Casino company Wynn Resorts (WYNN 1.33%) is expanding the availability of its WynnBET online sports betting app to seven states from the current two, according to a press release yesterday, and is negotiating for access to more. At least some of the entries into new state markets come from partnerships, with WynnBET's rollout in Iowa resulting from an alliance with in-state company Elite Casino Resorts.
Wynn's efforts to enter the digital sports betting arena represent an effort to adapt to changing gambling conditions in the U.S. accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns. With casinos entirely closed for months on end, people turned rapidly to online alternatives, driving a banner year for the internet sportsbook industry and its major players, such as Penn National Gaming (PENN -2.57%) and DraftKings (DKNG -3.31%).
While COVID-19 vaccinations may help casinos avoid similarly long-lasting restrictions in 2021, online sports betting appears to be here to stay, particularly in view of its longtime popularity in the rest of the world, long before the pandemic occurred.
Wynn expects the launch of its sports betting to occur soon in Michigan, joining the two states where it is already operating, Colorado and New Jersey. The deals it announced yesterday will also enable offering its digital sportsbook in Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, and Nevada. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal's reporting, Iowa legalized this form of wagering in 2019. However, online betting in the state was hampered by a legal requirement for in-person registration. This restriction expired on Jan. 1, 2021, and the Hawkeye state is predicted to see a $4 billion online betting handle by 2024, MarketWatch reports.