And it’s only going to get worse, as news on the sports betting front continues to come at a frenetic pace.
First, there are the states considering sports betting legalization, where everything from integrity fees to the authorization of mobile is up for debate. Then, there are the new sportsbooks and mobile apps that open their doors such as DraftKings Sportsbook.
But it’s the partnerships and strategic alliances that have been formed that are really difficult to follow.
Instead of trying to unravel these partnerships, this column will focus on the two main reasons behind the formation of these partnerships.
You get a partner and you get a partner…
The roles in these multi-layered partnerships can be difficult to unravel.
The partnerships that give us the FanDuel Sportsbook at The Meadowlands is a perfect example of this complexity:
- Meadowlands is the license holder;
- FanDuel is the customer-facing brand;
- GAN is the platform;
- IGT handles sports functionality; and
- Paddy Power-Betfair (FanDuel’s parent company) provides risk management.
Other partnerships, like the mish-mash of relationships at Borgata, are even more convoluted.
Borgata is using IGT for its retail sportsbook, but IGT may or may not be involved with Borgata’s online book, which will ostensibly be run by GVC. And then there are MGM’s (Borgata’s parent company) other sports betting partnerships with Boyd Gaming and the NBA to consider.
Partnerships for technology stacks
The inordinate number of tech partnerships (many overlapping) can best be explained by the mantra, “it takes a village.”
Running a sportsbook, particularly an online sportsbook, requires a number of technologies that few companies provide in isolation.
As such, we’re seeing partnerships formed in order to create technology stacks capable of handling the various aspects of operating a sportsbook.
Partnerships for access
Then there are the partnerships like the one between MGM and Boyd Gaming. That partnership is all about accessing current and future sports betting markets.
The press release announcing the deal between MGM and Boyd stated:
“Under this partnership, MGM Resorts and Boyd Gaming will both have the opportunity to offer online and mobile gaming platforms – including sports betting, casino gaming and poker – in jurisdictions where either Boyd Gaming or MGM Resorts operate physical casino resorts and online licenses are available.”
Boyd has casino interests in 10 states:
MGM has casinos in seven states:
- New York
- New Jersey
The companies only overlap in two states, Nevada and Mississippi. That means MGM gains access to eight states and Boyd to five through the deal.
Bottom line: The US sports betting market, and the NJ sports betting market for that matter, is finding its footing. And to do that, it needs to put together the pieces that will make it work. You can expect to see more sports betting partnerships in the future.