Q&A With PayNearMe’s Michael Kaplan On Arizona Sports Betting
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Sports bettors in Arizona have a new way to deposit or withdraw money using their sports betting apps in the state.
That’s because gaming processing company PayNearMe was approved to launch in Arizona by the state’s Department of Gaming Tuesday. The company brings its cash and electronic payment deposits system to Arizona sports betting.
The company plans on partnering out of the gate with Penn National Gaming/Barstool Sports and two other sports betting partners.
On Sept. 9, sports betting launched in Arizona just in time for the start of NFL betting season. The market was off to a strong start the first NFL weekend and Arizona sportsbooks likely continued that momentum in Week 2 as the Arizona Cardinals moved to 2-0.
Bookies.com talked with Michael Kaplan, chief revenue officer and general manager at PayNearMe, about the company’s rollout in Arizona and to see how the company can help bolster the market in the state going forward.
Below is a transcript of that conversation, edited for length and clarity.
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Bookies.com (BDC): What are your opinions of the sports betting & iGaming market in Arizona?
Michael Kaplan (MK): We're excited about it, and I’m excited about the Arizona market. A lot of the operators we work with are very assertive and have been aggressively pursuing and getting ready for the Arizona launch and that excites us.
We support most of the operators in the iGaming and sports betting market. So, when we see them leaning into a state, it excites us, and they've definitely been learning in Arizona.
The last date that got this much attention was Michigan, earlier this year and so I think there's, hopefully, a fair number of parallels between Arizona and Michigan, because Michigan has been very successful. I mean, Arizona’s just starting, but we're very excited about the opportunity.
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BDC: How does the market in Arizona compare to other states?
MK: I think for a regulatory process, it was a little bit more stringent than what we've seen in some of the other markets. And so, we had to do a little bit more upfront work - from getting the necessary licenses and things like that.
But that's all well and good, now that we're sort of past it, volume-wise, it's only a week or so old. We're just starting to see some reasonable volumes during this first weekend. And we expect that to just continue to grow.
BDC: What type of opportunity do you see for PayNearMe in Arizona?
MK: We’re very excited. We’re in the payment space, so we sort of draw a lot of parallels between what Arizona and Michigan have done, and that's been a successful state and we do very well in the Michigan market, and expect to do similar in Arizona.
We have multiple products that we're bringing to market. Right now, the one that’s live [in Arizona] is our cash at retail products.
So that's the ability to get cash in 7-Eleven; in the CVS; Family Dollar, and several retail locations.
So, we’re excited about that, and then we're going to be adding some additional items these next couple weeks, we'll be announcing additional functionality that we hope to get live in the state as well.
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BDC: Why did PayNearMe decide to launch in AZ with Barstool Sportsbook in particular?
MK: We pretty much have partnerships with almost every operator in the market. The only operator we don't work with today currently is DraftKings.
And over time, generally what happens with these guys is that some launch on day one and then some are sort of laggards and sort of come into the market at different times.
We try to be there on day one with our operators and for the most part we've been successful in doing that in Arizona.
And as more of them go live, we’ll be there at launch for them, and we’re at five operators right now.
We'll have another one go live in the next week. But overall, Barstool Sportsbook has been a great partner. We are super excited about working with them.
I think they've got a great product - they've got a great name in the market - and we're happy to announce with them specifically in Arizona.
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BDC: What excites PayNearMe most about entering the market in Arizona now, in particular?
MK: The most important thing - as it relates to payments - is getting people early. And so, what we have found traditionally is that people habituated - in terms of the way that they want to make their payments - and so, when you first register and go onto a site and you're choosing how you make that first deposit. That tends to be how you make your second, your third, and your 300th deposit, right?
So, being early in the market with a payment type like ours, and sort of making it available to people, it's a great option. It's super reliable, it's very convenient. It sort of aligns with the way that people are used to doing their gaming anyway.
It's all cash based, it's a great budgeting tool. And so, all those things are important. But having it there on day one gets people aware of it.
They see the option and oftentimes they'll choose that option that sort of become the option that they use going forward.
So, it's important to us to be there on day one, because we want to get people to utilize [PayNearMe] first, instead of having to get them to move over, so that's important to us.
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BDC: Is there anything else that you’d like to add about PayNearMe’s launch in Arizona?
MK: We're just excited to be among the first to bring the Barstool Sports app into the Arizona market.
We can't wait to see where we go from here. We’re in the process of working with several states who are getting their cycles to go live right now.
So, we expect to see more coming soon, but for Arizona, I’m excited to see them follow the success that Michigan has had.