The addition of online sports gambling for Pennsylvania customers comes at a time the Alabama-based hospitality company is looking to make up lost revenue as it remains closed through Jan. 4 per Gov. Tom Wolf’s coronavirus mitigation order.
On Dec. 10, Wolf announced a three-week halt to indoor drinking and dining, closed gyms, entertainment venues and shut the state’s casinos. Wind Creek committed to paying its staff through the shutdown, although it laid off about 20% of its workers amid declining revenues.
“Launching the online sportsbook provides a dynamic element to our online gaming experience that enables our guests to engage with us and play from anywhere they like while in Pa. without requiring any traveling,” said Ken Rohman, chief marketing officer of Wind Creek Hospitality. “We are proud to add online sports betting to the Wind Creek Casino online portfolio, and close out 2020 with yet another offering for our valued guests.”
Wind Creek and Betfred USA on Nov. 18 opened Pennsylvania’s newest sportsbook in a renovated space inside the Bethlehem casino that was formerly Buddy V’s Ristorante. The partnership was first announced last January before the coronavirus pandemic arrived in the United States.
Las Vegas-based Betfred USA Sports is a subsidiary of Betfred Group, a bookmaker based in Warrington, United Kingdom.
The endeavor is a first for Wind Creek in the United States and the third for Betfred Sports, in addition to its sportsbooks at Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort in Larchwood, Iowa, and Saratoga Casino in Black Hawk, Colorado.
Wind Creek continues to look to rebound from the effects of the pandemic.
Pennsylvania casino revenue was down 3% year-over-year in November with $284.3 million in total revenue from all forms of gaming. Large losses in slots and table games revenue has been offset by massive increases in e-gaming and online sports betting, which the state legalized at the end of 2017, although actual rollout has been slow.
Sports wagering revenue totaled $37.3 million statewide in November, up from just $14.7 million last year at the same time.
Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin saw the biggest drop — 46% — in its year-over-year revenue.
Wind Creek brought in $27.6 million in total revenue, a drop of 31% or $12.5 million, from last November. Its slot machine revenue was down 22% year-over-year and table games were down 43%.
Wind Creek Hospitality, affiliated with the Alabama-based Poarch Band of Creek Indians, bought the Bethlehem casino from Las Vegas Sands Corp. in June 2019 for $1.4 billion and celebrated its grand opening Oct. 10, 2019.
The company manages the tribe’s gaming facilities including, in Alabama, Wind Creek Atmore, Wind Creek Wetumpka and Wind Creek Montgomery; Wind Creek Bethlehem; Wa She Shu Casino in Nevada; Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino; Renaissance Curacao Resort & Casino; WindCreekCasino.com; and racetracks in Alabama and Florida.
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Sara K. Satullo may be reached at [email protected].