British iGaming Giant bet365 Expanding US Operations

British online sportsbook and casino gaming operator bet365 is looking to further its reach in the United States by opening up shop in Pennsylvania, reports suggest. The Bet365 Group is an established name in the UK betting market and has already started to make inroads on this side of the pond and will look to fill a future gap that will open in the Keystone State.

By Penny - January 13, 2023

The news comes in the wake of an announcement by Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) following its February 2021 plan to step away from the online sportsbook and casino gaming vertical. They aim to focus squarely on horse racing betting going forwards. This has opened the door for bet365 to agree to enter a deal with the CDI subsidiary Presque Isle Downs & Casino to take over their online sportsbook and casino operations.

 

Adding to a Burgeoning North American Portfolio

While the bet365 brand might not be the most recognisable to players in the States, the British company does already have a presence in a number of territories across the nation. Currently, there are three states where it is possible to use the site; New Jersey, Colorado, and Ohio. The latter is the latest to become operational – January 1, 2023, saw the brand open its doors to players in the state and they have since agreed to a partnership with the Cleveland Guardians, becoming the franchise’s official gaming partner and cementing their spot in the local area.

The company will be looking to follow in the footsteps of other big names that have successfully made the move across the Atlantic from the Old World. Maltese company Betway is one of the most popular players in European iGaming and has left an indelible mark on the industry here, too. The operator currently provides its sportsbook in eight states, while its online casino is accessible in two states. As such, the Staffordshire-based bet365 will see a potentially lucrative pipeline in their success.

 

The Story Behind bet365

While the company may currently just be dipping its toe in the water when it comes to operating in the US market, it’s got a long and storied history as far as online casinos go. In fact, it was one of the early adopters in the UK, founded by the Staffordshire-based Coates family all the way back in 2000. The patriarch, Peter,  had previously run brick-and-mortar betting shops throughout Great Britain for nearly thirty years, from 1974, and this online venture eventually replaced all their physical outlets.

Since that point, the business went from strength to strength and extended its offerings to countries across Europe, as well as branching out into international markets even further afield, such as Australia and, eventually, the US. Their early success helped pave the way for global brand recognition by allowing the Coates family to invest in their local soccer team Stoke City in 2012 and use the team’s jersey to advertise the brand by placing bet365 as the main shirt sponsor. At a time when the side was playing in England’s top league, this exposure would have proven invaluable and surely played its part in helping facilitate the jump from the UK to the US.

 

What Does This Mean for the US iGaming Market?

The EGR may have recently published a report in which they discussed YOLO Group’s director of gaming Joe McCallum’s predictions that the industry will see a slowing of its recent impressive growth; however, the numbers are still extremely promising, especially with news like this potential expansion on the horizon. And it’s likely to get better as the tightening of restrictions on gambling in territories like the UK makes the States an even more attractive proposition for European businesses.

The iGaming market for the year 2022 up to December was in red hot form. Revenue was recorded at over $4 billion, which proved to be a more than 30% increase on the corresponding period of 2021. This shows just why the Coates family is looking to expand their operations Stateside, especially if the aforementioned restrictive legislation interferes with operation at home. And as more and more US investors look to purchase stakes in online sportsbook and casino groups in the UK, this might prove to be the perfect opportunity for all parties.

2023 looks to be a bumper year for the industry and there’s no more proof of that than the expansion of successful brands into emerging markets. Whether or not these operators stick around for the long haul is yet to be seen, but there’s reason to be optimistic, nonetheless.