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State of the Union: FanDuel, PointsBet, New York and more

Insight | Analysis

This week’s State of the Union, in partnership with Segev LLP, includes Flutter’s potential plans to spin off its FanDuel brand, as well as PointsBet’s acquisition of Banach Technology, progress for online betting in New York and Connecticut and state results from new Jersey, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Flutter Entertainment to consider FanDuel IPO in US

Flutter Entertainment has revealed it is considering an initial public offering (IPO) of its US-focused FanDuel sports betting and fantasy sports business.

The operator issued a statement today (15 March) in response to media reports that emerged over the weekend, suggesting it was looking into a spinoff and share sale of FanDuel from some investors.

Citing sources close to the discussions, CNBC reported that while a separation of FanDuel is not assured or imminent, Flutter has been considering spinning out FanDuel as a separately traded business to trade on a US exchange.

PointsBet to acquire betting supplier Banach Technology for $43m

PointsBet Holdings has announced that its Lockspell Limited wholly owned Irish subsidiary has entered into a binding agreement to acquire sportsbook solutions provider Banach Technology.

Under the agreement, PointsBet will pay US$43.0m to purchase Dublin-based Banach on a cash and debt-free basis, with 55% of this to be paid in cash and 45% in shares.

PointsBet also agreed to provide Banach with $4.0m in funding to assist with the conversion process of existing equity options, with this amount to be retained by PointsBet after the acquisition completes.

HBK Investments to contest Caesars’ William Hill acquisition

Investment management fund HBK Investments (HBK) is set to challenge the proposed merger between Caesars and William Hill.

The Scheme Court Hearing date set to finalize the deal has been pushed back a day to March 31 as a result.

Caesars announced earlier this month that it was set to acquire William Hill in a deal worth £2.9bn (€3.39bn/$4.03bn), with the process to be concluded by April 1 – subject to regulatory approval.

NY State Assembly proposes licence system for mobile wagering

The New York State Assembly has published its 2021-22 Budget Proposal, which includes a licensing fee and tax structure, as well as projections for the fiscal impact of the legalization of mobile sports wagering in the state.

The proposal sets out changes to the state’s existing gambling laws, and modifies a proposal from Governor Andrew Cuomo by replacing its centralized procurement model with an alternative structure operating through existing land-based casinos in the state.

DraftKings proposes $1bn senior notes offering

Sports betting and daily fantasy sports operator DraftKings has announced plans to offer $1bn (£718m/€838m) in convertible senior notes via a private offering.

Due in 2028, the notes will be made available to qualified institutional buyers, with DraftKings also set grant initial purchasers a 13-day option to purchase up to an additional $150m aggregate principal amount of notes.

CT Governor reaches deal on amended Mashantucket Pequot compact

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont has finalized amendments to Foxwoods operator the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe’s gaming compact, paving the way for sports betting and online casino in the state.

The news follows a similar agreement with Connecticut’s other exclusive gaming rights holder, the Mohegan Tribe, that was announced earlier this month.

New York State Senate passes budget with online sports betting measures

The New York State Senate has passed its 2021-22 state budget proposal, which includes provisions and requirements for the operation of mobile sports betting in the state.

The budget reflects many of the stipulations published earlier this week in the State Assembly’s proposed budget, including a $12m licensing fee for the operation of mobile sports betting, to be secured through one of New York state’s land-based casinos.

PA February igaming revenue up YoY but monthly growth streak ends

Pennsylvania’s streak of record monthly igaming revenue came to an end in February, but revenue was still four times the amount recorded in February 2020.

Revenue from online casino gaming was up 299.1% from 2020, but down 3.3% from January 2021, ending a streak of record months that started in July 2020.

XLMedia to acquire Sports Betting Dime for $26m

Affiliate business XLMedia has reached an agreement to acquire US-focused sportsbook review website Sports Betting Dime (SBD) for $26.0m.

Founded in 2012, SBD operates as a multi-channel platform, providing a range of data and tools for novices and experts, including betting odds, trends, reports, futures trackers and analysis.

NJ sports betting market slows in February despite YoY growth

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) has reported year-on-year growth across the US state’s sports betting and online casino markets for February, but sports wagering handle fell to its lowest level since August 2020.

Total gambling revenue for the month was $288.3m, which was only marginally higher than the $287.3m posted in the same month last year, but down from $346.4m in January 2021.

Sports betting launches in North Carolina

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and William Hill have opened The Book, North Carolina’s first legal sports betting venue, at both of its Harrah’s Cherokee Casino sites in Cherokee and Murphy.

The state’s tribal sports betting bill was approved by the Senate in April 2019. This bill classes sports betting as a Class III gaming activity, meaning that the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians could offer it at both of its casinos under its Class III compact.

Mohegan confirms exit of CEO Kontomerkos

Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE) has announced Mario Kontomerkos is to step down as its chief executive at the end of the month.

Kontomerkos will officially move aside from the role on March 31, with current chief operating officer Ray Pineault to step in as interim chief executive, subject to regulatory approvals.

March Madness online wagering set to surge as tournament betting evolves

New findings from the American Gaming Association (AGA) have revealed that more than 17 million Americans will use online betting to wager on the March Madness tournament in 2021, a rise of 206% from 2019.

The survey by Morning Consult, conducted across 2,200 adults, also revealed that more than 47 million Americans will place bets on the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s basketball tournament overall.

Bally’s signs new partnership with Major League Baseball

Bally’s Corporation has entered into a partnership with Major League Baseball (MLB), in a deal that marks its third link-up with a professional sports league in North America.

The agreement will see Bally’s become an authorised gaming partner of MLB, with the operator gaining access to official MLB league and team marks, logos and data.

Evolution launches live casino with Canadian lotteries

Evolution has agreed deals to provide live casino games to the Canadian Bank Note Company (CBN) and Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis (AGLC) for their lottery operations.

CBN will now offer the lotteries it operates or supports online the option to offer online live casino games, subject to local regulations.

Mixed February sees MI sports betting revenue fall as igaming increases

The Michigan Gaming Control Board has reported a 171.8% month-on-month increase in igaming revenue in February, though revenue from sports betting in the US state slipped 28.6%.

Total gross receipts from online gambling for the month amounted to $89.2m, more than double the $42.7m reported in January.

Playstudios revenue grows to $269.9m in 2020

Social gaming developer Playstudios has released its preliminary financial results for Q4 and the full year 2020, showing revenues of $64.0m and $269.9m respectively for the periods.

Revenue growth was 12.7% year-on-year for 2020.

Wyoming sports betting bill moves to Senate after initial rejection

A bill to legalise online sports wagering in the state of Wyoming has finally passed the House of Representatives and moves onto the Senate after initially being voted down.

The bill, House Bill 0133, which is set to authorize online sports betting within the state of Wyoming, was defeated in a vote last week by a 32-28 margin, but on a second attempt it passed, also by a vote of 32-28.

Churchill Downs raises $500m through senior notes offering and term loan

Racing and gambling operator Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) has raised a total of $500m through a term loan and an offering of senior notes.

Both announced last week, the term loan raised $300m, while the senior notes offering generated $200m, both reaching their original targets.

Everi appoints Kate Lowenhar-Fisher as legal chief

Digital casino product and fintech provider Everi Holdings has appointed Kate Lowenhar-Fisher as executive vice president, chief legal officer, general counsel and corporate secretary.

Lowenhar-Fisher will bring more than 18 years of corporate, legal and regulatory compliance experience to her new responsibility of managing Everi’s legal and regulatory compliance affairs.

FanDuel takes top spot as Indiana sportsbooks bring in $17.0m in February

Indiana’s regulated sports betting market saw handle increase 31.6% year-on-year to $273.9m in February, a growth of almost $100m, although both revenue and handle dipped when compared to January.

Adjusted gross revenue for February came to $17.0m, which represents 53.2% year-on-year growth but is a decrease from the figures posted in January.

Kindred offers Gamban blocking software in US

Unibet operator Kindred Group announced today its US arm has partnered with UK self-exclusion supplier Gamban, becoming the first operator in the US to offer its gambling blocking software to its customers.

Gamban software works as a self-exclusion tool for online gambling, allowing players to prevent access to any gambling site on individual devices.

Guyot takes over as Foxwoods CEO on permanent basis

Jason Guyot will take over as president and chief executive of Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, on a full time basis, after serving as interim chief executive since April 2020.

Guyot, who now becomes the first member of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation to serve as Foxwoods chief executive, first took over in an interim capacity when John J. James stepped down last year after nine months in charge.