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State of the Union: California, Bally’s, Ontario and more

Insight | Analysis

This week’s State of the Union, in partnership with Segev LLP, includes a ballot measure to allow online betting in California, as well as marketing penalties in Ontario and Q1 results from Flutter, Penn National Gaming and Bally’s

Californians to vote on legalising online betting this year

A proposition to allow online sports betting in California – but with licence fees of up to $100m – will to appear on the state’s ballot this November.

Flutter chief executive Peter Jackson confirmed that the measure – backed by Flutter’s FanDuel brand, as well as DraftKings and BetMGM – was set to appear on the ballot this November, having gained more than the required 997,139 signatures.

Bally’s dismisses Standard General takeover bid

Bally’s has dismissed a proposed takeover of the business from Standard General, the investment firm led by Bally’s chair Soo Kim.

Bally’s said that a special committee of its board directors had terminated all consideration of the proposal.

Chicago selects Bally’s to operate $1.7bn casino

The City Council of Chicago has selected Bally’s to build a $1.7bn casino resort in the city’s downtown area.

Bally’s Chicago was chosen as the preferred bidder following a request for proposals process. Other finalists had included Rush Street Gaming and Hard Rock, while other bids from Bally’s and Rush Street focused on other locations were eliminated at an earlier stage.

In its bid, Bally’s outlined that it will pay $40m to the City up front, plus annual payments of $4m. bally’s A total of 3,000 staff will be employed in construction of the resort, with a further 3,000 permanent jobs when it is complete.

BetMGM and PointsBet handed Ontario penalties over marketing breaches

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has issued monetary penalties to BetMGM and PointsBet after alleging the two operators breached regulations related to advertising and inducements.

The BetMGM Canada arm of BetMGM was served a notice of monetary penalties totalling CA$48,000 (£29,974/€35,565/US$37,401) for alleged failure to comply with Standards 2.04 and 2.05 of the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming.

DraftKings completes GNOG acquisition

DraftKings has completed its all-stock acquisition of Golden Nugget Online Gaming, just over a month after the initial closing deadline passed.

DraftKings said the acquisition of the online gaming specialist – announced in August of 2021 – would allow the business to “broaden its reach and enhance the combined company’s igaming product offerings”.

Enlarged Bally’s brings in $548.2m in Q1 revenue

Bally’s recorded revenue of $548.2m for the first quarter of 2022, up significantly year-on-year due to the addition of a number of acquisitions including Gamesys.

The revenue was a rise of 185.1% from Q1 2021, which was before the completion of Bally’s £2.0bn merger with online gaming operator Gamesys, which closed in October 2021.

US ensures Flutter revenue grows in Q1 despite declines elsewhere

Flutter’s revenue grew by 5.5% to £1.57bn (€1.86bn/$1.96bn) in the first quarter of 2022, as continued growth of the FanDuel brand in the US offset regulatory-related declines in its UK and Ireland and international segments.

At a group level, sports betting revenue was up by 5%, while gaming revenue grew by 9%, as the number of average monthly players increased by 15% to 8.9 million.

Maine governor signs bill to legalise sports betting

Maine governor Janet Mills has signed a bill that would allow for both retail and tribal-operated online sports betting into law.

LD 585 would allow for the state’s four Native American tribes to apply for a licence to operate online sports betting. These tribes may then partner with one online operator each.

Playmaker acquires sports media brand The Sports Drop

Playmaker Capital has completed the acquisition of US-based sports media business The Sports Drop.

Financial terms of the deal were undisclosed, but Playmaker said that the purchase would support its ongoing growth plans in the US.

BlueBet announces ClutchBet brand for US after revenue growth in Q3

Mobile betting operator BlueBet reported revenue of AUD$13.2m (£7.4m/€8.9m) in its third quarter results, up 55.1% year-on-year but a decrease of 4.3% from the previous quarter, as the company gears up to launch a new US-facing brand.

The results cover the three months ended 31 March.

Flutter’s FanDuel to keep up marketing spend as US rivals cut back

Flutter chief executive Peter Jackson said the group’s FanDuel brand would continue to “push really hard” to acquire customers while rivals cut down their marketing costs.

Jackson spoke after Flutter announced an earnings update for Q1 of 2022, in which revenue came to £1.57bn (€1.86bn/$1.96bn), up 5.5%. The growth was mainly due to the FanDuel-led US segment, where revenue was up 45%, while UK and Ireland and international revenue both declined.