Sports betting has been a real boost to iGaming companies that have already been operating. Rush Street Interactive got into iGaming early on for an American company. Richard Schwartz, the president of the company, explains why the iGaming experience Rush Street has achieved in New Jersey and now Pennsylvania, not to mention its expertise in social gaming, make it an ideal partner for tribal and regional casinos that want to eventually run their own iGaming and sports betting operations. He spoke with GGB Publisher Roger Gros at the Indian Gaming Tradeshow in San Diego in April.
GGB: What does Rush Street Interactive bring to tribal and independent casinos considering sports betting and iGaming?
Schwartz: We’ve invested a lot of effort and time in creating high-quality products for the industry—sports betting, both retail and mobile, social gaming and real-money iGaming. We want to find partners to work with to help them develop their own products in the market and train them to run their own operations.
What’s the background of Rush Street Interactive?
Rush Street Interactive was created more than seven years ago with the goal to be ready when laws were passed to allow iGaming and sports betting. We invested heavily in the development of our own technology and platforms, which is a risky proposition. Many companies that try it fail, but we’ve been able to execute on our vision. Our platforms allow us to be nimble and differentiated from our competition. We’ve focused on the user journey to create that differentiation.
What have you learned about that user experience over the last few years?
Players are very aware of what operators are doing and how you’re treating your players. Our competitors were doing things that weren’t creating a level of trust and transparency that the players want. They’re making a decision to gamble and they want to be treated fairly. When customers play on our site, they know exactly where they stand in terms of loyalty points and what those points mean. They know what our play-through requirements are. We’re trying to create player loyalty through a retention model that includes a great experience and community building.
Rush Street has a physical casino as well—SugarHouse in Philadelphia—tied to New Jersey and now Pennsylvania internet gaming. What have you seen in the crossover to the bricks-and-mortar facility?
It’s very strong. This is often underestimated in our business—the value of online gaming as a way to enhance casino play. We believe the land-based property should be the brand, and you can utilize that brand to drive traffic to both the physical and the online casino.
How has sports betting performed for you?
We surprised a lot of people in the New Jersey market. While the DFS sites have dominated because of their built-in database, we’ve been either third or fourth in the market every month, so we’ve gotten off to a strong start.
We’ve also seen the ability to cross-promote sports bettors with the online casino. It’s been an incremental growth that has been way beyond what we expected in terms of players betting on sports and then playing other products. We’ve integrated our loyalty and bonusing programs with the sports betting site, so we make it easy to jump between the two products.