Will Pennsylvania Sports Betting Be Mobile Heavy Like New Jersey?
An estimated 25 percent of New Jersey handle comes from New York residents. It can be assumed that most of that 25 percent comes from residents of New York City. NYC residents aren’t going to travel over to Pennsylvania to bet when they can continue to do so at New Jersey, which is closer to the city. However, Pennsylvania can expect to see residents from southern New York, eastern Ohio, Maryland, northern Virginia and West Virginia (until they get mobile operational again). Those out of state bettors will travel across Pennsylvania state lines to place their bets. That will help increase the percentage of mobile bets in the state.
Kiosk Betting: A Pennsylvania Preferred Method
Before mobile sports betting launched in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, May 28, bettors in Pennsylvania were using the next best method. Betting at kiosks as opposed to at the cashier cage. Most casino properties in the state feature betting kiosks, so bettors can place their bet from multiple places throughout the casino property, instead of having to make their way to the sportsbook. These kiosks give gamblers the opportunity to stay near the slot or table game they are playing while placing their bets. That way they don’t have to leave the area they were gambling in to travel to the sportsbook and wait in line to place a bet.
Kambi Technology has said that nearly 75 percent of wagers at their locations are placed on a kiosk (According to playpennsylvania.com). It’s safe to assume that if only 25 percent of bets are being made at face-to-face interactions at the cashier cage without mobile betting, the inclusion of mobile betting will make that percentage even smaller. Assuming that Pennsylvania is anything like New Jersey, we can expect 80 percent of bets to come via mobile platforms. That number will more than likely be higher, considering the location of the state’s physical sportsbooks.
If 75 percent of bets are coming from kiosks for bettors that are located in the casinos where the PA sportsbooks are, that number will skyrocket once the state residents who are hours from casinos start placing bets. Some central and northern PA residents are three or more hours away from a casino. It is obvious those residents will resort to mobile betting, raising the state’s percentage of mobile bets.
Another reason the kiosks have been popular in Pennsylvania is the 24/7 access. The retail sportsbooks have posted hours, the kiosks are available around the clock. During off hours, bettors can use their winning tickets in the kiosks to fund another bet. For example, a late night NBA game on the west coast may not start their second half until after midnight. The sportsbook could be closed, but the kiosks are available for bettors to place their second-half bets.
Will Mobile Eliminate Face-To-Face Betting?
Now that mobile has launched more and more bets will continue to come via that platform, especially as more online sportsbooks continue to launch. The younger bettors who grew up in the technology era will certainly prefer mobile betting. Older generations, like those who frequent casinos more, will more than likely continue to use kiosks and even face-to-face betting at sportsbooks. Some people prefer the human interaction of cashier cages. It may be a small percentage, but it will keep the physical sportsbooks running, for now.
Max Bichsel, Kambi’s US Director, believes the same thing:
“I think there’s a bunch of different types of consumers and there are some that really prefer the kiosks. There are also people that really prefer the interaction of dealing with a cashier or ticket writer because that’s what they’re used to and that’s what they prefer. That’s why they go to the properties to engage with those people. And then there’s the other side of the coin where people want to do it from the comfort of their homes and at their leisure.”