American regional casino operator, Penn National Gaming Incorporated, has reportedly announced that it would like to pursue a sportsbook for Detroit’s Greektown Casino Hotel should its plan to purchase the downtown venue be approved by the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

Michigan’s first sportsbook:

According to a Wednesday report from The Detroit News newspaper, the Pennsylvania firm has agreed a deal that is to see it buy the 400-room property in partnership with the Vici Properties Incorporated real estate investment trust (REIT) spun off from Caesars Entertainment Corporation last year. The $1 billion transaction with current owner Jack Entertainment is expected to be finalized by the end of next year after which the operator purportedly wants to begin lobbying for the right to open Michigan’s first casino-based sportsbetting service.

Operator keen to ‘join the team’:

Eric Schippers, Public Affairs and Government Relations Senior Vice-President for Wyomissing-headquartered Penn National Gaming incorporated, reportedly told the newspaper that his firm is to pay $300 million for the right to operate the 30-story Greektown Casino Hotel and would like to complement the Detroit venue’s current casino with a sportsbook.

Schippers reportedly told The Detroit News…

“We would love the opportunity to offer sportsbetting there. That is something we are going to be exploring legislatively. MGM Grand Detroit has been working hard to bring about sportsbetting in Michigan. We want to join the team and take action on it.”

PASPA payoff:

The newspaper reported that the United States Supreme Court’s invalidation in May of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) has so far led to the states of New Mexico, Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey and West Virginia joining Nevada in permitting casinos to offer sportsbetting. With Pennsylvania and Rhode Island soon to join the party, Penn National Gaming Incorporated purportedly wants legislators in Michigan to follow suit by legalizing the activity.

Legislative lethargy:

The Detroit News reported that June saw the Michigan House of Representatives pass legislation that would allow the three casinos in Detroit to offer online gambling services as soon as next summer. However, the HB-4926 measure would only cover games such as roulette, poker and blackjack while requiring the Michigan Gaming Control Board to legalize sportsbetting before venues could begin taking Internet wagers.

Existing experience:

The Detroit News reported that Penn National Gaming Incorporated is responsible for some 40 properties across the United States including Ohio’s Hollywood Casino Toledo and Hollywood Casino Columbus. It detailed that the operator already offers sports wagering services at its venues in Nevada, West Virginia and Mississippi and is expected to open a new sportsbook at its Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in eastern Pennsylvania as soon as next week.