Gaming Company Earnings Shed Light on Future Sportsbook Plans
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Several top U.S. sportsbook operators announced plans this week that will help shape the next wave of legal sports betting markets. Here are some highlights from these companies’ second-quarter earnings report and what to expect next:
No company made a bigger splash this week than Penn National Gaming, which announced it had acquired Canadian sports and betting information giant theScore. The $2 billion deal follows Penn’s acquisition of Barstool Sports, bringing two major North American sports media companies under its corporate umbrella.
Penn National CEO Jay Snowden said this week theScore, which for years has been a leading sports content provider and had plans to launch of a sportsbook under its brand, would spearhead the company’s efforts in Canada, much as Barstool has in the U.S. Snowden estimated theScore could capture a third of the Canadian market once single-game wagering goes live in late 2021 or early 2022.
Penn now becomes a major player in the 37-million-person Canadian market, but they will not be alone. DraftKings‘ CEO Jason Robins said Friday they too expect to pursue Canada licensure and other top operators such as Caesars, which operates a casino in Windsor, will likely follow suit.
This week’s earnings calls reaffirmed significant interest in Arizona, which is on pace to launch its first mobile sportsbooks Sept. 9. The following sportsbooks had previously announced market access deals, and most if not all could launch by the go-live date:
Notably, MGM has not yet announced a market access deal for its BetMGM app and is not positioned to launch on the go-live date. BetMGM is live in 12 states plus Washington D.C. and expects to launch in seven additional states before the end of 2020.
Prospective Louisiana sportsbooks are lining up before a projected fall 2021 launch.
Caesars recently announced a multimillion-dollar branding deal for the Louisiana Super Dome and the renovation of its Harrah’s New Orleans property into a new Caesars Palace. The company also recently formalized its integration of former William Hill sportsbooks under the Caesars Sportsbook name in more than a dozen existing markets nationwide.
The company expects to be among the most aggressive marketers in Louisiana once sports betting goes live. CEO Tom Reeg said Tuesday the company will spend more than $1 billion in nationwide customer acquisition over the next two years.
DraftKings and BetMGM also reaffirmed Louisiana market interest during this week’s earnings calls. Additional American market leaders including FanDuel, which is not publicly traded in the U.S., are also expected to apply for one of the 41 potential Louisiana sports betting licenses.
With the highest per capita income of any state, one of the nation’s highest education levels and multiple high-profile sports teams, Maryland is a major target for many U.S. sportsbooks. BetMGM and DraftKings, both of which already have market access deals, reiterated interest in the Old Line State this week.
They will be joined by FanDuel, PointsBet and a host of competitors that have likewise secured market access or intend to do so. Penn National, which operates a Maryland casino, will also launch its Barstool Sportsbook app in the state
Maryland’s 60 potential mobile licenses are the highest cap of any state in the country. This means other growing sportsbooks such as WynnBet, which said Monday it will amp up its investments around the upcoming football season and in markets with NFL teams, will likewise seek Maryland licensure.
DraftKings and FanDuel have already earned two of the three state’s mobile, retail and iGaming licenses. The third operator, which is expected to be announced later this month, will partner with the state lottery.
The lottery’s partner can not be directly affiliated with an existing casino brand. That means it will not be BetMGM, WynnBet or Caesars.
The nation’s least-populated state could still have multiple legal sports betting options this fall. DraftKings and BetMGM both projected Wyoming sports betting launches, and several more companies have expressed interest in the market.
Wyoming follows Tennessee as the nation’s second mobile-only sports betting state. It has some of the most business and bettor-friendly regulations and is the first market to explicitly allow cryptocurrency payments.