Andrew Gentile, Little River Casino Resort, and Rob Picard, Rush Street Interactive, discuss their partnership opening both a retail and online sportsbook, and online casino in Manistee, MI.
As the US continues to roll out legalized online casino and sports wagering on a state-by-state basis, Tribal and commercial casino operators alike are quickly learning about the power of collaborative partnerships. A prime example of these partnerships and how they can create a blueprint for success is exemplified in the recent pairing of Rush Street Interactive (“RSI”) and Little River Band of Ottawa Indians via their Little River Casino Resort in Michigan.
When launching online casino and sports wagering in a new jurisdiction, it is of the utmost importance that both the land-based and interactive partner’s values and strategies are aligned. In the case of the RSI and Little River Casino Resort partnership, there was a natural connection in joining two organizations. Both place an intense value on success, sustainability, reputation, and customer service. All while having a deep-rooted understanding of the casino player and how the worlds of land-based casino gaming and iGaming can evolve symbiotically to drive not only online player adoption, but also increased property-level visitation.
The convergence of online and land-based gaming is not necessarily an easy one, but is at the core of RSI’s DNA. Having land-based operator origins – and organically building a stand-alone interactive business alongside and to support those operations – we understand what drives casino operators, land-based players and how to best help our partners deliver the most value from player crossover opportunities.
While core gaming operations are often the focus of any new state rollout, far more happens behind the scenes in the lead-up to launch. RSI works alongside our Tribal partners to create a seamless process from legalization to successful launch to ongoing operations. This is inclusive of, but not limited to, working through both Tribal and state licensing and approvals, regulatory navigation and operational intricacies, all the way to supporting the technology and helping to effectively cross-leverage databases and giving online players reasons to visit land-based casinos.
What else is new?
RSI has also partnered with Little River Casino Resort to bring our sportsbook product & services on-property in Manistee, MI. While it is still in the early stages, the opening of an on-property sportsbook has been shown in normalized times to drive property-level gross gaming revenue upside in excess of 10%, table win upside of 12%, and food & beverage up 20%. RSI’s approach is to provide all products, services, and support needed for our partners to successfully operate retail sportsbooks themselves.
So how is it working out?
The numbers don’t lie. With the retail sportsbook at Little River Casino Resort now open, and both online sportsbook and online casino launched, Michigan is proving a wonderful case study in the power of partnerships with strong market share results right out of the gates.
While competition is stiff and the promotional environment aggressive on the sports betting side, the online casino – an area of specialization for RSI – has seen significant strength since launch. We are looking forward to consistently adding to our product offering to attract and retain high-quality loyal players to both the co-branded BetRivers.com site and Little River Casino Resort. Since our online service is high quality, the co-branding reflects well for our land-based partner and encourages new online players to visit the property.
Next to launch will be our live dealer offering and football season is right around the corner! We remain extremely encouraged by our early success in Michigan alongside our great partner, Little River Casino Resort, and are excited for the future of interactive gaming in Michigan.
Watch the Tribal Gaming & Hospitality interview with Andrew Gentile, Little River Casino Resort and Rob Picard, Rush Street Interactive, on the power of collaborative partnerships when launching online casinos and sports wagering.