First Las Vegas location for Betfred Sports serves as a showroom, but not for long By Howard Stutz, Executive Editor, CDC Gaming Reports April 3, 2021 at 5:00 am Think of the Betfred sportsbook inside the newly opened Mohegan Sun Casino Las Vegas as a model home. Betfred Sports, the U.S. subsidiary of United Kingdom-based Betfred Group, is awaiting licensing from Nevada gaming regulators. Until then, the 1,250-square-foot space provides the company’s Head of USA Development Stephen Crystal a boutique showroom inside Mohegan’s 60,000-square-foot casino that gives potential clients an idea of what they can expect. “The location shows what we offer for a retail setting inside a casino,” Crystal said. “And everyone wants to come to Las Vegas.” Betfred Sportsbook inside Mohegan Sun Casino Las Vegas/Courtesy photo It’s unclear how long the Nevada licensing process will take, given COVID-19 slowdowns that have challenged state gaming regulators. Betfred Sports is patient. Betfred USA was created in 2019, a year after legalized sports betting began its spread across the country. As of this week, 22 states (including Washington, D.C.) are operating legal sports betting. Four more states are expected to launch this year. Meanwhile, Crystal said the company leaders aren’t concerned Betfred is in the “second wave” of the U.S. expansion. Betfred has mobile and retail operations in Colorado, Iowa, and Pennsylvania, along with the pending Mohegan Las Vegas sportsbook. The company has deals in place with tribal casinos in Washington and Louisiana, two states that are expected to approve sports betting in 2021. Crystal said that in 12 months, Betfred could be operational in more than 10 states. The company is focused on both mobile and retail. The expansion of sports betting has led to a growing roster of operators. The market is dominated by companies whose roots are in daily fantasy sports (DraftKings and FanDuel), casino operations (BetMGM, WynnBet, soon-to-launch Bally’s), traditional sports betting companies (William Hill US, which will soon be owned by Caesars Entertainment), and media partnerships (Penn National Gaming with Barstool Sports). Betfred is building its presence in the U.S. slowly and isn’t fazed by the pace of expansion. In Britain, where there are some 300 sports betting operators, Betfred has 20% of the market from its 1,500 retail locations and mobile business. Betfred also has online and mobile wagering operations in Spain. Many U.S. states are allowing casinos to offer multiple online sports betting licenses – skins – to multiple operators. “Being privately owned, we can do things in a much quicker fashion,” Crystal said. “Everywhere I go, I’m competing with something like three dozen companies. We like our strategy.” Crystal spent the past week visiting tribal casino operators in California and Arizona that he considers potential sports betting clients. Betfred’s growth model in the U.S. focuses on tribal casinos, although its initial sports betting partners at Grand Falls Casino and Golf in Iowa and Saratoga Casino in Colorado are commercial properties. Wind Creek Bethlehem in Pennsylvania is operated by Alabama’s Poarch Band of Creek Indians, but under a commercial license in the state. The deal with the tribe gives Betfred first crack in Alabama if the state legalizes sports betting. Although he is spending time in California, Crystal believes it might not be until 2023 before the state legalizes sports betting at its tribal casinos. He is also spending time in Oklahoma, another large tribal gaming state, where possible sports betting legalization is on a slow pace. “We started in the second wave, but we’re focused,” Crystal said. The company’s U.S. headquarters in Las Vegas has 65 employees for sports trading, customer service, compliance, sales, and marketing. The roster could grow to 100 by the end of the year. The first Las Vegas casino location for Betfred is the next page in the company’s U.S. chapter. The Mohegan Sun Casino Las Vegas operates inside the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, a property just east of the Las Vegas Strip. The sportsbook will include luxury seating, a video wall, over-the-counter wagering, and self-serve kiosks. The mobile product is expected to launch at the same time as the retail operation. “Betfred wanted to enter the marketplace and we gave them a showcase location,” said Mohegan Sun Las Vegas General Manager Joe Hasson. “We will illuminate the book and show all the games. In the meantime, we’ll have staff on hand to answer questions and Betfred will be able to showcase the brand.” Just like a model home. Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.