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: Fanatics is in talks to acquire sports betting company Tipico, Alex Sherman of CNBC reported, citing two people familiar with the matter. Tipico's sports gambling business has licenses in New Jersey and Colorado, but claims it is the leading sports betting provider in Germany. Fanatics chairman Michael Rubin announced Wednesday he's selling his 10% share in Harris Blitzer Sports Entertainment clearing a hurdle for Fanatics to enter the space. Harris Blitzer owns both the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey devils and is not permitted to be involved in the sector. “As our Fanatics business has grown, so too have the obstacles I have to navigate to ensure our new business don’t conflict with my responsibilities as part-owner of the Sixers,” Rubin said in a statement posted on Twitter Wednesday announcing the sale of his 76ers stake. “With the launch of our trading cards and collectibles business earlier this year — which will have individual contracts with thousands of athletes globally — and a soon-to-launch sports betting operation, these new businesses will directly conflict with the ownership rules of sports leagues. Given these realities, I will sadly be selling my stake in the Sixers and shifting from part-owner back to life-long fan.”
BetMGM (MGM/GMVHF) announced an agreement with Sony Pictures Television (SONY) and International Game Technology (IGT) to launch Wheel of Fortune Casino, set to become the first full brand-led online casino in North America. Launching first in New Jersey, Wheel of Fortune Casino will house America's Game-branded slot titles produced by IGT, along with many other themed games and features.
Shares of Macau's six major casino operators listed in China fell on Monday after the city reported more than two dozen COVID-19 infections over the weekend in its first outbreak in eight months, reported Bloomberg's Shirley Zhao. Macau, which hasn't shut its casinos since an February 2020, instituted mass testing of residents between Sunday and Tuesday and reported 36 positive cases as of Monday afternoon, the report noted. U.S. listed companies in the Macau gaming space include Las Vegas Sands (LVS), MGM Resorts (MGM), Wynn Resorts (WYNN) and Melco Resorts (MLCO).
Oryx Gaming, a Bragg Gaming (BRAG) company, announced that its content is now live across Jumpman Gaming's network of UK brands, marking a step forward for its presence in Europe's largest market. The partnership agreement with Jumpman Gaming allows Oryx to provide its exclusive RGS content, including content developed by its in-house studios as well as its premium partners, which collectively offers player-favorite features and jackpots designed to drive engagement and retention.
MACAU CONCESSIONS: Wynn Resorts Macau S.A. announced that it has entered into the Concession Extension Agreement with the Macau SAR Government, to extend the gaming concession of Wynn from June 26, 2022 to December 31.
Studio City (MSC) announced that Melco Resorts Macau, a subsidiary of Melco Resorts and the operator of the Studio City Casino, entered into an amendment agreement to its subconcession contract pursuant to which the Gaming Operator's subconcession, which is due to expire on June 26, was extended to December 31, 2022 which coincides with the extended expiration date of all the other concessions and subconcessions in Macau. In addition, on June 23, 2022, the Gaming Operator and Studio City Developments, the subsidiary of the company holding the land lease rights for the property on which Studio City Casino is located, executed an undertaking in favor of the Macau government pursuant to which the Gaming Operator and Studio City Developments committed to sign the documents required by the Macau government so that the gaming areas and gaming support areas of the Studio City Casino, in accordance with Macau law, reverts to the Macau SAR, without compensation and free and clear from any charges or encumbrances at the expiration of the Gaming Operator's subconcession. The final terms of such reversion are subject to the execution of a reversion deed or similar instrument in favor of the Macau government.
Melco Resorts & Entertainment's Melco Resorts Macau, a subsidiary of the company, and Wynn Resorts Macau entered into an Amendment Agreement to the Subconcession Contract pursuant to which the gaming subconcession of Melco Resorts Macau, which is due to expire on June 26, was extended to December 31, 2022, which coincides with the extended expiration date of all the other concessions and subconcessions. Melco Resorts Macau will pay the Macau government the equivalent of approximately $5.8M upon signing of the Extension Agreement as premium for such extension. Melco Resorts Macau will also submit a bank guarantee in an amount of not less than approximately $101.4M to the Macau government within three months from the date of signing of the Extension Agreement to guarantee the satisfaction of any labor liabilities upon expiry of the subconcession. The gaming areas, gaming support areas and the gaming equipment of Altira Casino, City of Dreams Casino and Studio City Casino, as agreed with the Macau government, will revert to the Macau SAR, without compensation and free and clear from any charges or encumbrances at the expiration of the subconcession. In addition, certain conditions imposed by the Macau government relating to the previously existing agreement, including in relation to shareholding requirements for certain direct and indirect shareholders of Studio City Entertainment Limited, are no longer applicable.
MAY FLOWERS: May digital gross gaming revenue, or GGR, for reported states totaled $736M, up 5% from April and 70% year-over-year, according to BofA analyst Shaun Kelley. iGaming GGR was down 2% month over month, due to a slight headwind as April had five Saturdays. Same state online sports betting GGR growth accelerated to reach its best level since November 21, aided by a noticeable increase in hold. Online sports betting GGR was up 16% month-over-month, while OSB handle was down 13% month-over-month, but +15% year-over-year on a same state basis. FanDuel (PDYPY) remains the clear online sports betting leader, driven by its top position in New York, due in large part to its 11.6% hold rate, Kelley told investors. App Downloads, DFS, Jobs: iOS downloads in May were down 8% month-over-month and up 97 year-over year.
KANSAS EYES FOOTBALL SEASON: While sports wagering is official in Kansas effective July 1, Governor Laura Kelly said Monday she is optimistic state regulators will have live betting up and running as early as football season., Noah Taborda of Kansas Reflector reported. Kansans will be able to bet through the four state-owned casinos, which may use digital or in-person avenues. Under the supervision of the Kansas Lottery, as well as the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, casinos can start their own sportsbooks or partner with up to three online sportsbook operators to launch mobile platforms. Bally’s (BALY), DraftKings (DKNG), FanDuel and BetMGM have announced plans to partner with the state casinos. American Indian tribes can negotiate new or updated gaming compacts to include sports wagering, a process that is already underway, said Gov. Laura Kelly. “We’re not going to be balancing the budget on the revenues coming in from sports betting, but every little bit helps,” Kelly said. “It allows us to do things like fully fund our schools, fully fund our roads and expand broadband.”
SO CLOSE YET SO FAR: A mobile sports betting effort in North Carolina picked up serious momentum this week before falling short Wednesday evening, according to Pat Evans of Legal Sports Report. After speeding through three committees in less than a day, the North Carolina House held a tightly contested hearing on two sports betting bills. Representatives ultimately killed Senate Bill 688, platform bill that would have set up mobile sports betting in North Carolina, by a 51-50 second reading vote. A 59-44 reconsideration vote to send it back to the Rules, Calendar and Operations Committee failed shortly after that. The House then advanced companion bill SB 38 in its second reading Wednesday. North Carolina sports betting is reportedly dead for 2022 without SB 688. SB 688 passed the Senate and its first House committee in 2021. The legislation previously sat untouched for the first few weeks of the 2022 session despite apparent optimism.
ANALYST COMMENTARY: Morgan Stanley analyst Ed Young assumed coverage of DraftKings with an Overweight rating and $31 price target.
Deutsche Bank analyst Simon Davies raised the firm's price target on Flutter Entertainment to 13,820 GBp from 13,450 GBp and maintained a Buy rating on the shares.
Northland analyst Greg Gibas is increasing his 2022 estimates for Accel Entertainment (ACEL) to reflect the completion of the company's acquisition of Century Gaming, which added over 8,300 gaming terminals across Montana and Nevada along with design and manufacturing operations to Accel's portfolio. Though he noted that Century's business carries a lower margin profile, Gibas likes that Accel benefits from geographic diversification outside of Illinois and he keeps an Outperform rating and $18.50 price target on Accel shares.
JPMorgan analyst Joseph Greff reinstated coverage of Caesars (CZR) with an Overweight rating and price target of $59, down from $129, which offers 57% potential upside. The analyst views buy-side investor sentiment as "extremely negative" following the stock's sizeable decline. However, he sees "sizable" free cash flow generation ahead for Caesars, which he believes should go towards debt pay down. His positive thesis is based on the company growing EBITDAR from here.
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), Genius Sports (GENI), Las Vegas Sands (LVS), MGM Resorts (MGM), Penn National (PENN), Rush Street Interactive (RSI) and Wynn Resorts (WYNN).