The Supreme Court of the United States lifted the federal ban on May 14, 2018. Since the ruling, 19 states have passed bills legalizing sports betting, including Colorado, North Carolina and Illinois.
In total, today, there are 42 states in various stages of legalizing sports betting.
With more and more states passing bills, the market is expanding at an unprecedented pace. And some deals have taken place and funds launched in the country.
Below, we feature some meaningful operations.
One of the most important deals was the agreement between The Stars Group Inc. (Nasdaq: TSG)(TSX: TSGI) and Fox Sports, a unit of Fox Corporation (Nasdaq: FOXA, FOX), which launched Fox Bet, a national media and sports wagering partnership. Its two first products are:
– a nationwide free-to-play game, awarding cash prizes to players who correctly predict the outcome of sports games, and
– Fox Bet, which will give customers in states with regulated betting the opportunity to place real money wagers on the outcome of a wide range of sporting events in accordance with the applicable laws and regulations.
Another important deal tool place in November 2019, with global sports betting company William Hill acquiring the sports book assets of CG Technology, including its Nevada and Bahamas operations. Led by Parikshat Khanna, CEO, CG Technology is one of the largest licensed bookmakers in Nevada and operator of seven Nevada sportsbooks at six prime Las Vegas resorts.
In addition, a wave of innovative startups is emerging with products, services, and solutions designed to tap the estimated $17 billion dollar opportunity that legal U.S. sports betting represents.
And some deals have alreasy taken place, including the following ones:
– in February 2019, The Action Network, a Los Angeles, CA-based sports media company that provides in-depth betting content, tools and analytics for sports fans, closed on $17.5m in Series B funding. Launched in January of 2018 by Patrick Keane, CEO, the company provides premium storytelling and analysis, real-time odds, in-depth information on betting websites which feature offers (e.g., like Maxfreebets Bet 10 Get 30) and markets, personalized alerts for users, as well as the ability to track bets via its website and sports app. The mobile application, available for free on iOS and Android, also allows users to track bets, receive alerts corresponding to picks and see how much money is placed on each side of every wager; and
– in October 2019, ZenSports, a San Francisco, CA-based mobile peer-to-peer sports betting marketplace where anyone can create and accept sports bets, raised $675K in seed funding.
ZenSports is a decentralized marketplace, which enables bettors to create their own bets with their own odds and terms, or accept bets that others have created. The company has also created its own cryptocurrency utility token called SPORTS, which customers can use for placing bets, earning discounted betting fees, and getting cash back, bonuses, and other rewards.
With this emergence of the trend, specialized venture capital firms approaching the industry, as well.
Among others, dedicated funds include:
– Sports Gaming Investment Fund (SGIF), which is focused on startups that support the emerging U.S. market for legal sports betting; and
– Vice Ventures, a fund dedicated to investing in “vice” industries.