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State of the Union: Better Collective, Nevada, Catena and more

Insight | Analysis

This week’s State of the Union, in partnership with Segev LLP, includes two huge affiliate deals, financial results from Caesars Entertainment, and efforts in Nevada to legalize a wide range of igaming products.

Better Collective set to acquire Action Network for $240m

Affiliate group Better Collective has brokered a deal to acquire US sports media business the Action Network for $240.0m.

Under the agreement, which Better Collective said is the largest acquisition in its history, the affiliate will take ownership of Action on a cash and debt-free basis. Better Collective will fund the majority of the transaction in cash and $12.0m via the issue of new shares.

Subject to customary regulatory approvals, the deal is expected to complete before the end of the second quarter of this year.

Caesars Entertainment posts $423m net loss in Q1 as Las Vegas revenue tumbles

Caesars Entertainment reported a $423.0m net loss in the first quarter of its financial year, while the operator also suffered a 7.1% decline in net revenue for the period.

Revenue in the three months to March 31 amounted to $1.70bn, down from $1.83bn for the legacy Caesars business in the corresponding period in 2020, before it completed its merger with Eldorado Resorts.

Catena Media grows US portfolio with acquisition

Affiliate group Catena Media has announced the acquisition of US-facing online sports affiliation business for $39.6m.

The purchase price is payable in cash in three instalments over a two-year period, including an up-front payment of $25.0m on closing, $9.6m one year after the deal goes through and $5.0m two years after the acquisition completes.

Nevada regulator considers expanding igaming offering beyond poker

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has invited the state’s public to provide input on proposed amendments to its regulations that would allow operators to offer a wide range of online casino products instead of just poker.

Currently, the state offers online sports betting and poker, but other forms of online gaming are not permitted.

Penn National to launch proprietary game studio with HitPoint Studios acquisition

Penn National Gaming (Penn) has announced that it will acquire HitPoint Studios and its spun-off real-money gaming business, LuckyPoint, to fuel its launch of Penn Game Studios.

Penn Game Studios will comprise an in-house development team that will produce exclusive online casino content for Penn customers.

Red Rock agrees $650m Palms Casino sale to San Manuel Band of Mission Indians

Red Rock Resorts (Red Rock) has announced an agreement with its subsidiary Station Casinos LLC and a subsidiary of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians (San Manuel) to sell the Palms Casino Resort for $650m in cash.

The deal for the Las Vegas casino is subject to regulatory approval, but is expected to be completed in the near future.

Penn National revenue grows to $1.27bn in Q1 as online GGR rockets

Land-based and online operator Penn National Gaming has published its results for the three months to 31 March 2021, showing that it generated $1.27bn in revenue for the quarter, up 14.2% from Q1 2020 when the operator was hit by venue closures.

Gaming operations generated $1.08bn of the total revenue figure, up 19.8% year-on-year, while food, beverage, hotel and other revenue sources brought in $192.9m, down 9.5%.

Oregon bounces back in April as revenue rockets 594.9% YoY

The Oregon Lottery has reported a 594.9% year-on-year increase in sports betting revenue in April, while the US state’s handle also rocketed 475.0% to $25.3m.

Gross gaming revenue from the DraftKings-powered Scoreboard sportsbook amounted to $2.7m in April, up from $392,767 in the same month last year. This total also represents a 92.7% higher than $2.7m in March this year.

Suquamish Tribe agrees sports betting deal in amended Washington compact

The Washington State Gambling Commission and the Suquamish Tribe have reached an agreement allowing sports wagering to be added to its Class III gaming compact, becoming the secondWashinton-based tribe to make such an agreement.

If the new compact comes into effect, the Suquamish Tribe may offer sports betting at its Class III gaming facility, located on the Kitsap Peninsula on the Port Madison Indian Reservation.

Nielsen: US betting and igaming TV ad spend rockets to $153.6m in Q1

A report by television data collection company Nielsen has found that the money spent on advertising online gambling on television has soared in the last three years.

$153.6m was spent on advertising for local spot television in Q1 of 2021 – a staggering 1339.3% increase from the $10.7m spent in 2019. This can be attributed to both the increased legality and popularity of sports betting in the country in the past few years.

Red Rock Resorts enjoys 24.8% gaming revenue growth but posts $71m loss

Red Rock Resorts saw a 24.8% rise in gaming revenue year-on-year in the first quarter of 2021, but impairment costs and difficulties elsewhere due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic led to an overall revenue decline and a loss for the quarter.

Gaming operations brought in the highest revenue overall at $259.9m, an increase from $208.2m compared to Q1 in 2020.

PointsBet confirms first US igaming launch in Michigan

Gambling operator PointsBet has announced its first igaming launch in the US, going live with its proprietary platform in Michigan.

Players in the US state will now have access to PointsBet’s selection of online casino games, after the operator secured approval from the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB).

Intema Solutions to acquire Loot.Bet owner

Esports provider Intema Solutions (Intema) has signed a letter of intent to acquire Livestream Gaming, owner of esports betting platform Loot.Bet.

The proposed deal will cost Intema $14.75m; $8m in cash, $4m issued by a secure vendor, and $2.75m in a share issue floated on the TSX Venture Exchange.

Virginia sports betting handle surpasses $300m in March

Players in Virginia wagered $304.1m on sports during March, while the six operators in the US state were able to generate $13.8m in adjusted gross revenue for the month.

Revenue after customer winnings was up by 13.1% from $12.2m in February, the first full month of legal sports betting Virginia after it opened its regulated market on January 21.

Zynga agrees to acquire Chartboost for $250m

Social gaming giant Zynga has agreed a deal to acquire mobile programmatic advertising and monetization platform Chartboost for approximately $250.0m.

Zynga will fund the purchase using cash, with the final upfront transaction consideration to also include customary closing adjustments.

Everi returns to profit as revenue reaches record $139.1m in first quarter

Gaming and financial technology business Everi Holdings said record revenue of $139.1m in the first quarter of its financial year helped it return to profit during the period.

Consolidated revenue for the three months to March 31 was 33.0% up from $113.3m in the first quarter of last year, during which Everi was heavily impacted by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).

Zynga posts increase in gaming revenue as losses decline

Social gaming company Zynga saw a sharp increase in gaming revenue and overall revenue, but still made a $23m net loss in the first quarter of 2021.

Online gaming revenue, fueled by Zynga’s Toon Blast, Toy Blast and Harry Potter: Puzzles and Spells offerings, totaled at $557m, an increase of 61.7% year on year.