Greg Carlin, CEO of Rush Street Gaming, discusses rebranding SugarHouse to Rivers Philadelphia and more with Mims at G2E
Greg Carlin is the Co-Founder and CEO of Rush Street Gaming. He also co-founded Rush Street Interactive. Greg has developed casinos in major cities, spoken at several of the top gaming summits and conferences and is on the board of directors for the American Gaming Association. He was gracious and spoke with me prior to his participation in the Executive View Panel at the G2E.
Robert Mims: What are the advantages for professional sports teams to partner with gaming operators?
Greg Carlin: There are advantages to both professional sports teams and gaming operators to partner. For the teams, it’s a potential great new revenue source, but for these partnerships to be successful, the teams must provide value to the gaming operators. Sports fans are very loyal to their favorite teams so for the gaming operators, it’s a great channel to promote and market their businesses.
RM: Rush Street Gaming was well position to enter the online gaming and sports betting market. What was the vision behind the strategic strategy?
GC: Back in 2011 I was introduced to Noel Hayden, the CEO of Gamesys, by a mutual friend. I began to learn about the European online casino and sports betting market, and it was clear to me that the European operators were more sophisticated using data to better manage their businesses. I also thought the US casino business would eventually start to digitize like most other retail businesses. I attended ICE in 2012 to learn about the online space. Coincidentally (and fortunately), Richard Schwartz and I ended up on the same flight back to Chicago. We hatched the business plan for Rush Street Interactive on that plane ride.
RM: What prompted the rebranding effort in Philadelphia to change the name from SugarHouse to Rivers Philadelphia?
GC: Our 3 other properties are all branded Rivers and it just made sense to rebrand SugarHouse to Rivers. There are lots of synergies to having one common brand across our platform. We are in the process of standardizing the brand and creating brand standards which will lead to consistency and cost savings. In addition, with the high tax rates for sports betting and online slot machines, from a marketing standpoint it makes sense to promote one brand instead of two.
RM: Tell the readers what they can expect from the new and permanent sports book at Rivers Philadelphia?
GC: PA residents have the choice between making a sports bet via a mobile device or at a casino. Our goal with all our new permanent sportsbooks is to create a WOW environment to watch live sports. We need to give our customers a reason to get off their couch and come to the casino. In Philadelphia we have a 65 x 9-foot state of the art LED TV with plenty of great seating options. It’s a very social environment and an amazing place to watch your favorite team.
RM: Do you envision expanding Rush Street into other gaming jurisdictions? Would you consider opportunities outside of the United States?
GC: We are operating an online casino and sportsbook in Columbia. Columbia legalized online gaming and sports betting before PASPA was overturned and the regulatory structure and tax rate were favorable, so we decided to launch there to get some experience ahead of the US sports betting market opening. We are very happy with our early results and currently pursuing other South American jurisdictions and Mexico.I first visited Japan about 4 years ago and we are also actively pursuing one of the small IR licenses in Japan.
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In parts of South America: Pinnacle/Asian Odds
In parts of Africa: Pinnacle/Asian Odds
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