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State of the Union: Las Vegas Sands, Florida, DraftKings and more

Insight | Analysis

This week’s State of the Union, in partnership with Segev LLP, includes Las Vegas Sands’ decision to sell its properties and operations in the US, as well as a bill that would bring sports betting to Florida and financial results from businesses including DraftKings, Caesars and Scientific Games.

Sands sells Las Vegas empire for $6.25bn

Land-based gaming giant Las Vegas Sands has agreed to sell all of its Las Vegas properties and operations, in order to shift its focus to the Asian market.

Sands will sell the subsidiaries that operate its US business to funds held by the private equity business Apollo Global Management for $1.05bn in cash and $1.20bn in seller financing, through a loan credit and security agreement.

Legal online and retail sports betting targeted in new Florida bill

Florida’s House of Representatives is to consider a new bill that seeks to legalize online and retail sports wagering in the US state.

Introduced by Republican Representative Chip LaMarca, House Bill 1317 sets out proposals to allow Floridian consumers to wager on professional and collegiate sports.

Connecticut agrees gaming expansion deal with Mohegan Tribe

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont has struck an agreement with the Mohegan Tribe to launch new gambling products, including sports betting and igaming, in the state.

The agreement, signed by Lamont and Mohegan Tribe chair James Gessner Jr, sets a 20% tax rate for online gaming, and a 13.75% rate for sports wagering.

DraftKings ends 2020 with strong Q4 showing as revenue grows 98%

DraftKings’ full-year revenue for 2020 finished up 49.0%, after the daily fantasy and sports betting operator ended the year by almost doubling revenue in the fourth quarter, though costs also grew significantly.

On a like-for-like basis, revenue for the three months to 31 December 2020 grew 146.1% year-on-year to $322.2m. If prior year figures from Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp (DEAC) and SBTech were factored in, revenue grew 98.2% on a proforma basis.

Nevada sportsbooks enjoy strong start to 2021

Nevada gaming revenue improved month-over-month in January, though lagged behind prior year levels, while the state’s sportsbooks posted strong figures for the month.

January revenue across all products and services came to $761.8m, which represented an 11.4% improvement from December 2020. However, it also represented a 26.6% year-on-year decline.

Combined Caesars-Eldorado business loses $2.72bn in first year

The combined Caesars-Eldorado business, now trading as Caesars Entertainment, brought in $6.10bn in 2020, down 42.5% from 2019’s combined revenue, and posted a $2.72bn loss with both pre-merger segments hit by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The results cover a year in which regional casino operator Eldorado Resorts acquired Caesars Entertainment, with the new business then taking the Caesars name.

FanDuel hires Ticketmaster COO as first president

Flutter Entertainment’s US arm FanDuel Group has hired Amy Howe, previously global chief operating officer for ticket sales and distribution giant Ticketmaster, to the newly created role of president.

As president, Howe (pictured below) joins FanDuel’s executive team, reporting directly to chief executive Matt King. She will be given responsibility for commercial functions across its sports betting, casino, daily fantasy and racing products.

IGT PlaySports obtains Nevada approval

International Game Technology (IGT) has obtained regulatory approval in Nevada for its PlaySports platform for retail and online sports betting.

The London-headquartered technology supplier said it will now target the expansion of its sports betting enterprise in the US’s most established state for gambling through the PlaySports solution, which is now live in 16 US states.

Conscious Gaming launches Bettor Safe education campaign

Independent non-profit Conscious Gaming has launched a new national campaign to educate consumers about the difference between regulated and unregulated online gaming operators, called Bettor Safe.

Conscious Gaming was created by geolocation technology supplier GeoComply and aims to educate consumers on the risks of betting on illegal gaming websites, compared to the benefits of using legal and regulated operators.

BetMGM in US first with Borussia Dortmund partnership

The Virginia Lottery has revealed licensed operators processed $58.9m in sports bets during the first 11 days of legal activity in the US state, but adjusted gross revenue (AGR) amounted to a loss of $3.2m.

Virginia officially opened its regulated sports betting market on January 21 when Flutter Entertainment-owned FanDuel launch its sportsbook in the state via a partnership with the Washington Football Team.

theScore raises $186.3m in over-allotted IPO

TheScore parent Score Media and Gaming has raised $186.3m after selling 6.9m shares in its initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq exchange.

The Canada-based betting operator and media business sold all 6m shares allocated for the IPO, plus all 900,000 shares in its over-allotment option, at $27.00 each.

Rhode Island sports betting handle reaches record $39.8m in January

Sportsbooks in Rhode Island processed a record $39.8m in sports wagers during January, while the US state also saw a 12.7% year-on-year increase in sports betting revenue.

Total revenue for the month amounted to $3.7m, up from $3.3m in January 2020 and also 48.8% higher than the $2.5m recorded in December last year.

Betfred US scores partnership with Colorado Rockies

Betfred USA Sports, the US-facing business of the British bookmaker, has entered a multi-year marketing and sponsorship agreement with Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise the Colorado Rockies.

Facilitated by the SCCG Management consultancy, the deal includes a number of digital and stadium assets at the team’s Coors Field home ballpark, with Betfred USA Sports to become a partner of the Rockies.

US federal court approves Big Fish Washington settlement

A US federal court has approved a settlement agreed by Churchill Downs Incorporated, former owner of Big Fish Games, and its current owner Aristocrat Leisure, related to two class action suits against the social gaming studio.

After the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit concluded that Big Fish apps such as Big Fish Casino and Jackpot Magic Slots were a form of illegal gambling, the pair created a $155m settlement fund in May 2020 to refund money lost playing those games.

SG 2020 revenue declines 19.9% amid lower product sales

Scientific Games saw revenue decline 19.9% to $2.72bn, as product sales collapsed amid land-based closures, but this was partially offset by growth in social and igaming revenue.

Services brought in $1.59bn of this revenue, down 12.7%, while product sales revenue was down 44.4% to $553m and instant product revenue declined 1.9% to $578m.

FanDuel faces class action lawsuit over delayed data claims

Flutter Entertainment-owned FanDuel is facing a class action lawsuit in the US state of Illinois after a customer claimed the operator was intentionally delaying real-time scoring data to cause players to lose money.

In the lawsuit filed with Illinois District Court, plaintiff Andrew Melnick, alleged that when placing in-play bets on college basketball games via the FanDuel mobile app, real-time information on the games was not accurate.

FuboTV completes Vigtory acquisition

Sports-focused streaming platform FuboTV has completed its acquisition of sportsbook operator Vigtory.

The company said its expected expansion into wagering and interactivity will further differentiate it from its competitors.

WynnBet becomes Detroit Pistons’ fourth sportsbook partner

WynnBet, the casino and sports betting app operated by land-based giant Wynn Resorts, has partnered the Detroit Pistons, becoming the fourth sports operator to strike a deal with the NBA franchise.

The multi-year deal will see the partners work on a series of co-branded marketing campaigns, including a direct-to-consumer promotion Wynn Wednesdays.

IGT posts $838.7m loss as Covid-19 closures drive 2020 revenue down

International Game Technology (IGT) has reported a net loss of $838.7m for its 2020 financial year, after the closure of casinos and other restrictions caused by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic led to a sharp drop in revenue.

Total consolidated revenue in the 12 months through to December 31 amounted to $3.12bn, down 22.7% from $4.03bn in the previous year, with IGT seeing declines across both its global lottery and global gaming businesses.

Delaware sports betting revenue climbs to $1.7m in January

Sports wagering revenue in Delaware increased 13.3% year-on-year in January, as players in the US state bet $11.7m on sports during the month.

Revenue amounted to $1.7m in January, which was also 54.6% higher than the $1.1m recorded in the final month of 2020.

BetMGM in US first with Borussia Dortmund partnership

MGM-Entain joint venture BetMGM has become the first US betting operator to partner with a German soccer club, striking a deal with Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund.

The deal will include marketing placements and rights to player imagery and team logos.