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After a month of operating in the regulated West Virginia market, BetRivers is off to a decent start. Its revenue is already roughly a quarter of that of its competitors, DraftKings and BetMGM.
Wagers Revenue Margin
Week 1 $1,135,508 $46,087 4.1%
Week 2 $1,505,298 $87,766 7.0%
Week 3 $1,719,150 $121,031 5.8%
Week 4 $1,592,238 $73,541 4.6%
Over the same period, DraftKings Casino averaged weekly wagers of $16,597,084 and $346,671 in revenue. BetMGM’s numbers were $13,824,483 in wagers and $439,210 in revenue. Both are somewhat higher than BetRivers’ four-week total. Based on those figures, the holds for DraftKings and BetMGM were 2.1% and 3.2% respectively, after promotions.
BetRivers is only doing about 10% of the handle of its two competitors. On the other hand, its margins are substantially better, perhaps due in part to a smaller signup bonus. Given the head start enjoyed by those competitors — DraftKings launched on Jul. 15, 2020 — BetRivers is doing reasonably well.
Comparing the BetRivers figures to DraftKings when it launched gives an idea of just how valuable first mover advantage can be.
The first four weeks after DraftKings launched its West Virginia online casino, it booked average weekly wagers of $9.3 million with average weekly revenue of $206,159.
When BetMGM Casino launched six weeks later, its first two weeks of handle were similar to BetRivers’ early numbers: $1.8 million and $1.6 million. BetMGM grew quickly from there, however. Over the next two weeks, it pulled in $5.4 million and $4.1 million. This leaves it an open question why BetRivers hasn’t seen a similar acceleration yet.
At this stage it’s hard to tell. Less than a full year has elapsed since West Virginia got its first online casino.
There is still plenty of growth left in the market, so BetRivers will have the benefit of the trend. After a short period of bedding in, its revenue trajectory could well start to catch up with its peers.
BetRivers is partnered with the Mountaineer Casino. Rush Street Interactive owns BetRivers and is partnered with Mountaineer’s owner Century Casinos. Mountaineer is only an hour’s drive from Pittsburgh, so it draws on Pennsylvania traffic for its retail operations.
Of course the Pennsylvania online casino market is already well established. Meanwhile, online revenues for Mountaineer must come from within West Virginia. Could this mean that there’s less cross-over traffic from the retail casino to online?
The flip side of this is that BetRivers has a strong position in the PA market. Pennsylvania punters visiting the Mountaineer may well head home and sign-up online with BetRivers PA. In other words, some of the benefits of the West Virginia launch may be hidden, if they translate into increased traffic across the border instead.
BetMGM and DraftKings are also in the Pennsylvania market, both partnered with the Hollywood Casino owned by Penn National. The DraftKings partnership extends to West Virginia as well, through The Hollywood Casino in Charlestown, while BetMGM is partnered with The Greenbrier instead. This minor irony highlights the patchwork nature of this industry, a result of state-by-state regulation.
BetMGM has certainly made a valiant attempt to displace DraftKings as market leader. Three weeks ago its handle drew almost within $100,000 of DraftKings. That’s pretty close, given that DK has averaged about $5 million more in wagers per week since BetMGM launched.
Ten weeks earlier, BetMGM made its previous closest approach, getting within $605,000 of DraftKings. Thus, it seems that each push is bringing it closer to the number one spot, and the next one might do the trick.
This only applies to online casino. In WV online sports betting, DraftKings is the standout number one. Through its partnership with Penn National, it has taken in over $100 million in bets in West Virginia in 2021.
BetMGM and The Greenbriar trail far behind with just $6.8 million in handle this year. For sports, Mountaineer has another partner, William Hill, and it’s this partnership which holds the No. 2 spot. They have written $27.4 million in tickets for 2021.