Business By The Books: Sports Betting Stocks Have Wild Week

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It was either a great week or a concerning one, depending on which of the four biggest sports betting stocks an investor owns.

DraftKings and FanDuel parent Flutter were both hammered before the opening bell Tuesday after the Illinois Senate passed a new sports betting tax system that levies revenue at up to 40%. That tax was part of the larger budget bill which passed the House the next day.

DraftKings ended the week down 13.9% from the previous Friday’s close, while Flutter fell 5.9% over the same period.

Caesars and Penn Entertainment, on the other hand, both saw significant boosts at the end of the week based on shareholder actions.

CZR up on Icahn ownership

Caesars saw its stock jump 11.7% Friday on more than six times its average daily volume on a Bloomberg report that Carl Icahn owns a “sizable” stake in the company.

Icahn previously urged the company to sell itself in 2019 when he owned 9.78% of the company. Icahn struck a deal with Caesars to add three board members, and Caesars was bought by Eldorado Resorts months later.

He is reportedly not taking the same path this time.

“I like Caesars and I own some stock, I would never do activism in Caesars,” he told CNBC.

CZR directors buy, sell

Two Caesars directors made transactions during the Friday surge.

Bonnie Biumi added 1,000 shares at $32.46 each and now owns 24,228 shares.

Frank Fahrenkopf Jr., meanwhile, sold 10,000 shares at an average of $32.52 each and now owns 350 shares.

Flutter switches primary listing

Flutter confirmed Friday that its primary listing is now on the New York Stock Exchange. The move was approved by shareholders earlier this month.

“This closely follows the recent move of our operational headquarters to New York, with both reflecting the increasing importance of the US sports betting and iGaming market to our business,” CEO Peter Jackson said. “We have a fantastic position in the US, with FanDuel the clear number one operator, and we look forward to this next step on our journey.”

The move to the US led to a change at the CFO position. Paul Edgecliffe-Johnson had a conversation with the board “concerning his ability to meet that requirement in light of his family commitments in the UK” which ended with the decision he should step down.

Rob Coldrake, who was the CFO of Flutter International, took over as group CFO with immediate effect.

Fixed odds horse betting coming to bet365

Bet365 will now offer fixed odds horse betting in Colorado and New Jersey after a deal with BetMakers.

Bet365 will pay BetMakers a share of the fixed odds horse betting handle placed in New Jersey. It will also get a cut of all fixed odds horse bets in both states that are placed on content from its Global Racing Network.

BetMakers said revenue estimates are not available because this is its first major deal in New Jersey.

“However, the board and management of BetMakers expect these contracts to be material to the strategic progress of the company and anticipate this progress may encourage other operators to enter into similar arrangements with BetMakers, other states to further consider fixed odds approvals and further develop the market and opportunity of fixed odds betting on horses within the US,” the release stated.

Fanatics launches sports betting in Wyoming

Fanatics added its 21st state Thursday when it went live in Wyoming.

The sportsbook is now available to “approximately 95% of the addressable online sports bettor market in the US.”

Photo by AP/Richard Drew