February US Sports Betting Round-Up, by Ryan Knuppel, CEO, Knup Solutions

After a terrific 2020 year for sports betting in the United States, 2021 has already gotten off to a fast start. January was marked by the launch of online sports betting in Michigan and Virginia, and the announcement of another total betting handle record in November.

The Super Bowl was a huge day for sportsbooks in the United States, and even bigger days are on the horizon. Here is a quick look at four of the top sports betting stories that have already made headlines in February.

Kambi Takes Blame For Betting Outage

Most of the attention surrounding Super Bowl weekend will be around the record-setting number of transactions that were made, but there was also a major outage that affected three huge sportsbooks. Barstool Sportsbook, BetRivers, and DraftKings Sportsbook all suffered outages prior to kickoff, and Kambi has since taken the blame.

Kristian Nylen, CEO of Kambi, stated that “The issue experienced prior to kickoff was related to one particular bet offer for which we increased the number of possible outcomes especially for the Super Bowl.” Since Kambi is the technology provider for the three sportsbooks, it created a problem that took a long time to resolve.

According to Kambi, there was a total of 30 minutes in which no bets were accepted at all prior to kickoff. The issue was first discovered around 5:05 pm Eastern, and at one point all of the betting was shut down for 22 minutes straight.

GeoComply reported that sports betting transactions in the US nearly tripled from the Super Bowl in 2020, but traffic did not cause this outage. The issue was resolved prior to kickoff and all three sportsbooks were able to accept in-play bets throughout the game.

Penn National Targeting Illinois

The $163 million investment that Penn National Gaming made on Barstool Sports in 2020 appears to be paying off, and now that partnership is looking to expand. The Barstool Sportsbook app is already available in Pennsylvania and Michigan, but it will likely be available in Illinois before the start of March Madness.

Penn National CEO Jay Snowden laid out the 2021 plans for the company during the fourth-quarter earnings report. Illinois will be the site of the next launch, but Penn is planning to be in at least 10 states by the end of 2021.

Penn reported a $1.3 million loss in the “other” segment of the earnings report, and its interactive gaming falls under that category. This was actually a huge improvement as Penn suffered a $21.7 million loss during the fourth quarter in 2019.

Industry leaders project that it costs a sportsbook between $300 and $800 to acquire new customers after advertising and promotional bonuses are paid out. According to Snowden, Barstool is paying around $200 for each new customer, which will lead to huge profits for Penn National. 

Penn National has partnered with the Greektown Casino in Michigan, and the Barstool Sports personalities were on hand to promote the opening of the sportsbook in January. 

Bally’s Agrees to Purchase SportCaller

Acquisitions and mergers continue to shape the US sports betting industry, and Bally’s Corp. has been one of the most aggressive companies in this market. Earlier this month, Bally’s agreed to purchase SportCaller, a site that creates predictive games.

SportCaller is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland and it has an impressive list of clients including BetMGM, Entain, FanDuel, Paddy Power, and William Hill. This purchase by Bally’s will give the company a chance to expand its operations overseas after it has established itself in the US.

Previously, Bally’s agreed to purchase Bet.Works for $125 million, and now SportCaller will work with Bet.Works to launch free-to-play games. This new partnership will help expand the deal Bally’s has with the Sinclair Broadcast Group and they can target those states that don’t currently offer sports betting.

In making this announcement, Bally’s did not reveal the financial terms of this deal, but they were discovered after obtaining the 8-K Document filing with the SEC. Bally’s will pay $27.46 million in cash, and will also give SportCaller 221,391 shares of the company. 

Bally’s also recently purchased Monkey Knife Fight, the fastest-growing DFS operator in the US. 

StatHero Launches Rivals Sportsbook

StatHero, a company based in Scottsdale, Arizona recently announced the launching of the first-ever Daily Fantasy Sportsbook. The Rivals Sportsbook is now available in 32 states in the US, and provides a new twist to the traditional DFS industry.

In the official news release of this announcement, StatHero CEO Jason Jaramillo stated, “A one-on-one game versus the house creates an experience that operates just like a sportsbook, giving users in states where betting isn’t legal the experience that they’ve been clamouring for.” 

The Rivals Sportsbook is available for download on both Android and iOS devices and will give customers in states that have yet to legalize sports betting an experience that resembles a traditional sportsbook.

Users create the stakes for each game on Rivals Sportsbook, and this is a one-on-one game against the house. Rivals will reveal its DFS lineup each day, and customers can then create a team aiming to score more points.

There is no large prize pool with games at Rivals Sportsbook, and the winner will receive the entire prize. 

In September 20202, StatHero received seed funding from the Breslow Forsythe Group to help with this launch. StatHero officially launched its company in August 2020. 

This post was written by Ryan Knuppel, the founder and CEO of Knup Solutions LLC. Knup Solutions is an iGaming agency focused on creating & delivering high-quality sports betting content for the US market.


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