Business By The Books: MGM Close To Securing Sports Betting Tech

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MGM has two big focuses for its digital business and expects to check off acquiring sports betting technology soon.

That is according to CEO Bill Hornbuckle, who spoke at a JP Morgan investor forum Thursday. MGM is partnered with Entain in the US for BetMGM but uses sports betting tech supplier Kambi for its LeoVegas business.

“There’s two things missing in my mind: sports betting and sports betting technology, which we are hot on the track of and we openly plan on securing in the next couple of months,” he said.

Hornbuckle briefly mentioned the search for tech on the company’s fourth quarter call as well: “We are on the heels of buying sports technology. We want to obviously be in our own sports betting business with our own technology.”

Other key focus can be cross-sold from sports betting

Hornbuckle would like to see MGM shift from being a customer of a B2B live dealer business to operating one of its own.

“We think our brand, our namesake, and what we do is very relevant in that space, and we want to be in that business, broadcasting from Las Vegas and other markets.

“We currently do it with Evolution. Over time, we’d like to do it for ourselves.”

Improving the digital business is being done not just with the US and Europe in mind, but Latin America and specifically Brazil as well.

MGM following Entain story ‘closely’

While MGM has spoken about potentially buying Entain, Hornbuckle did not give similar signals Thursday.

“Look, we like the partnership we’re in, and the good news is, I think with [interim CEO] Stella [David], there’s been a bunch of transparency. Anyone who listened to her call the other day, recognizing the challenges in front of them, which is, you know, you gotta recognize problem to solve a problem,” he said about the earnings call where David said Entain was too slow to get BetMGM the updates it needed to compete at the top in the US.

“So we like that. There’s a new CEO coming. There’s a keen focus. … We obviously follow very closely with what’s happening to Entain, it’s kinda hard to miss. But for now we’re going to stay focused on driving the business that exists today, and ultimately the other side of BetMGM which is our LeoVegas business and the rest of world. And we’ll take it one day at a time.”

FanDuel exclusivity ending hits GAN earnings

GAN‘s exclusivity period of providing iGaming services to Flutter’s FanDuel ended in January 2023, and as warned, it was felt in the annual report.

GAN, which is being acquired by Sega Sammy for $88 million, previously noted that it could see a “significant decline” in revenue with that exclusivity period ending. Total revenue for 2023 was $129.4 million, down 8.6% from the prior year while EBITDA turned negative.

That included a 20.2% dip in B2B revenue to $43.2 million, which GAN attributed mostly to the end of the exclusive period with FanDuel. That aided GAN’s swing to negative EBITDA of $8.4 million from the year after earning $6 million in 2022.

B2C revenue also fell 1.4% to $86.3 million, which GAN attributed to a decline in active customers in Latin American markets despite calling out a $700,000 increase in sales and marketing costs due to a customer acquisition push in LatAm. Total active customers for the year was 500,000, down 10.6% from 559,000 the prior year.

EQL Games launches perfect bracket lottery game

A lottery-twist on playing a traditional March Madness bracket will lead to one winner sporting a perfect bracket with EQL GamesPerfect Bracket Lottery.

There are more than 9.2 quintillion (or 9.2 billion billions) possible bracket combinations. A proprietary algorithm from EQL will take all those possibilities and divide them equally among the entrants.

Players can view bracket standings in “near real-time.”

EQL’s roots are based in using major US sports league trademarks for sports-themed lottery products.

IGT dinged by MA sports betting launch

The launch of sports betting in Massachusetts hit IGT‘s PlayDigital during NFL betting this year. The company has operated Rhode Island in-person and mobile sports betting since its 2019 launch.

IGT’s sports betting and iGaming segment reported $59 million in revenue from Q4 of last year, down 10.2% from the fourth quarter of 2022. Last year’s $17 million in fourth quarter operating income was in line with 2022 as IGT actually improved its margin 3.6 percentage points to 29.1% on cost discipline and reduced compensation costs.

Rhode Island’s revenue dropped 18.3% to $40.3 million on $461.3 million in handle, down 13.4% year-over-year. That business likely stayed home in Massachusetts, which did nearly $6 billion in handle and $93.8 million in revenue in its first year of legal sports betting.

Those PlayDigital numbers are also masked a bit by iGaming’s growth, to which IGT attributed its record annual revenue of $228 million. The digital and land-based gaming segments are being spun off to merge with Everi, with the combined company valued at $6.2 billion.

DraftKings launches stat-sharing RG tool

DraftKings launched My Stat Sheet, a tool that lets players track their win/loss data to “make data-driven decisions on their own play and therefore promote responsible gaming.”

The tool is now available on all DraftKings and Golden Nugget products.

Tabcorp CEO out on improper behavior

Adam Rytenskild is out as CEO and managing director of Tabcorp after the board was made aware of “inappropriate and offensive language used by Mr. Rytenskild in the worldplace.”

Chairman Bruce Akhurst will fill in while the search for a new corporate leader is conducted.

Tabcorp is an Australia-listed and focused company but was recently featured in Business By The Books for its investment into the US operations of Dabble, which is focused on DFS pick ’em contests.

Genius wins bid to extend Football DataCo sports betting rights

Genius Sports won the bid to exclusively negotiate to an extension of its exclusive distribution of betting data from English and Scottish soccer leagues.

The agreement is subject to approval of the English Premier League, English Football League and Scottish Professional Football League. Genius holds the rights through the end of the 2024-25 season but the extension would take the deal through 2029.