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Unibet New Jersey is just getting started when it comes to the sports betting market in the United States. On Sunday, November 17, the company celebrated the two-month anniversary of the launch of its NJ sportsbook at Hard Rock Casino in Atlantic City.
The Kindred Group and Unibet also recently launched their Pennsylvania online casino, and the Unibet NJ online casino launched months before the sportsbook in the Garden State. The Pennsylvania online casino has 140 games available and the New Jersey online casino has 290 games.
Unibet, which is based out of Europe, is looking to follow a familiar formula by using the emerging New Jersey gambling scene as a way into the wider American betting industry. The head of US marketing at Kindred Group, Arnas Janickas, recently said in a meeting with online gaming operators in New Jersey that the state was an “obvious entry” into the US gaming market.
Unibet is one of 17 mobile sports betting operators in New Jersey. The company as done well since its launch in the Garden State, but it is not expecting to surpass the like of DraftKings, William Hill, and FanDuel any time soon. The NJ betting apps for those sportsbooks have been around longer, while Unibet already has several established interests in the US that require the firm’s attention.
Unibet has been in the game for a long time and has had online gambling products in Europe and Australia for over 20 years.
Janickas stated, “It’s a very competitive market, but we have been around for a while. We can fight those battles.”
He said he was impressed with the FanDuel product and how it has succeeded so far in the growing US gambling market.
It will take time for Unibet to make a big foothold in the United States. October was the first month that the company was figured into the monthly numbers for gambling revenue in New Jersey.
The Unibet team does not expect the company to take over the industry right away. According to Janickas, the focus is to build the brand through solid game offerings, proposition bets and hard work.
“It’s ensuring that first experience is positive and the user is interested in turning that into more consistent business,” he said.
“Part of what we bring from Europe is understanding that it’s not one transaction that you are concerned about. It’s not that first deposit that you are looking for. You are looking to build a relationship, and we have to manage that relationship.”
One way to attract customers is to partner up with professional sports leagues and their franchise teams. Unibet signed an agreement with the New Jersey Devils of the NHL in September and recently became the first online casino operator to pen a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL.
According to the rules of the NFL, the Philly deal comes with certain gambling-related restrictions, but players can use a shared wallet to access New Jersey sports betting odds. With Unibet now running through Pennsylvania, the deal with the Eagles could help both PA and NJ. Unibet has a separate mobile betting app for each state.
More leagues and teams are partnering up with online gaming operators, but Janickas believes those deals do not define the gaming industry.
“For us, being close to the fans is important, and sports teams provide that,” he said.
“We don’t see [sponsorships] as a crucial part. It helps build that initial trust, I think, especially for a brand like Unibet entering the market.”
Unibet has been looking closely into betting trends in the USA since the firm launched its online casino in New Jersey this summer. Janickas stated that players are wagering on a variety of different products such as table games, slots, or sports bets.
Unibet’s short-term plan is to build up a number of partnerships to lay the groundwork for long-term success in the broader US gambling industry. Janickas stated that Kindred has had “conversations with every state” and to continue to move forward and grow “depends on many factors”.
“The next step is continue growing the brand,” he said.
“With us entering the US market, we truly became a global brand with Europe and Australia. And now we want to continue building it.”