2020 was a huge year for the entire iGaming industry, with sports betting leading the charge. Sports betting handle continued to set new records last year, and that trend is expected to continue as the calendar flips to 2021.
There have already been some major stories developing in the sports betting industry as operators and states look to post another huge year. Many of the news stories involve companies looking to expand or acquire other entities in an effort to build up a presence in the growing industry.
MGM Submits Bid to Purchase Entain
Earlier this month, MGM Resorts International submitted a bid to purchase Entain PLC with an offer of $11 billion. Entain is a British gambling company that owns and operates Ladbrokes.
This latest offer comes with a stock options component after an initial all-cash offer of nearly $10 million was turned down. Entain has not yet accepted the offer from MGM Resorts, noting that it does not take into account the value of the company and its assets.
The largest shareholder of MGM Resorts, IAC/InterActiveCorp has backed the offer, but at this time, it does not appear that a deal is imminent. MGM Resorts is looking to continue to expand in the iGaming industry, and this would provide an avenue to do just that.
After turning down this offer from MGM Resorts, Shay Segev, Chief Executive Officer of Entain, has reportedly quit after just seven months on the job. He will remain with Entain for a period of six months before joining DAZN.
MGM Resorts International ended the 2020 year with its shares down nearly 5%, and the coronavirus pandemic has affected revenue for the company. MGM Resorts has launched the BetMGM online sports betting app that is now available in over ten states throughout the country.
Game Wager Looking For US Expansion
Esports is another industry that continues to grow in the United States, and Game Wager is hoping to take advantage of the growth. Game Wager has partnered with SCCG Management to help support its expansion into the US.
Game Wager is a British peer-to-peer platform that focuses on esports. It is licensed by the GB Gambling Commission, and now it will turn its focus to receiving a license in the United States.
The CEO of Game Wager, Mark Goddard, states, “We have been developing and refining our wagering platform in the United Kingdom for the past five years. Now is the time to take our software to the ever-expanding US esports market.” The mobile app is available for download on both Android and iOS devices in the UK, but will not be available in the US until it receives an initial license.
SCCG Management is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada, and it is a full-service consultancy agency that specializes in sports betting, technology, online wagering, and esports.
Peer-to-peer sports betting platforms have struggled to find footing in the United States, but Game Wager is hoping that tying that option with esports will prove to be successful.
Churchill Downs Inc Set to Re-Brand
Churchill Downs Inc. is a company that is looking to grow in the sports betting industry, and they are looking to re-brand in order to gain more recognition. CDI is currently operating under the BetAmerica sports betting platform but will be transitioning to TwinSpires in the coming months.
The first use of TwinSpires will be in the state of Michigan as Churchill Downs is expected to launch there later this month. An official launch date has not yet been announced, but January is a target date.
The rest of the transition will take place over the next five months as the rebranding will occur in Colorado, Indiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. CDI launched TwinSpires in 2007, and that is a widely recognizable name in the iGaming and sports betting industry.
Bill Mudd, chief operating officer of CDI stated, “We remain focused on building a profitable sports betting and iGaming business that provides our customers with an integrated experience alongside our horse racing wagering platform.” The company believes that rebranding to TwinSpires is the best way to accomplish the company’s goals.
CDI will also be using a sports betting platform powered by GAN and Kambi moving forward, moving on from its previous relationship with SBTech.
PlayUp Secures Access to New Jersey
PlayUp will continue its expansion into the United States by securing a sports betting license in the state of New Jersey. In order to gain access in New Jersey, PlayUp was able to secure a partnership with FR Park Racing LP.
PlayUp is an international operator that is already offering daily fantasy sports, horse racing, and sports betting options in Australia, India, and New Zealand. A Colorado sports betting license has already been acquired by the company as it looks to make a big move in the United States.
The FR Park Racing LP is the sports betting operator of Freehold Racetrack in New Jersey. Most of the sports betting licenses in NJ have already been spoken for, and the state is the top sports betting market in the US.
There are over 300,000 users in Australia on the PlayUp Sports and Racing Global Betting platform that was launched in 2019. It is unclear when PlayUp will look to launch sports betting in New Jersey, or what software provider will be used to power the sportsbook.
This article was written by Ryan Knuppel. Ryan is the founder and CEO of Knup Solutions — a full service sports betting content agency focused on delivering value in the US market. They also sell gambling domains at PremiumGamblingDomains.com!