After watching from across the pond for years, bet365‘s rapid US expansion is raising interest in the global leader’s plans and long-term goals as the busiest time of year for betting approaches.
Bet365 has tripled its US presence in the US ahead of NFL season; by the end of September, it will be available to more than 30 million adults across seven states. Last NFL season, only 9 million adults across New Jersey and Colorado could access the app.
This is bet365’s first season of NFL in:
In Ohio, the self-proclaimed “world’s favorite sportsbook” has shelled out over $53.8 million in free bets since its January launch. That is more than BetMGM and Caesars combined and trail only FanDuel and DraftKings. No other bet365 state reports operator-specific data.
Bet365 declined multiple requests to comment on this story.
Is bet365 late to US race or right on-time?
Privately owned by the UK-based Coates family, bet365 accounts for more than a quarter of sports betting web traffic in the world’s largest market. It boasts 90 million global customers and reported $3.7 billion, making its Ohio investment a relative drop in the bucket. It launched its first US state, New Jersey, in 2019.
It is tough to compare a company of that size without shareholders to others, but US activity is mixed among its foreign competitors.
Swedish-based Bettson topped $844 million in revenue last year and is still circling its first state. Meanwhile, Flutter, which runs global brands Paddy Power and Betfair, accounts for a US-best 37% of the market because of FanDuel, which it fully acquired in late 2020. Entain, another global competitor, boasts roughly 8% of the US market because of BetMGM, its 50/50 joint venture with MGM Resorts.
Can bet365 pump market share to top 5?
Based on data from the license it shares with Hard Rock and Unibet in New Jersey, bet365 likely accounts for roughly 1% of sports betting revenue in its oldest state. It has roughly 6.5% of the online market in Ohio, third-most among 18 operators.
If bet365 can scale that nationally, it would rank fifth in US market share, behind BetMGM (8.65%) and Caesars (8.17%), and ahead of BetRivers (3.67%) and Barstool/Penn (3.37%), according to early 2023 data from the 12 states that report operator specifics.
Meanwhile, newcomer Fanatics has yet to crack those numbers in any of its four states. Penn brass believes its partnership with ESPN will result in a lofty 20% of the market by 2027.
Ohio as a test case for bet365
Jordan Bender, a senior equity research analyst at JMP Securities, sees Ohio as essentially a test case for bet365 before it follows with sizable promos in other states.
“It’ll be interesting to see: if they pull back promos, what happens to their market share,” Bender said. “Caesars lost all its market share in New York when it pulled back. If that happens, that should tell them whether they need to invest in the product before other launches.”
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Can product win if promos rationalize?
As other operators dial down customer spending or call it quits altogether, bet365 is spreading at a time when consumer behavior may be tied more to product capability and less to offerings themselves.
Bet365’s live bet processing time ranks fastest among 15 US sportsbooks, according to an Eilers & Krejcik Gaming report. At 3.35 seconds between placement and confirmation, it beats FanDuel by 0.45 seconds.
“Bet365 has done so well globally because they developed a product in the UK that no one had. Can they come in and develop something Flutter isn’t thinking about?” Bender said. “Penn, Caesars, all these guys that had been here from the start had no idea what they were doing and just pumping money out. We’re kind of in a different world right now.”
‘Good time to take a swing’
For Penn, that different world looks like a billion-dollar rebrand after its partnership with Barstool resulted in roughly 3% of the national market. For FanDuel and DraftKings, pressure from investors means focusing on profitability, while BetMGM and Caesars attempt to catch up with more limited marketing budgets.
“If I’m an operator with a strong belief in my product and brand, right now is a good time to take a swing,” said Chad Beynon, managing director at Macquarie Securities. “At worst, you’re dealing with losses in the tens of millions versus last year, where the losses would be hundreds of millions with the cost of New York and other states. It’s a much less intense promotional environment right now.”
Europe to America not apples to apples
Bet365 may have a leg up in speed, but the nature of US games and the bettors those draw present a new challenge, according to Andrew Bimson, president and chief operating officer of Sportradar.
“Everything you can do to cater to the consumer is different here than in Europe,” Bimson said. “The popularity of fantasy sports means the product that wins here will be tied to strong player markets, and player data will be incredibly important on that front.”
Bet365 recently extended its partnership with Genius Sports to focus on just that. The data-tracking company will provide official data for the NFL and NASCAR, among other sports, powering the operator’s in-play product.
Clearer iGaming landscape
As it pertains to the end-game for many operators in America, bet365 has been even slower on iGaming; New Jersey and Ontario are its only North American markets, It had operated in Canada’s gray market for years before legislation, which has lagged behind what some operators had hoped for in the US.
Since 2021, iGaming legislation has passed only in Rhode Island, but Beynon believes that has actually helped bet365 spread its sports betting presence.
“You have this window where iGaming legislation has been pushed back. The three to five states everyone had been talking about have punted to next year, so it’s a unique time because there’s no confusion about what the next year will look like,” Beynon said. “You’re going in with an even clearer landscape of what you have to spend.”
What’s next for bet365?
Bet365 is poised to launch its app in Kentucky next month after recent approval from state regulators. It has a path to presence in a few more states, though the company has been tight-lipped on its next move.
A quieter launch with fewer promos could come in Pennsylvania, a much more mature gaming state, where it gained market access earlier this year.
North Carolina will launch its online sports betting market in early 2024 and could present a valuable first-mover opportunity similar to Ohio, the only state where bet365 launched on day one.
If bet365 elects to launch there it would add another 6 million potential customers to its addressable market.