Connecticut agreement angers Mashantucket tribe, South Dakota one signature away and other notable stories in the sports betting and iGaming space.
Welcome to the latest edition of "Bet On It," where The Fly looks at news and activity in the sports betting and iGaming space.
SECTOR NEWS: DraftKings (DKNG) will become UFC's first-ever "Official Sportsbook and Daily Fantasy Partner" in the United States and Canada. The sports technology and entertainment company will now be able to offer in-game promotions, activations, in-broadcast odds integrations and UFC branding across its daily fantasy and betting products and will possess rights to use official UFC marks and logos. On a weekly basis, DraftKings will also provide fans with free-to-play UFC games as well as enhanced prop bets and other sportsbook opportunities.
Las Vegas Sands (LVS) announced that it has entered into definitive agreements to sell its Las Vegas real property and operations, including The Venetian Resort Las Vegas and the Sands Expo and Convention Center for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $6.25B. Under the terms of the agreement, an affiliate of funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global (APO) will acquire subsidiaries that hold the operating assets and liabilities of the Las Vegas business for approximately $1.05B in cash, subject to certain post-closing adjustments, and $1.2B in seller financing in the form of a term loan credit and security agreement, and VICI Properties (VICI) will acquire subsidiaries that hold the real estate and real estate-related assets of The Venetian for approximately $4B in cash. The closing of the transactions is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. Following the announcement, Stifel analyst Steven Wieczynski said that while it "isn't a surprise at all" given that the company has let it been known in the past that their core focus is on Asian gaming markets the news is "clearly a positive" and that gives the company "a ton of flexibility around their capital structure to pursue many avenues." The analyst, who said "let the speculation begin" about what the company plans to do with the asset proceeds, believes the company will be keeping more dry powder as there could be domestic opportunities in "new" gaming markets like Texas or New York or in case larger capital investments are needed in their Asian gaming markets. He also believes "the bigger question" will be around whether Las Vegas Sands could be looking to buy an online sports betting provider given their lack of participation in that arena to date. Wieczynski reiterated a Buy rating and $68 price target on Las Vegas Sands shares.
Sports gambling data company Sportradar AG is in talks to go public through Todd Boehly's special purpose acquisition company Horizon Acquisition Corp. II (HZON), Bloomberg's Gillian Tan and Crystal Tse reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter. Sportradar, led by CEO Carsten Koerl, counts Canada Pension Plan Investment, Revolution Growth, basketball star Michael Jordan and Mark Cuban among its backers, the authors noted. The National Football League invested in Sportradar in 2015 and in 2019, signing a multiyear deal for exclusive rights to distribute official NFL data to legal sports-betting operators in the U.S. and abroad, the publication added.
AGREEMENT REACHED IN CONNECTICUT: The state of Connecticut and the Mohegan Tribe reached an agreement on sports betting and online gaming on Wednesday, The Day's Brian Hallenbeck reported, citing comments made by Governor Ned Lamont's chief of staff in testimony before the legislature's Public Safety and Security Committee. An announcement concerning the deal could come on Tuesday and may soon include the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe as well. Rodney Butler, the Mashantucket chairman was reportedly not pleased with the announcement. "After months of closed-door negotiations, it's offensive that Governor Lamont would announce an agreement with only one of the two Tribal Nations that have been a party to the negotiations,” Butler commented in a statement. “We have participated in these discussions in good faith and consider today’s events extremely disrespectful in terms of process and substance. Now that Governor Lamont has laid bare the confidential terms of our negotiations, you can see the significant and substantial concessions made by both Tribes. Just permitting Lottery to participate in full sports betting, absent tax or revenue share, is a major allowance." Fox 61 reported that Governor Lamont said he is hoping to reach an agreement with tribal nations soon, but did not have a timeline of when that could happen. As of last night, the Mashantucket Pequot tribe has yet to reach an agreement with the state yet, something legislators said is crucial. As for the contents of the bill that has largely been agreed upon:
A 20% tax rate on new iGaming offerings
A 13.75% tax rate on sports wagering
Connecticut Lottery shall have the right to operate 15 retail sports betting locations, as well as operate an online sports betting skin
Connecticut Lottery shall have the right to sub-license some of those locations to the state-licensed pari-mutuel operator
Connecticut Lottery will undertake new retail sports betting venues in Hartford and Bridgeport
License agreement to be for ten years with a five-year extension option
SOUTH DAKOTA ON THE BRINK: Matthew Waters of Legal Sports Report noted that the South Dakota House of Representatives passed SB 44 by a 58-8 vote Wednesday. That sent the legislation to legalize sports betting in the state to Governor Kristi Noem. The bill is reportedly seen as likely to get passed because 59% of her constituents approved the referendum at the ballot box in November. The language of the bill suggests in-person registration would be required for legal sports betting in the state. The bill states: "A person who opens an account for advance deposit sports wagering with an operator or route operator shall establish the account in person at the operator's or route operator's licensed gaming establishment within the city of Deadwood using an application approved by the commission. The operator or route operator shall retain the application that is used to open an account for advance deposit sports wagering, including any documents that are submitted with or reviewed with the application. The application and documents shall be considered records of the operator or route operator for purposes of this chapter." LSR pointed out that South Dakota would still lose customers to neighboring Iowa, which has mobile registration for users in the state or close by.
PUBLICLY TRADED COMPANIES IN THE SPACE INCLUDE: Bally's (BALY), Boyd Gaming (BYD), Caesars (CZR), Churchill Downs (CHDN), DraftKings (DKNG), Flutter Entertainment (PDYPY), Gan Limited (GAN), Las Vegas Sands (LVS), MGM Resorts (MGM), Penn National (PENN), Rush Street Interactive (RSI), Scientific Games (SGMS), Score Media (SCR), William Hill (WIMHY) and Wynn Resorts (WYNN).