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Former Steeler Jerome Bettis launches partnership with FanDuel

15th August, 20:33

Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back and NFL Hall of Fame member Jerome Bettis kicked off a partnership with the sports betting company FanDuel Thursday, celebrating the launch of legal online sports betting in Pennsylvania.

"There was a big push when fantasy football came in. I think sports betting is the next evolutionary phase of that," Bettis told the Tribune-Review at his North Shore restaurant -- Jerome Bettis Grille 36. "It's going to offer a lot more for ultimately the players, because of the revenue it will generate for the teams, which will then work itself down to the players."

Bettis hasn't placed any legal sports bets just yet and said he doesn't plan to share any tips when he does.

Plans for sports betting-related events at the Jerome Bettis Grille 36 are still in the works, Bettis said.

Online sports betting launched in May, about six months after brick-and-mortar sportsbooks started opening at casinos and race tracks around the state in late 2018.

FanDuel became the fourth online sportsbook to go live when it launched in July, complementing the company's brick-and-mortar sportsbook at the Valley Forge Casino Resort outside of Philadelphia.

The company focused on building a user-friendly app that will make it easy for users to withdraw money and personalize the app, said Nik Bonaddio, chief product officer at FanDuel.

"We realize that with betting, not everyone wants to just dive in to the deep end of the pool," Bonaddio said. "So we do have a lot of free-to-play games, we do have a lot of ways for people to check it out and wade into the shallow end of the pool before jumping in."

Bonaddio said he's looking forward to finding ways to further personalize each user's experience and integrating live-streaming of games inside the app.

Sports betting in Pennsylvania has grown steadily since launching in November 2018.

The sportsbooks operating across the state during the 2018-19 fiscal year pulled in about $21.7 million in taxable revenue, according to figures released by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board in July.

Since online sports betting launched in May, Pittsburgh's Rivers Casino also launched a sports betting app,

SugarHouse Casino, Rivers' sister casino in Philadelphia, led the pack in online sports betting revenue for June with $465,096 -- about half of the casino's total sports betting revenue for the month.

Rivers took a loss in online revenue in June, reporting negative $114,395, according to Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board figures.

Sports betting generated $740,455 in tax revenue in June 2019.

July sports betting handle and revenue reports will be available from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board this week.