Business By The Books: Choctaw, Kambi Partner On Sports Betting

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The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma selected sports betting technology provider Kambi for an exclusive nationwide partnership.

Kambi’s newest big-name US partnership is described as long-term and comes with “the ambition to become an online and retail sports betting powerhouse,” according to the press release.

The deal could be a significant contributor to Kambi, given the tribe’s ties and proximity to a potential Texas sports betting market.

Kambi’s stock popped 7.1% on the news to close Friday at 96.00 Swedish krona. The stock is up 10.7% from its 52-week low hit in March but is still 81% off its all-time high from January 2021.

Kambi US partnerships

The Choctaw partnership helps bolster Kambi’s US partnerships, which have seen significant contracts like DraftKings and Penn Entertainment fall off in favor of proprietary technology.

Kambi most recently partnered with Bally Bet last year after Bally’s scrapped its own proprietary tech. It is also the long-time partner of Rush Street Interactive‘s BetRivers.

The company was recently asked about how it would mitigate losing another US partner. Outgoing CEO Kristian Nylén said all the company can do is sign more partnerships and make sure the contract is favorable.

“The only thing we can do, of course, is to try to make sure we have contracts that give us some income protection in the event of M&A and have as long a contract as we possibly can,” Nylén said.

Opens Texas sports betting opportunity

The Choctaw Nation owns four casinos in Oklahoma, and its brand recognition does not stop at the state border.

One of its casinos is about 90 miles north of Dallas in Durant, Okla. The casino business is also the exclusive casino partner of MLB‘s Texas Rangers.

With more than 8 million people in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, the Choctaw likely already has a solid database of Texans to start. The tribe also operates a free-to-play online casino site.

The problem, of course, is that sports betting has a long road to legalization in the Lone Star State and the legislature only meets in odd years. Las Vegas Sands hopes to change that as soon as 2025 but Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said the votes to legalize gambling are not there.

Sports betting earnings calls this week

There are six key sports betting conference calls this week.

Caesars kicks the week off with its call at 5 pm Tuesday. Then there are three staggered after the market closes Wednesday:

On Thursday, Penn Entertainment will update the market on the first full quarter of ESPN Bet at 9 am. DraftKings wraps the week up with its earnings release after the market closes Thursday before an 8:30 am call Friday morning.

BlueBet reports US sports betting growth

Australia-listed BlueBet said it is gaining traction in the US, though that business is in jeopardy with its pending merger.

BlueBet reported nearly $8 million in handle for its fiscal third quarter from Colorado, Iowa and Louisiana. Louisiana did not contribute a full quarter as it launched before the Super Bowl, though initial metrics are “encouraging” with players betting more on higher-margin products, like parlays.

The company is also keeping marketing costs lower, with its cost per acquisition 7% better than the second quarter and 22% better than the first quarter.

But BlueBet’s young US business could hit the chopping block after a strategic review following the completion of it and Australian sports betting operator betr. That deal is expected to close July 1.

First in-person ESPN Bet book opens

Penn Entertainment’s Hollywood Greektown casino opened the first ESPN Bet in-person sportsbook in time for the NFL Draft held less than a mile away.

The book covers 4,500 square feet with a 30-foot video wall and betting kiosks.

Sportradar hires CFO

Craig Felenstein will take over as CFO of Sportradar effective June 1.

He comes from Lindblad Expeditions, a luxury travel company.

“With Craig’s deep international experience and successful track record building finance organizations as a CFO at US listed public companies, I am confident that he will be a strong addition to our team,” CEO Carsten Koerl said. His track record of helping drive financial strategy and building shareholder value will be instrumental to our continued success.

Mohegan launches PA online gaming

Mohegan Digital launched its online casino product in Pennsylvania to replace the exiting Unibet.

This is the fourth state for Mohegan Digital, which also operates in Connecticut, New Jersey and Ontario.

The site should feature 700 games by the summer.