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State of the Union: Caesars, Texas, RSI and more

Insight | Analysis

This week’s State of the Union, in partnership with Segev LLP, includes an update on Caesars’ acquisition of British betting operator William Hill, an update on betting legislation in Texas and results from businesses including Rush Street Interactive, NeoGames and Skillz.

Caesars set to complete William Hill acquisition by 1 April

Caesars expects to complete its proposed acquisition of William Hill by 1 April after the bookmaker confirmed all necessary regulatory approvals should be obtained in the coming weeks.

In September 2020, Caesars lodged a bid worth £2.9bn (€3.39bn/$4.03bn) to acquire the entire issued and to-be issued share capital of William Hill that it does not already own.

The agreement, which was approved by William Hill shareholders in November, will see Caesars purchase William Hill’s 1.08bn shares for £2.72 each. Caesars said it plans to retain William Hill’s US betting arm, with the rest of the business set to be sold.

DraftKings ups long-term EBITDA guidance to $1.7bn

DraftKings has upped its long-term earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) guidance from $1bn to $1.7bn, following strong igaming results in 2020.

The operator did not provide a date at which it expected to reach this level of earnings. Instead it said this was based on 65% of the US having access to legal online betting in their home state, 30% having access to legal igaming and 64% of Canada having legal betting and igaming.

The operator expects to hit this target after five years of maturity at these levels of legalisation.

Online casino drives RSI revenue growth in 2020

Rush Street Interactive (RSI) saw net revenue rocket 337% year-on-year in 2020, with casino significantly outperforming sports betting in key markets.

However, an increase in costs also saw its net loss grow to $138.8m.

Texas sports betting bill referred to House Committee

The Texas House of Representatives’ State Affairs Committee is to run the rule over a new bill that proposes legalizing certain forms of sports betting in the US state.

Introduced earlier this year by Democratic Representative Harold Dutton, House Bill 1121 sets out plans to legalize sports wagering via the internet and similar platforms.

NeoGames’ inaugural results reveal 48.8% revenue growth in 2020

NeoGames’ first set of financial results as a publicly listed business show the lottery solutions provider’s revenue grew 48.8% year-on-year in 2020, aided by significant expansion in North America.

Revenue for the 12 months ended 31 December 2020 came to $49.2m, with this total made up predominantly of turnkey contracts with lottery operators. These contracts accounted for $32.3m of the supplier’s full-year revenue, up 87.1%.

Skillz revenue up 92% in 2020 following public listing

Mobile multi-player gaming platform Skillz has released its fourth quarter and full year 2020 financial results, showing revenue of $230.1m for the year, up 92% from $119.9m in 2019.

Gross marketplace volume, meaning the total entry fees paid by users for contests hosted on Skillz’s platform, grew 80% to $1.59bn during 2020.

Illinois breaks sports betting revenue and handle records in January

Illinois’s sports betting handle reached a record $581.6m in January, while the US state also saw revenue reach an all-time high of $49.4m during the month.

Revenue in January amounted to $49.4m, more than double the $23.9m posted in December last year, though the previous month’s figures were impacted by the temporary closure of casinos due to novel coronavirus (Covid-19) measures.

PlayStar names former Catena Media chief as CEO

Online casino start-up PlayStar Casino has appointed Per Hellberg, previously of affiliate giant Catena Media, as chief executive.

In his new role, Hellberg will spearhead PlayStar’s US expansion plans, with the brand due to launch in New Jersey before the end of the year and additional state roll-outs planned for next year.

Churchill Downs to raise $500m through notes offering and term loan

Racing and gaming operator Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) aims to raise more than $500m through a combination of a term loan and an offering of senior notes.

The loan will raise $300m, while the notes offering will have an aggregate principal value of $200m.

Everi swings to loss in 2020 after revenue decline in all segments

Gaming and financial technology business Everi saw revenue drop 28.8% to $383.7m in 2020 after seeing revenue from all channels decline, including a sharp drop in gaming equipment and system sales.

Within the gaming segment, revenue from gaming operations were down 17.3% to $156.2m. However, gaming equipment and system sales dropped 51.6% to $44.0m, while other revenue dropped 97.1% to just $96,000.

BettHouse launches new funding round ahead of US debut

Start-up online sports betting operator BettHouse has announced a new funding round ahead of its launch in the US market.

BettHouse has secured market access in Iowa and is scheduled to debut in the state next month, with plans in place to also go live in a number of other states before the end of the year.

Bally’s launches campaign to support proposed $650m Virginia casino

US land-based casino operator Bally’s Corporation has launched a new campaign in an effort to drum up support for its proposed $650m casino resort in Virginia.

Last month, Bally’s put forward a proposal to construct the casino on a 61-acre site located north of Powhite Parkway and east of Chippenham Parkway, on the western border of Richmond.

MGM Resorts and BetMGM launch problem gambling education series

MGM Resorts and its online joint venture BetMGM have announced a commitment to promote responsible gaming within the betting industry, including an employee education series.

The announcement comes as the brands join the National Council on Problem Gambling in promoting Problem Gambling Awareness Month.

Full House returns to profit despite Covid-19 impact in 2020

US land-based casino operator Full House Resorts has revealed that despite its properties having been impacted by novel coronavirus (Covid-19) closures and restrictions in 2020, it was able to post a net profit for the year.

Revenue for the 12 months to December 31 amounted to $125.6m, down 25.1% from $165.4m in the previous year.

AGA recruits FanDuel to responsible gambling project

The American Gaming Association (AGA) has announced Flutter Entertainment-owned FanDuel Group has become the first mobile sportsbook operator to sign up to its “Have A Game Plan, Bet Responsibly” public service campaign.

Under the arrangement, FanDuel will make a multi-million-dollar commitment of its media inventory, as well as league and team assets, and direct them towards responsible gambling messaging.

Penn National approved to launch Barstool Sportsbook app in Illinois

Penn National Gaming has secured approval from the Illinois Gaming Board to launch its Barstool Sportsbook mobile application in the US state.

The operator said it plans to roll out the sports wagering app from March 11, while the Barstool Sportsbook desktop website will also go live in Illinois.

Arizona sports betting bill passes third reading

Arizona House Bill 2772 to legalize sports betting has passed its third reading in the state’s House of Representatives, by 48 votes in favor to 12 against.

The Bill, which was introduced by Rep Jeff Weninger in early February, was approved by the House Committee of the Whole yesterday (March 4), allowing it to pass onto its third reading. It passed its second reading on February 4.

Kansas Senate passes sports betting bill

The Kansas Senate has passed a bill that would legalize both retail and online sports wagering in the US state, after some minor amendments.

Introduced in January and sponsored by the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee, Senate Bill 84, which seeks to expand the state’s Lottery Act, cleared the Senate by a vote of 26-12.

Iowa sports betting revenue rockets 920.5% YoY in February

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has reported a 920.5% year-on-year increase in sports betting revenue in February, though both revenue and handle were down from January’s record results.

Revenue for February amounted to $7.7m, up from $755,334 in the same month in 2020, but 31.8% lower than the record $11.3m posted in January of this year.