Las Vegas Sands pushes for Texas casinos, NFL announces three sports betting partners, 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.
BALLY'S COMBINES WITH GAMESYS: Bally's (BALY) announced that the company and Gamesys Group (JKPTF) have agreed on definitive terms by which Bally's will combine with Gamesys in a deal that values the U.K. gambling company at $2.78B. Gamesys shareholders would be entitled to receive GBp 1,850 in cash for each share held. A share alternative will also be available whereby Gamesys shareholders can elect to receive 0.343 new Bally's common shares for each Gamesys share held in lieu of part or all of the cash offer. Gamesys shareholders will also be entitled to receive a dividend of GBp 28 per share in respect of the year ended December 31, 2020. Lee Fenton will become CEO of the combined group. Robeson Reeves, Gamesys COO, and Jim Ryan, a non-executive director of Gamesys, will join the Bally's board. George Papanier will remain a member of the Bally's Board and the senior executive running the retail casino business. The headquarters of the combined group will be located in Providence, Rhode Island. Combined company common shares will trade on the NYSE and, shortly after completion, a request will be made to cancel trading in Gamesys Shares and de-list Gamesys from the London Stock Exchange. Separately, Bally's reported that it had discontinued the offering of $250M of its tangible equity units and instead is pursuing a possible private offering of equity-linked securities to a "potential strategic investor who made an unsolicited offer." In addition, Bally's said its previously announced offering of $600M of its common stock, including the underwriters option for a period of 30 days to purchase up to an additional 15% of common stock, is expected to proceed as planned. "In addition, another strategic investor is expected to make a $50M investment to purchase warrants exercisable for shares Bally's common stock at the same price per share as the price to the public in the common stock offering. It is possible that Bally's will consider the issuance of additional equity or equity-linked securities in the future," the company said. Bally's expects to apply the net proceeds from the common stock offering and the strategic investments to fund a portion of the cash consideration payable to shareholders of Gamesys Group upon consummation.
SANDS PUSHES FOR TEXAS CASINOS: Las Vegas Sands (LVS) is launching a "multimillion-dollar" advertising campaign in hopes to drive support for its push to bring casinos to Texas, reported Patrick Svitek of The Texas Tribune. The company will begin airing TV and radio ads Thursday in the state's biggest markets that will tell residents that "billions of tourism and gambling dollars" leave the state every year for neighboring states that allow more gaming, according to the report. The company has backed legislation that would allow Texans to vote on whether to create casino licenses for four "destination resorts" in Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio and Austin. The ads will debut in those markets as well as a few others. Las Vegas Sands has hired dozens of lobbyists this session in an effort to persuade a Legislature that has reportedly been hesitant to expand gambling options previously.
NFL EMBRACES SPORTS BETTING: DraftKings (DKNG) and the National Football League, or NFL, announced that DraftKings will become an official sports betting partner of the League and extend its current relationship as the exclusive official daily fantasy partner. As anofficial sports betting partner of the NFL, DraftKings will have the right to integrate relevant sports betting content directly into NFL Media properties including NFL.com and the NFL App. As part of the agreement, DraftKings will utilize the NFL's official League data feed. DraftKings will renew its exclusive relationship as the official daily fantasy partner of the NFL, which provides DraftKings with exclusive rights to NFL marks to promote daily fantasy sports contests. The deal also includes integrations across NFL Media properties including a continued presence within the NFL RedZone channel. Caesars Entertainment (CZR) will also become an official sports betting partner of the NFL as part of an agreement that extends the partnership in which the company became the League's first-ever casino sponsor. The multi-year agreement, beginning with the upcoming 2021 NFL season, allows Caesars to leverage NFL marks within the sports betting category and activate around retail and online sports betting, as well as engage fans with NFL-themed free-to-play games. Caesars retains its exclusive casino rights to use NFL trademarks in its marketing and provide experiences for NFL fans using its more than 50 casino properties, celebrity chefs, music artists, and a wide range of entertainment elements onsite. As for the third and final agreement, FanDuel (PDYPY) additionally becomes an official sports betting partner of the NFL and will have the ability to leverage NFL marks within the sports betting category and activate around retail and online sports betting. The company will also engage with fans through NFL-themed free-to-play games.
MARYLAND ADVACES OSB LEGISLATION: Patrick Svitek of the Baltimore Sun reported Maryland lawmakers advanced an uncapped online sports betting bill on Wednesday. The bill represents what would be the first market with both an unlimited number of digital operators and retail sportsbooks in the U.S. The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee approved the amendment to a House sports betting bill without opposition. If passed by the whole General Assembly, any online sportsbook could apply to operate in Maryland without having to partner with an existing land-based facility. Benchmark analyst Mike Hickey said the over 60 available online licenses are almost double New Jersey and Colorado. He told investors in a research note that Maryland's nation-leading median household income, high-profile sports teams and wide range of available licensees should create one of the more lucrative per capita markets in the country.
ARIZONA GOVERNOR SIGNS SPORTS BETTING BILL: Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed bill HB 2772 on Thursday, expanding gambling and providing revenue for the state and for tribes that will be allowed to increase their gambling offerings, Bob Christie of AP reported. For the first time, legislation allows sports betting under licenses issued to tribes and pro sports teams. Additionally, gambling on fantasy sports and new Keno games at horse race tracks are allowed. The passage of the bill followsn an updated gaming deal Ducey struck with tribes, which was kept under wraps until disclosed on Thursday. Before heading to Ducey, the Arizona Senate passed the bill by a 23-6 vote. The new compact allows up to four new casinos in the Phoenix area, but reportedly only two are likely to be built anytime soon, according to the documents. Hickey noted the emergency act was implemented with intentions of getting wagering off the ground by NFL betting season. The PGA TOUR and DraftKings announced that they will expand their existing commercial relationship to provide DraftKings market access for retail and mobile sports betting in Arizona, pending regulatory approvals. As part of this agreement, the PGA TOUR and DraftKings have also announced plans to operate a premium retail sportsbook at TPC Scottsdale.
PUBLICLY TRADED COMPANIES IN THE SPACE INCLUDE: Accel Entertainment (ACEL), 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).