to launch legal sports betting to coincide with the new football season in early September.

On March 25 of this year, the governor signed ESHO 2638 into law. This piece of legislation authorized legal sports betting at tribal casinos. It was previously passed by both the House and Senate with strong support.

Under the provisions of the new law, US sportsbooks such as FanDuel and DraftKings will be able to form partnerships with individual tribes to enter the Washington market. The industry will be regulated by the Washington State Gambling Commission.


To help celebrate the second half of the MLB season, DraftKings announced some brand new baseball betting options.

Topping the list of enhancements is live in-game betting. The DraftKings’ sports betting platform will now offer the “Bet & Watch” category. This gives MLB bettors the opportunity to bet on the games after the first pitch all the way until the final out. Live in-game betting is proven to be the best way to add even more excitement to all the action on the field. The betting odds are continually updated based on what has already taken place. Bettors will have a host of options tied to every daily MLB game.

Another enhancement covers Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) and MLB games. DraftKings is the official DFS sportsbook for Major League Baseball. This partnership dates all the way back to 2012.

Written by Dave Schwab, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert. You can learn more about our author's expertise here.