Business By The Books: US Sports Betting Investment Drags Bet365 Earnings

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Bet365 reported a 15% increase in sports betting revenue for the 52-week period ending March 26, 2023, but investment in the US helped drag the company to a loss for the year.

Total revenue from sports betting and gaming hit $4.3 billion for the year, driven not just by sports betting growth but a 31% increase in gaming revenue as well, according to the annual report. The company attributed a large part of the growth to its live casino business, which has been a strategic priority for the last three years.

Between its gaming segment and the operations of English Football League club Stoke City, bet365 saw a loss of more than $92 million for the year before taxes. That is down from a profit of $63.4 million before taxation for the previous 52-week period.

‘Significant’ US sports betting spend

The UK sports betting giant finally started to stir in the US during this financial year. Bet365 said it “invested significantly” into its US platform, which saw launches in three key states during the period:

Since bet365 is a privately owned company, these reports do not break out every detail. But bet365 did say direct costs increased $122.5 million compared to the prior year “as a result of the increased revenues” and reported a total cash burn of $850 million.

More losses in ’24 financial year?

Since the report only includes through May 2023, it does not include any of bet365’s investment during this NFL betting season. The brand has been active with promotions that are helping it climb the ranks in handle share in multiple states.

Bet365 has a pretty substantial balance sheet to keep investing, though, with more than $2.2 billion in cash on hand as of March 2023. The company remains confident those investments will pay off.

“Entering into new markets requires high initial investment, however the Directors remain confident that these markets will deliver significant contribution to the Group in future periods,” the company said.

State launches after March 2023 include Iowa, Kentucky and Louisiana.

Indiana on ‘impermissible’ sports betting props

The Indiana Gaming Commission updated its sports betting directive on Friday to add a section on “impermissible player propositions.”

Indiana described wagers that are “inherently objectionable” as props that allow betting on whether a player gets injured, arrested, or how many games a player may miss due to injury.

The commission also called out officiating-related props. Those include when the first penalty may be called, how many penalties will be called in the match and what the result of a coach’s challenge will be.

Novig debuts in CO without sports betting exchange

Novig, an exchange wagering platform that pitches itself as eliminating fees for casual bettors, launched a standard sportsbook in Colorado.

For now, Novig offers moneylines, spreads and totals for the MLB, NBA, NFL and college football and basketball. Tennis, soccer, props, futures and parlays will come later.

Colorado gaming regulators have not yet approved exchange wagering in the state. Sporttrade did the same in August, launching its sportsbook while waiting for the rules on exchanges to be approved.

ClutchBet parent confirms merger talk

BlueBet, the Australia-listed parent company of US sportsbook ClutchBet, confirmed it is talking with other companies about a potential acquisition.

The Australian Financial Review first reported Friday that BlueBet and the Australian BetR. That is a different company from the Jake Paul-affiliated Betr that operates in the United States.

“BlueBet is regularly involved in discussions with third parties regarding strategic initiatives, including Betr, aimed at maximizing value for its shareholders,” the company said in an ASX statement. “While discussions may occur, there can be no certainty that any transaction will eventuate.”

ClutchBet is live in Colorado and Iowa, and plans to go live in Louisiana soon. BlueBet opted for a different name in the US because of the political meaning of the color blue.

BetMGM lounge to open in Nashville

The BetMGM Sports Lounge Restaurant & Bar at Bridgestone Arena opens Monday.

The lounge, in the Nashville Predators arena, is not technically a sportsbook since Tennessee does not allow in-person betting.