EPISODE 190 | LSR Podcast

How High Can Hold Go? | Sports Betting News Today


45 min
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How High Can Hold Go? | Sports Betting News Today | LSR Podcast 190

Join us today on the Legal Sports Report podcast for the latest sports betting news and updates. We break down the hold rate of the US sports betting industry with numbers and insight from Eric Ramsey. A new coalition forms to rein in sports betting advertising, Fanatics Sportsbook is coming for real, and we break down the first revenue and handle numbers out of Massachusetts.

Full transcript

Matt Brown (00:09):

Hello and welcome to the LSR Podcast number 190. Guys …

Dustin Gouker (00:15):

Wait, is it?

Matt Brown (00:16):


Eric Ramsey (00:18):

Matt, it’s just because you weren’t here-

Dustin Gouker(00:19):

I have 189.

Dustin Gouker (00:19):

That’s just because you weren’t here last time.

Matt Brown (00:22):

That’s just because you weren’t here.

Dustin Gouker (00:23):

Oh, my God.

Matt Brown (00:24):

I made some emphasis. I made some emphasis on this because Dustin Gouker, who’s with us back again with us this week, made the rundown and he put 189 in there. I had to scream at the top of my lungs in the beginning that this was number 190. I’m going to point out your first error right here off the top, Dustin Gouker.

Dustin Gouker (00:41):

Well, 189 is not on the website, so …

Matt Brown (00:41):

Oh, really?

Dustin Gouker (00:41):

Well, it’s not on the-

Matt Brown (00:41):


Dustin Gouker (00:42):

So there’s a problem somewhere.

Matt Brown (00:48):


Dustin Gouker (00:48):

I’m just going off of the information in front of me.

Matt Brown (00:51):


Eric Ramsey (00:51):


Matt Brown (00:52):

Oh, boy.

Eric Ramsey (00:52):

It’s almost like Adam is on vacation-

Matt Brown (00:53):

Eric, what’s going on?

Eric Ramsey (00:54):

Too, huh?

Matt Brown (00:56):

Oh, goodness gracious. Well, I’m pretty sure this is 190.

Dustin Gouker (01:00):

You need to sort it out because we’re coming up on 200. We got to get that right.

Matt Brown (01:03):

I know. It’s like, I’m pretty sure this is 190, but let’s say, let’s call this 189 1/2 and then we’ll just, yeah, we can just either round up or round down, whatever, next one. But, yes, I do have two of the brightest minds in all of the industry with me. I have Dustin Gouker. I have Eric Ramsey. You can follow them on the Twitter machine, and you should. It’s free @DustinGouker, @EricRamsey. If you hate yourself, you can follow me @MattBrownM2. We are going to talk about a story a coming out about maybe some advertising limitations going on. We’ll talk about PointsBet. Because, listen, we always talk about PointsBet. Fanatics, what’s going to go on there. We’ll get some state updates, as well. But, Eric Ramsey, let’s kick things off here and talk about hold.

The hold rate of the US sports betting industry

Eric Ramsey (01:46):

Yeah, let’s talk about hold. I think this comes from a story I have on LSR this week just starting to … We’re almost five years into this thing now, and we’re starting to see some actual trends in the data that we’ve suspected, or been looking for or didn’t realize were happening. One of them I just happened to be noticing as I was looking at charts is that hold has been ticking up pretty steadily since, for about the past four years. What caught my eye was a string of 10-plus percent months for some of the states and some of the operators that got me looking at it in a little more depth. The short story is we started from about 5.5% hold in Nevada prior to the repeal of PASPA, and new markets that have launched are holding significantly more than that, upwards of 10% in most cases.


Not picking on anyone here, but if we’re going to look at the operators individually, it’s really FanDuel that is driving the majority of this increase. They have held double-digit percent of bets nationwide for the last eight months and nine of the last 10. Very few other operators are doing that. Obviously, I’m sure we’ll talk more about this, but we have some sense of why this is happening. We’re seeing an increase in same-game parlays and an influx of newer bettors. All of this really just speaks to something we’ve been talking about now for a long time, operators trying to find a way to turn this lucrative business into actual profit for their shareholders and investors. Seeing some of the maturation of the market in that regard with operators re-approaching things and re-imagining the way they’re conducting business to try to make their shareholders some money, essentially.

Matt Brown (03:25):

Dustin, one of the things that we hear all the time about, we have some sportsbooks that are certainly not afraid to take some shots here and there at some of the other sportsbooks that are out there. One of the things that they do talk about is the hold. Some of these sportsbooks do brag about that they have lower hold. That their theoretical hold is much lower and that’s just why that they are the better sportsbook to bet at and different things like that. I’m wondering as we do get to more, again, we’re still in the infancy. I know that we’ve been living and breathing this for several years, so it just seems like everyone should know this and everyone … But I do wonder as education, maturation of the industry does come along, that the hold … Because we saw this in DFS.


Remember, Dustin, as you and I were covering this very, very intently where it was like everyone just played at first and no one cared. Then it started to be like, “Wait, man. The rake is pretty high in DFS.” Then that became an actual thing. I do wonder, as we progress here in sports betting, if some of the people start going, “Wait a minute. How come I carry the one and add this up and then carry … Hold this … Wait, that doesn’t add up to me.”

Dustin Gouker (04:33):

Yeah, this whole thing, really good story by Eric breaking this trend down across the United States market right now. There’s a lot that goes into this. We could spend a lot more time talking about this, I’m sure. But where I come at it from is more hold is not necessarily bad. This is just reflecting customer choice right now. Customers want, we say this a lot, customers want parlays and same-game parlays.

Matt Brown (04:56):


Dustin Gouker (04:56):

They want to bet a small amount of money to win a lot of money. They do not want to grind 110 sides for, yeah, it’s less than double your money. They’ve sought this out. Now, in the long term, is this good for the ecosystem, I think, is what we’re going to find out. Are we churning players at a rate that is not sustainable? That remains to be seen. Because if people are losing more money faster, are they then quitting, or not being regular customers, or their lifetime value is lower? We don’t know the answer to any of that right now. But, I can tell you right now, consumer choice is for the higher hold products that people are betting in game, again, higher, vague -115, sometimes higher depending on what the sport is and where it’s being placed.


Then parlay, same-game parlays, regular parlays. We can rail against the hold that these are bad bets all we want, and we can educate people to that, but that is what the customer has said they wanted. It is quite clear at this point that that’s what they want and they want to bet this way. Again, the outstanding question is whether this is good for the long-term health of the industry, and I don’t think we have that answer yet.

Eric Ramsey (06:03):

It’s not a case yet of operators taking advantage of customers, I don’t think. We may get to that point and there are isolated cases of that, but, for the most part, like Dustin said, this is what customers want and this is what shareholders have come to expect.

Matt Brown (06:16):

Yeah. It’s a product of the market. Yeah, it’s just a product of the market. I think the one thing that we can look at where their operators can be a little less greedy is in these futures pools and in the futures markets. That is where some of the hold gets a little egregious. You start looking in, and I don’t want to scare people off, but you start looking in at what the hold percentages are in a golf tournament or something like that. You bet into this and then you realize, oh, wow, that is an incredible amount of built-in hold there.


It’s one of those deals where I think they can be a little less greedy in these futures pools, for sure. But the hold, as Dustin mentioned, hold overall isn’t necessarily a bad thing because it’s just a product of people making bets that they find fun, but they’re not necessarily as EV as maybe a sophisticated bettor would make when it comes down to it, Eric. But this has always been the deal.


I know we mentioned DFS a little bit earlier. But the reason the Millionaire Maker Tournament was the most popular tournament, and still is the most popular tournament, on the various DFS sites. Whereas, people want to bet a little to win a lot. It’s always been that way. It’s the reason the lottery still exists. It’s the reason all of this … We can pound our fists all day. “Shouldn’t be making these bets. These are bad bets.” We can do that all day long, but it’s not going to change anything. It’s not going to change the actions of the general public who really and truly isn’t taking this all that seriously. They just want a little bit of sweat when it comes down to the game that they’re going to watch later that night.

Eric Ramsey (07:40):

It’s amusing – the parallels between DFS I think are really valid. Obviously, we’re talking about DraftKings and FanDuel here, which is amusing by itself. But also, I think, one of the qualms with DFS rake was the lack of transparency. It was hidden in the contest buy-ins, and I think we’re seeing something similar with sports betting. You’re talking about the over-round on golf markets that is hidden and not really transparent to bettors. We may see more of a push for the transparency along the same lines we saw with DFS. Last point I’ll make about this, it’s also worth mentioning that a lot of this increase in hold is coming from the operator’s own money. It’s promotional money in a lot of cases for these new markets, that is being given back to the operators, essentially. So some of this on-paper hold is a little more inflated than it looks like, too, just as a counterpoint to myself.

Dustin Gouker (08:28):

One last point on all of this is I think the one thing you can question the books on is how much they push this stuff. Again, I think the worst part of this is social media, like 15-leg parlay, $5 to win $800,000, whatever. I think that, I made that one up, maybe somebody did that, but those are the ones you see. But for every one of those, there are thousands, tens of thousands, of single-game parlays and parlays that lose. It would be nice to see a little bit more transparency on that. There’s been much to do about FanDuel and DraftKings and others putting these same-game parlays right in your face. I’ll say, as a relatively lazy sports bettor who just wants some action, I see those little boxes on DraftKings that say, here, here’s this little pre-made same-game parlay. I’m like, “I don’t want to spend five minutes doing a same game parlay that probably has zero chance of hitting anyway. I’ll click that button and bet $5 on it.”


That’s – again, you can say that’s bad and you’re pushing people to it, but it’s, again, even though I’m in the industry, I’ve been, I’m a casual bettor. I don’t spend a lot of time researching. I just want to put a little bit of money down. I’m probably a net loser, I think, over the three years they’ve had it here in Oregon, but that is what people want. People don’t want to spend, I don’t want to spend five, 10 minutes putting together a same-game parlay if, hey, this looks interesting, I’m going to watch this game. Here, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson to make a bunch of threes, sure. I don’t know, these people who are saying they’re betting the same-game parlays and losing, man, I’m picking the right ones because I’m like 50% on hitting these little parlays they put up. Maybe you’re just not picking the right ones. Because I have a pretty good record in the recent weeks in the NBA playoffs using these prebuilt, same-game parlays.

Matt Brown (10:13):

See, listen, this is, hey, Eric. This is another thing we should look at. Maybe it’s just people are clicking the wrong one.

Eric Ramsey (10:18):

Or maybe I just need to-

Matt Brown (10:18):

This is not necessarily, yeah.

Eric Ramsey (10:19):

I guess we should both be tailing Dustin’s SGPs, huh?

Matt Brown (10:23):

Listen, dustintout.com is coming out pretty soon in August, I think, right before the NFL season, dustintouts.com. You can get in for just the cheap, cheap price of $1,999.95 for the season and he’ll give you his same-game parlay picks.


Dustin, this is something that came out this morning over at ESPN. Our friend, David Purdum, did put out an article about these sports leagues. It’s almost as if somebody had been listening to this podcast or something like that over the last year or so when it comes down to it. But the sports leagues have come together and started to … Listen, this is a good thing in my opinion. Because we always said it’s way better to get out in front of something than it is to try and play catch-up. At least they are going to address early on here any concerns there might be with the advertising for sportsbooks.

New coalition forms to rein in sports betting advertising

Dustin Gouker (11:11):

I think Sam has one up at Legal Sports Report now, too, about this. But, yeah, a group, Coalition for Responsible Sports Betting Advertising, basically started by a bunch of the major leagues, all the regional suspects plus a few; NFL, NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball, WNBA, NASCAR, MLS and NBC and Fox have come together to put together what they believe is going to be some standards for responsible advertising during league games and on the television stations that do this. This will, hopefully, become a proxy for what happens in the larger market. This group does not say the sportsbooks themselves are a part of this. But they’re, obviously, going to be part and parcel with this. If the media outlets and the leagues say, “This is how you’re going to do it.” I think that’s how they’re all going to do it.


This comes at the exact right time. People were very skeptical that anything like this was going to happen. I was and we were, as well. But this is a great step in terms of messaging where we see people just coming down on the volume and content of advertising, especially on TV. That’s the one that gets the eyeballs and what people complain about. Now we’re seeing somebody taking a step and saying, “Hey, we’re going to take a look at this. We’re going to need to probably limit it. We’re going to curate how it appears.” Because it has been a free-for-all.


It has been whatever goes and whatever the sportsbooks want to pay. The leagues say, “Hey, we’ll take the money from a partnership.” And the teams do that. We’re finally seeing something that has a chance to succeed in terms of reversing the messaging, so I’m really pleased to see this before it got too late. Because we say this all the time on this podcast that we needed something like this. It’s great to see that somebody here has the blessing of the National Council on Problem Gambling, as well. So really good stuff and hopefully this makes a difference in the messaging and the volume and tone and content of sports betting advertising in the US.

Matt Brown (13:13):

Eric, six core principles in this. Sports betting should be marketed only to adults of legal betting age. Sports betting advertising should not promote irresponsible or excessive gambling or degrade the customer experience. Sports betting advertisements should not be misleading. Sports betting advertisements should be in good taste. Publishers should have appropriate internal reviews of sports betting advertising. Then, finally, publishers should review consumer complaints pertaining to sports betting advertising.


Now, we have seen here and there some of the things already be addressed separately and on their own. We’ve talked about the advertisers not being misleading. We’ve talked about the wordings being changed in some of these advertising, the risk-free bets or notes, whatever, that’s all been gone by the wayside. Some of these things have been addressed at least on the side. But to have it all in one place, to have all of these leagues come in and say this, and to have this now in front of the operators to now … Listen, there’s no real excuses anymore.


Not that any of these were being horribly violated as it was anyway, though the irresponsible gambling stuff, we’ve already hit on the Barstool stuff several times, so no need to beat a dead horse there. But you go on and the can’t lose parlays and things like that, it’s irresponsible and also misleading a little bit with all of that. But, again, I’m very happy that the leagues themselves decided to get together and then get in front of something here that I don’t really feel has been that big of a problem so far. But, again, it’s a slippery slope and now we have at least something in place.

Eric Ramsey (14:42):

Optics vary. Optics are as important as reality in this whole thing. The fact that something is being done that looks good on paper is a good step by itself. I think as you’re reading those six points, we can all pick out the case study, the brands that match those points and the little instances of the little mishaps we’ve had along the way here. Yeah, your point is well taken. This is a very good time for this. I also think that having the sports … There are other responsible advertising codes. We have the AGA that oversees a lot of these companies, as well, and regulators, obviously, too.


Something about having the leagues and the broadcast entities involved in this gives it a little bit more weight to me or a little, at least optically, it comes from a little bit of a different place than gambling companies trying to police themselves. I think, in that way, having the leagues’ backing is important and they managed to do it without needing to collect an integrity fee to make this thing possible. So it’s nice to see them returning some of this windfall back into the-

Dustin Gouker (15:52):

Wait, wait. Eric, you can do things without integrity fees? That’s absolutely amazing.

Eric Ramsey (15:56):

I can’t believe it.

Matt Brown (15:56):

Dustin, here’s the thing. I’m glad it stopped at six points and not seven because if we’d have gotten to seven points and it said JB Smoove could not dress up as Caesar as far … Then this would not, I would not back this. I would be against this. I’d be against all of this. Get the hell out of here with that. But it stopped at six thank God. Because if it got to seven and I couldn’t have my JB Smoove dressed up as Caesar, then this would just be a very, very terrible thing for me.

Eric Ramsey (16:20):

Yeah, we have to have JB Smoove. We cannot move forward without him.

Dustin Gouker (16:24):

I will just take this opportunity-

Matt Brown (16:26):

No, this is, he is-

Eric Ramsey (16:26):

I’ll throw it out there. Ontario is considering banning celebrity advertisers and athletes, too, that … We’re joking about this, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that something like that gets looked at in the future, too.

Matt Brown (16:39):

But if it’s a celebrity dressed up as someone else, I guess Caesar could be considered a celebrity. I guess if Caesar himself were endorsing a sportsbook then, I guess, that would also fall under that. Eric, OK, good job. Good job on that.

Eric Ramsey (16:53):

Sorry to be pedantic.

Matt Brown (16:53):

I’ll agree with you.

Eric Ramsey (16:54):

Someone had to do it.

Matt Brown (16:55):

Yeah, I know. It is what it is. Dustin, look, for what? Three years now we’ve been talking about basically since PointsBet was a thing, we’ve been wondering whether they were going to sell or not, or who would be interested in them and what would be going on. Now, we finally get to a point where it looks like that might be at least in the works here, at least on the state side of things.

Dustin Gouker (17:15):

Yeah, I’ll toss to Eric because it’s supposed to be, Eric’s. Got a big E next to it.

Matt Brown (17:19):

Oh, there’s an Eric next to this one. Eric-

Eric Ramsey (17:21):

I’ll tell you about it.

Matt Brown (17:22):

The PointsBet, yes, the PointsBet sale and, again, this is something where we look at this and I’m not necessarily sure this is going to be one of the players that I think most people outside of the industry would just point to and say like, “Oh, yeah, well it’ll probably be this person, or this person or whatever.” Because so much crossover between PointsBet’s clientele and all the clientele that the major guys have, it’s probably got to be somebody from the outside, right?

Eric Ramsey (17:51):

Yeah. What this … There’s really not a ton of actual news here. What this is a report that PointsBet is working with an investment bank in Australia considering actually selling its US assets. Again, this is something we’ve suspected might be coming for a long time, but it looks like maybe there’s some forward steps going on here. We have to think about the assets that PointsBet had and they’re not insignificant. They, obviously, have their own tech, which is something unique. They have a product that’s differentiated in the market. They have market access to 14 states. There aren’t a whole lot of brands in the country that can boast something like that. Partnership with NBC, as well. Now, that’s a pretty coveted partnership in the world of sports and gaming, so a lot going for them.


That being said, they have not really leveraged that into anything productive in the US market so far. We don’t gather that they have a large database of customers and have, honestly, been scaling back on some of their partnerships, so it’s a little … There’s no answers here. I think we’re all wondering who might be interested in what parts of this business and what might be valuable to who out of this deal. But at least it looks like maybe there’s some interest, some people kicking the tires maybe of PointsBet.

Matt Brown (19:09):

Because, Dustin, we look at this and it’s, OK, you would be acquiring them pretty much for the tech, which we’ve mentioned several different times. The app works pretty great. The app is good. I think that the app is … I’ve used every single app on the planet, and I would, certainly, if I was making the shortlist, PointsBet would be up there. I don’t know if you’re acquiring them necessarily for the customer base that’s already there. Because, again, if it’s not going to be DraftKings, it’s not going to be FanDuel, it’s not going to be MGM, it’s not going to be Caesars.


None of these companies are going to be acquiring PointsBet. They all have their own tech. They already have massive databases as it is, anyway. PointsBet doesn’t bring a whole lot to the table for any of these other than just eliminating a competitor, which the price tag that’s going to be attached isn’t going to be worth it. In your opinion, is this now are we looking at … Because, look, we’ve seen these private equity firms come in and buy distressed casinos and do different things like that. Are we getting to a point now where maybe it’s not even a gaming company, per se, that comes in and looks at a PointsBet and says, “Oh, OK, that’s who we’re going to acquire.” Maybe it’s somebody else who just wants to get into the space.

Dustin Gouker (20:15):

I do this with not any real knowledge of who else might be kicking tires outside or in the street.

Matt Brown (20:19):

Yes, we’re speculating, yeah, yeah.

Dustin Gouker (20:22):

But, yeah, it would make a ton of sense for somebody who’s not in, who wants a piece of this. A legacy media company or something come in and say, “Hey, this is attractive.” The bottom line is PointsBet, I think, increasingly doesn’t have the will to compete. It does not have the cash to burn. The deal with NBC Sports we know they scaled that back because, obviously, because they don’t want to … And put off some of the money because they don’t have that, they don’t really just want to spend that money right now. They’ve spent a lot of money to get 3% of the market right now, which is, I think, according to Eric’s estimates, like sixth or seventh in the US, which is fine. But there’s not really much of a growth story here.


I don’t know, I feel, this is just anecdotal, but I feel like there’s way more rallying against PointsBet and the customer experience than there are some of these others right now. I feel like I see more people complaining about PointsBet. PointsBet was seen as a consumer-friendly brand early on and, right now, I don’t think it really is, at least according to the Twitter machine if you believe those folks. People getting limited and just everything about it. I just see more negative about that customer experience, so I don’t know if you’re really, are you acquiring the brand to do that? I don’t think you’re doing that either. It’ll be interesting to see what comes of this, but I think it has boiled down to, PointsBet, we’ve always thought PointsBet was an exit. That they were probably not going to be one of the winners, but they’re attractive as an M&A, and an exit would always be probably the best answer for them long-term.

Matt Brown (21:58):

Eric, yeah. I follow the same people Dustin does. Certainly, it seems as though, we know they’ve been cost cutting. We know they’ve been trying to pull back on things. We know that, certainly, probably means limiting big-time winning bettors. There’s probably a lot of that that’s been going on for this money saving that they’ve been doing. I don’t know if Points … That said, I still think you could acquire PointsBet and probably get some goodwill with customers from someone if they came in and like, “Hey, we’re doing things differently now.” But, at the end of the day, this is probably a tech play which is, again, an app that works pretty well. Big market, big, certainly big. Definitely one of the bigger menus out there as far as everything goes. This is probably just going to be a tech play for someone.

Eric Ramsey (22:42):

I think so, and Bally’s is another name that’s been tossed out there in the rumor mill. It makes some sense in a lot of ways for Bally’s. They already have a relationship on the casino side. There’s the RSN situation with Bally’s and PointsBet, as well.


I will just throw out the fact that I think market access is being a little undervalued in this equation. It depends on the price tag. All of what we’re talking about depends on what PointsBet wants for their business. But they have access to New York. There are only nine companies with access to New York. Like I said, they have 14 states. If you’re looking for a turnkey operation, that’s certainly valuable. But if you’re just looking for a big footprint and you already have your own tech, that’s valuable to me, too. Particularly in New York, particularly for companies that are interested in iGaming in the future. There’s just, I don’t want to just dismiss their market access as maybe their most valuable asset, in my eyes.

Matt Brown (23:37):

Anyone out there that is going to be looking-

Eric Ramsey (23:40):

Dustin. Dustin wants to say something but he’s on mute.

Dustin Gouker (23:41):

I want to say, sorry, I got muted. Maybe I think Matt’s muting me because-

Matt Brown (23:45):

I am muting you. We’re getting back, we’re getting a little background noise. It’s fine. When you’re not talking, we’re just muting you.

Dustin Gouker (23:50):

That’s all right.

Matt Brown (23:51):

It’s all good.

Dustin Gouker (23:53):

Now, I don’t take it personally.

Matt Brown (23:54):


Dustin Gouker (23:54):

Can we go into the voiding stuff? Because PointsBet started this. It’s funny, this whole trend about voiding players who get injured. The Karma Kommittee was the big thing.

Matt Brown (24:06):


Dustin Gouker (24:06):

Oh, PointsBet’s going to refund because this player didn’t play or got hurt early and now we have this, I don’t know, it feels way worse in the last six … Again, everything seems different/worse in the last six months to me. But now anybody gets hurt and it’s at least, again, on Twitter. I assume, I don’t know, maybe it’s less, maybe it’s more on Twitter than other places, but it’s as soon as something happens, Giannis gets hurt, void Giannis. Or anybody does something, it voids one thing. A sportsbook voids something because somebody got hurt early and they’re like, “What about this guy? What about this guy?” PointsBet is the one who … I don’t think they do it anymore. I don’t know. Is the Karma Kommittee even still-

Eric Ramsey (24:44):

I don’t see Karma Kommittee tweets at least.

Dustin Gouker (24:45):

A thing that convenes? It’s funny, they created this culture and a bunch of other books picked up on it, and now we’re left with people just complaining every time. Again, I’m all for the sportsbooks marketing their stuff however they want. I’m not here to say it’s good or bad, but they’ve, at least on social media, they’ve created this culture of expectation of voiding bets when people don’t play.


I’m like, this is why people are, I think, calling it out for so long. This is bad for business. Anytime something doesn’t go right with your player or your team now you say, “Oh, I should get that bet back.” That’s not a great user experience when you create that expectation and then people complain about it. You’re creating … You didn’t have to do this. You could have just never voided anything and then you wouldn’t be in this predicament. But I think there’s some negative UX here now because of what has started. Again, it started with PointsBet. I won’t put all the blame on PointsBet because DraftKings and FanDuel jumped in willingly, too. But it’s funny in retrospect that they were one of the ones who started this trend.

Matt Brown (25:49):

Eric, I’m not a financial adviser by any stretch of the imagination, but I will give a tip to anybody out there. If they’re going to buy it, pay in Australian dollars as opposed to American dollars. You’re going to get more bang for the buck whenever you do this, so whenever they ask for a price tag, you negotiate and you be like, “Now, we’re paying this in Australian dollars, right? We’re not paying this in US dollars.” I think that that’s a good way that you can get this for a little bit cheaper. Just wanted to throw that out there.

Eric Ramsey (26:14):

Not the worst idea.

Fanatics Sportsbook is coming for real

Matt Brown (26:15):

Australian dollar, yeah, yeah. Just one of those deals. Listen, I’m trying to help out the people who are going to be going after PointsBet whenever we’re trying to do. All right, Dustin, so another company that we talk about a ton, and this is actually some real news. We have action, we have things that are happening with Fanatics.

Dustin Gouker (26:34):

Is it news? I don’t know. I feel like, again, this is where I feel like-

Matt Brown (26:36):

They’re in testing. That’s news. That’s news.

Dustin Gouker (26:38):

Yeah, we’ve been saying they’re closed for a year. I swear you go … You deal with this in April of 2022. You’re like, “Fanatics is going to launch soon.” Maybe not. Maybe not a year ago but, yes, they’re Fanatics Sportsbook, apparently, beta testing in Ohio and Tennessee at a recent event. They also said they’re going to be in 12 states, I believe, by NFL season. I don’t know; it’s April. It’s getting a little late to be in 12 states, but maybe it’s possible. I presume they’re not blowing smoke up all our asses, but, yeah, I guess we’re going to get Fanatics by NFL season. See what this database is worth.


We’ve been talking this up for a long time, and there’s a minimum amount of ways that things can get disrupted in the US market, and Fanatics is, arguably, one of the players who can disrupt. Again, I’m a seller that they’re going to come instantly and disrupt. But they obviously believe they can and that their database of users is going to start betting on sports pretty quickly, so it’ll be interesting to see. They’ve obviously put a bunch of resources and time and effort into this. They have the war chest do it, and it’ll be really … Once they actually get live for real in these states and apparently another 10 more by the NFL season, then we have a real comp for us to look at and see is this moving the needle and are they going to … Can they break into that top three, four in short order? Or are they going to be on that lower Barstool, PointsBet? I don’t know. Who else is in that tier?

Matt Brown (28:01):


Dustin Gouker (28:01):

BetRivers, yeah, are they in that 4% to 5% share? How does that affect everyone else? Are they taking share? Are they growing the market? There’s a lot to come out of this.

Matt Brown (28:13):

We also have some news coming out about Betr, which is not a company we’ve spent a ton of time here on the podcast talking about, but they did put out a press release that they have come to an agreement with some news spokespeople.

Dustin Gouker (28:27):

I take this … We also did a story, Pat Evans did a nice story talking to the CEO of Betr. Again, I think I said this on this, I’m not sure what Betr is doing. I don’t know that any of this is going to turn into the path of gold. I could be very wrong but he-

Matt Brown (28:42):

You read the press release, Dustin, and you wonder if they really get it because they’re touting that the bulk of the audience is 21 to 34 years old. It’s like, “Hey, we have all the poor people. We have all the poor sports bettors.” It’s like, no, that’s not something to advertise. “We have all the people who just now are getting started in their career, so they have very little expendable income, no disposable income.” No, that’s not what you want to be telling people, but that’s like touted in this press release.

Dustin Gouker (29:07):

Anyway, the news is that a couple of twins, Haley and Hanna Cavinder, who played for Miami, are not going to school anymore, forgetting their last year of college, to go and they’ll do a podcast doing content with Betr again only, is this only live in Ohio still, Eric, right?

Eric Ramsey (29:28):


Dustin Gouker (29:28):

I think?

Eric Ramsey (29:28):

Yeah, beta testing in two other states but live in Ohio.

Dustin Gouker (29:32):

Only really live, yeah, but it’s interesting and it’s certainly different. It’s a different audience. We always lament that female audience, women’s sports fans and women’s sports are not really, aren’t taken as seriously. We saw, obviously, a moment with the NCAA tournament this year with just unprecedented interest. It’s interesting with that backdrop of saying, “Oh, we’re concentrating on women’s sports a little bit more.” And do all that but does this move the needle in terms of establishing a brand? You already have, in theory, one of the best influencers you have in Jake Paul. Am I crazy? I never see Jake Paul doing anything with Betr. Maybe he’s waiting, keeping his powder dry until they’re in more states. But if your value is supposed to be tied up in one product, which is micro-betting, this different thing. Then you have already this great influencer who should be able to drive some amount of interest and it’s not happening.


We’ve been told wait and see. I don’t know, this, again, interesting. But is this the path to Betr, again, breaking into that … Right now, Betr is not even a rounding error in Ohio. They’re not even close to being in that second tier that we talked about, let alone a third tier. They’re in some other tier that barely even registers, so is any of this going to move the needle? I don’t know. They have to do something that’s a little different.


Maybe I’m just too curmudgeonly, but I just don’t see where this is all going that’s going to lead to Betr becoming anything more than it is. It needs Jake Paul out there touting it every day, and instead he is going to be touting another and preparing for another B league fight that is garbage that people will pay pay-per-view money for, I presume. But he’s not … He’s involved, but he’s not really, I don’t see any evidence that he’s involved. That’s the part that makes me scratch my head when I say, “What is Betr doing if they have Jake Paul on their side and not much is coming of that?”

Matt Brown (31:32):

Eric, we look at this and in this press release and, again, like I say, you have to say something. You have to say some things that make you seem big. It says that Betr has already generated over 900 million impressions and 50 million engagements across the social channels. Cool. Cool, I guess. If that’s what you’re bragging about, cool. But nothing to do with how many customers they got or whatever, market share, nothing. It’s just, “Hey, we have a lot of social impressions.”

Eric Ramsey (32:01):

They talk a lot about how famous their influencers are, too, which, great, cool.

Matt Brown (32:07):

Yeah, I know. It’s like I know. Just, all right. That’s fine, I suppose, but I don’t really know-

Eric Ramsey (32:12):

I will say, their product is good. The user interface at least is enjoyable to use. I’m not convinced that micro-betting alone is enough to sustain a business in this climate. I think I’ll have to wait and see what it looks like when they build out a more traditional product. But even with Jake Paul, I guess I’m just skeptical about this, I guess, business model, we’ll call it. This path they’re choosing to go influencer heavy. They’ve mentioned the name Barstool, so I don’t feel like it’s an unfair comparison. We haven’t seen this work with Barstool. Dave Portnoy is arguably over-involved with the sportsbook. He’s everywhere that you see Barstool Sportsbook. They have yet to really turn that into a meaningful impact in the States. I’m just, until I see it happen, I’m just skeptical.

Matt Brown (33:04):

Yeah, Eric, to, again, not to pile on, but outside of just Portnoy himself, all of the main characters, if you will, all of the principal guys in the various departments and stuff at Barstool all have hundreds of thousands if not millions of social media followers. They all have an audience. They all have what Betr is touting here. Like you said, it hasn’t really shown up for them, so we will see how that all plays out. Again, dustintouts.com is going to prove that you don’t have to have just millions and millions of followers in order to make a bunch of money in this. So Dustin’s same-game parlay touts, right?

Dustin Gouker (33:42):

You got it. It’s coming. I’m going to make infinity money.

The first revenue and handle numbers out of Massachusetts

Matt Brown (33:46):

All right, Eric, let’s talk a little bit about Massachusetts and some numbers.

Eric Ramsey (33:50):

We got numbers. March was the first partial month of legal online betting there. We got the report this week. It’s really good. Almost $600 million in handle for the month of March. Again, only three weeks of online betting in there. That is larger than we would’ve expected, but, again, we expect it to be larger than we expect somehow these days. We know that a lot of this was driven by promos. All of these numbers that I’m telling you are really meaningless without that information. There is about just shy of $50 million in operator revenue combined. But, again, we don’t know how much of that revenue came from the operators themselves.


What everyone is latching onto is DraftKings has the market share lead there, 44% of the handle compared to 31% for FanDuel. The other thing they’re latching onto is that FanDuel out-revenued DraftKings. However, again, there’s really not … It’s difficult to read much into these numbers, but in raw terms, in GGR, FanDuel earned more revenue than DraftKings did, which dovetails with what we talked about with hold earlier. But, all in all, good start for the Massachusetts market. Looks like it’s on pace to do something like Indiana, Virginia numbers this year, about $4.5 billion in handle. Yeah, we’re off and running in Mass.

Matt Brown (35:04):

Dustin, I want you to take us home here. Give us your thoughts there on Massachusetts. Also, some news and notes on Oklahoma and Texas.

Dustin Gouker (35:13):

The one that sticks out, I’m a confirmed Barstool hater, obviously. But Barstool is a Boston brand, had touted this is the market they’re going to break through. They over indexed by 1% on the market. That’s crazy and not great. Again, they were, what? Third in the market, right, Eric, I think if I’m pulling it up, the number? Fourth, behind MGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, Barstool. They beat WynnBET, which has an existing casino, so a little bit of … But they were like, “Oh, this is the state where we’re going to break through.” There’s no evidence that they broke through at all, and they just did what they normally do, which, again, is crazy. They’re a Boston brand. They’re not as connected because the headquarters is now in New York. They’re moving to Chicago, I guess, later this year. But it’s crazy that this Massachusetts-identifying Boston brand … Portnoy obviously identifies as that, didn’t really break through.


You could see this coming, and I wrote about this separately outside of our network, but what is next for Barstool? If you can’t come into Boston in Massachusetts and even come close to breaking into that top three, it’s cringey to me, I think, that you can’t. Because, again, I think I would imagine that Barstool, the employees there are like, “What happened? How are we not better than fourth in this market?” Again, only pulling in what we do everywhere else, kind of crazy. But, yeah, a couple states to check in on.


Oklahoma. Unfortunately for anybody, any listeners in Oklahoma, dead this year. There had been a chance that we get something passed this year. Things had looked promising earlier this year, but a bill had passed the House, deadline across. It was kept alive but didn’t cross into the Senate. It did cross into the Senate but never got any action there. Hopefully, Oklahoma at least has set the stage. Sometimes these are multi-year processes that we can see doing a little bit better, other than that.


Then Texas, again, on life support is the news here that it does. Just every time Mike writes about this, Mike Mazzeo, writes about it, “It’s here. It’s not dead.” But it’s just long odds to move out of the center right now. Everybody’s saying bad things that there’s just not support for this. That even though the sports teams all support this here, that does not move the needle enough to get action, which is again crazy when you have the likes of Jerry Jones and Mark Cuban behind this and they’re not able to even force a vote on this. I guess, maybe, forcing a vote as we learned in California might not be great to force a vote in the Senate when we have absolutely zero support.


Right now we’re looking like it’s not dead but I don’t know. It’s a really heavy underdog right now to get something done this year. Again, as we always say, Texas is the one now we’re waiting two years. It doesn’t get done this year because they only meet every two years, the legislature. Hopefully, this leads to more discussions, but we thought all the discussions that took place in the off years here were going to lead to real progress. It did, but it’s still, just doesn’t look promising for Texas to get anything done this year.

Matt Brown (38:28):

Eric, I’ll admit I was off base on Texas. I thought for sure with having a whole year to rally around this, the power that is within that state. Dustin didn’t even mention Tilman Fertitta, who is also there, as well. Another multi-billionaire guy with a ton of power, put in a $5.6 billion bid to try to buy the Washington Commanders and all that. Another dude with the juice and you have all of these guys and all of these voices that are really and truly behind this and in support of this. If you read some of these straw polls, as well, some are as high as, I don’t believe that I saw one that said 73% of Texans support sports betting.


But I did see one that said 61% of Texans, and I can believe that. I can buy that. If someone said, “Hey, are you for or against sports betting?” I think 61% of people probably would say, “Yeah, it’s fine. I don’t care,” or whatever. It’s almost we’re going against the will of the people, against the power brokers, all the stuff like that going on in Texas. As Dustin mentioned, we will have to wait until 2025 if nothing gets done here. If there’s no Hail Mary this year.

Eric Ramsey (39:29):

If we took it, not knowing all the details we know, we probably would not expect Texas to be among the earliest states to get sports betting. We expected it to take a while, but it’s disappointing. Just thinking back 12, 18 months, there was a period where it looked like California, Texas and Florida all could have legal sports betting by the time we’re sitting here today. Obviously, Florida had it briefly and doesn’t now. California completely just … Never really, certainly never a favor to pass, but it was live for a while, fell apart completely. Texas looks like it probably is going to take another couple years, and Florida is tied up in the courts, so who knows? We’re going to still be doing this New York, this California, Florida, Texas thing it looks like for the foreseeable future.

Matt Brown (40:12):

Before we get out of here, I do want to mention we were off last week because we were all as a company gathering in a big group. It was interesting. Dustin, I know you were sorely missed being there, but it was just interesting telling the story as we looked out into a room of 130-plus people that were there that at one point it was me, you and the two founders of this company for a hot minute. Then, now, there’s 130-plus people in a room together. With all of that, super-kind words were said by everyone that came about listening to this podcast, listening to you guys being able to speak on this. Of course, Adam as well and all the contributors that we’ve had here on the pod. I do appreciate all of the kind words that everyone came up and said about this.


It really was echoing what we set out to do in the first place, which was, “Hey, not everybody has time to keep up with all this stuff. We’re all busy. Can we go in, try to get a week’s worth of information in 25 to 45 minutes and let people know what’s going on in the industry?” That really did ring true, so kudos to you guys and everything that you have done. I do want to thank everybody that was there and came up and said something nice about the podcast because it is something that I didn’t know that was going to grow into what it has, which has become one of the industry staples. Again, it’s because of what you guys do on a day-to-day basis.

Eric Ramsey (41:34):

This has been always just a labor of love. We don’t really make any money off the podcast. We just do it because it’s another piece of content that we do that people value. It was before this, too, we get more comments about the podcast than, I think, anything else we do at the company and with LSR, even. It’s good to hear that people listen to us, and it’s honestly one of the most fun half-hours I have at work or otherwise. Because I just get to rant and talk and do all this. It’s a fun escape to just do this and talk about the industry a little bit and then sum it up.

Matt Brown (42:07):

Got to spend some great time with one Eric Ramsey here on this very podcast in a face-to-face format. We got to clink some cups and things like that. That was super, super fun and met some guys. Listen, it’s weird how this industry goes.


I was standing there and multiple different people came up and it was like, “Hey, Matt.” I look over and I just knew people from other industries. We have people that are now working for us that have come across that I’ve crossed paths with. Look, I understand. I’ve been in this a long time. But, still, it’s just interesting that not even in my gambling lives. There were some people from the MMA world that were coming up and now do all of this. Good times to be had by all, Eric. Look, even though you were a bit of a disappointment to hang out with, I think everybody else was great.

Eric Ramsey (42:53):

Well, honestly, I was my least favorite part of that trip, too. I really enjoyed seeing all of you guys, too. Hopefully, we’ll get that picture of you at the baseball game out there on social media so everyone can enjoy some of the sights of San Diego from Matt Brown.

Dustin Gouker (43:08):

Were there any sloths at the zoo? Were there sloths at the zoo?

Matt Brown (43:12):

We didn’t find sloths, but let me tell you, we spent an abnormal amount of time at the monkey cages, so there was that.

Eric Ramsey (43:18):

We shouldn’t talk anymore about the zoo, honestly.

Matt Brown (43:21):

No. It was just saying we spent an abnormal amount of time just … Listen, we made some friends with all the different types of monkeys and even the ones that were no longer with us, Eric. We’ll just end it. We’ll just end it, end it right there. There were a couple of sad, empty cages, Dustin. We were just wondering what exactly may or may not have happened to who used to live in that cage. That’s all I’m saying. I’m not throwing any accusations out there at San Diego Zoo, just saying there was an empty cage that said there was supposed to be someone in there and ain’t nobody coming and playing with us, that’s all-

Eric Ramsey (43:50):

Just saying.

Matt Brown (43:50):

That’s all.

Eric Ramsey (43:51):

I didn’t see any pandas, either. I’m just saying.

Matt Brown (43:53):

Yeah, there was some of the stuff like that. But, guys, I do really appreciate all that. Again, if you want to show your support, absolutely free. All you got to do is subscribe, rate, review. Again, helps us climb up those charts. This will just get delivered to your podcast listening place of choice each and every week that we get this done. For Eric, for Dustin, I’m Matt. Talk to you guys next week.

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