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Penn National Gaming pursuing deals with sports leagues

Updated August 4, 2018 - 4:55 pm

Penn National Gaming, the largest U.S. regional gaming company by states, said it is pursuing deals with sports leagues as it begins to expand wagering in more states.

The casino operator has been holding discussions with the NBA, MLB, NHL and PGA Tour, said Eric Schippers, senior vice president for public affairs for Penn.

Schippers said the talks focus on access to data feeds and advertisement rights, among other things. The NFL hasn’t been as receptive to the idea, he said.

MGM Resorts signed a deal Monday with the NBA, becoming the first gaming company to reach an agreement with a sports league on wagering.

According to the deal terms, MGM will receive access to the NBA data feed, and each will have the right to advertise on the other’s platforms. MGM did not state how much it is paying the NBA for the feed.

Leagues like the NBA had opposed the legalization of sports betting and asked states considering it to impose a tax on wagering that would be paid to the leagues.

Schippers said Penn “applauded” the agreement reached by MGM and the NBA. The relationship between gaming companies and leagues should not be mandated by the state, he said.

However, Penn will not rush to sign an agreement with a league unless it is “good for our shareholders,” Schippers said.

Penn will launch sports betting in Mississippi and West Virginia before the start of football season, Schippers said. Pennsylvania could follow next.

Penn is considered the biggest beneficiary of the Supreme Court decision in May to overturn a law banning sports betting in most U.S. states.

The company currently has casino operations in 15 states. That figure will grow to 18 when it acquires Pinnacle Entertainment early next quarter.

Penn is seeking a partner to manager its sports book operations and will make a decision this month, Schippers said.

Contact Todd Prince at 702-383-0386 or tprince@reviewjournal.com. Follow @toddprincetv on Twitter.

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