Bet On It: Ohio Entities Seek Piece Of Potential Sports Betting Pie

black android smartphone turned on screen

Ohio is said to close in on sports betting legislation, this week's earnings, and other notable stories in the sports betting and iGaming space are featured in this week's recap.


WynnBET, the casino and sports betting app from Wynn Resorts (WYNN), announced it has opened its mobile sports book in Tennessee following approval from the Sports Wagering Committee of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation's Board of Directors. "Tennessee marks the sixth state where WynnBET has launched in less than nine months and is available for download anywhere in Tennessee on Apple and Android devices," the company stated.

DraftKings (DKNG) completed a content distribution, monetization and sponsorship agreement with Meadowlark Media. As part of the deal, Meadowlark Media and DraftKings will distribute The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz and the Le Batard & Friends Network across a wide range of audio, TV, digital and social channels, the company said. Additionally, the network of shows will prominently feature DraftKings' odds, betting trends and general sportsbook and daily fantasy information, it added. "We're thrilled to find a collaborator in DraftKings that shares our vision to grow Dan Le Batard's already wildly popular network of shows in non-conventional ways," said Meadowlark CEO John Skipper. "With the freedom to widely distribute these programs, we'll be able to reach the largest possible audience and provide incredible content to DraftKings."


Three companies of note in the sports betting and casino space reported earnings this week. MGM Resorts' (MGM) Q1 loss per share of (68c) and revenue of $1.65B came in above analysts' consensus estimates. Casino revenue for Q1 decreased 16% compared to the prior year quarter at the company's Las Vegas Strip resorts, due primarily to lower business volume and travel activity due to the pandemic and ongoing operational restrictions. Notably, BetMGM reported a Q1 operating loss of $59.24M compared to a loss of $10.68M last year. While most of the company's results were impacted by COVID-19, MGM China experienced increases in net revenues, up 9%, and VIP table games hold revenue, up 7%.

"We are pleased with the meaningful progress we've made on multiple fronts this quarter," said Bill Hornbuckle, CEO and President of MGM Resorts International. "Consumer demand strengthened at our domestic properties, and the significant changes we've made to our operating model have positioned us to capitalize on the recovery. Our regional properties achieved record first quarter Adjusted Property EBITDAR and Adjusted Property EBITDAR margins. Las Vegas operating results improved sequentially, leisure demand is improving, and we now have a tangible path to bring conventions and entertainment back at scale. MGM China continued to outperform the broader Macau market's gradual pace of recovery." "We are also deeply focused on our long-term goals including investing in digital to drive deeper customer engagement and BetMGM, our U.S. sports betting and iGaming venture, which continues to impress as the leading operator in U.S. iGaming and the top three operator in U.S. online sports betting. Our future is bright," Hornbuckle said.

Melco Resorts & Entertainment (MLCO) had an EPS beat in Q1, but revenue came in short of analyst expectations. Lawrence Ho, Chairman and CEO, commented:

 "COVID-19 and the subsequent travel restrictions continue to have a significant negative impact on our operating and financial performance. Despite these challenges, our integrated resorts experienced a moderate recovery in business levels during the first quarter. We commend the Macau government's measured approach to reopening the border and schemes to boost the economy and support local jobs. In this regard, we continue to prioritize epidemic prevention measures to keep our colleagues and customers safe, while working collaboratively with small and medium enterprise partners to contribute to Macau's sustainable development and economic recovery.

While impacted by COVID-19, Melco remains committed to its global development program. In Macau, construction on the expansion of Studio City is progressing. Upon completion, Studio City will offer approximately 900 additional luxury hotel rooms and suites, one of the world's largest indoor/outdoor water parks, a Cineplex, fine-dining restaurants and state-of-the-art MICE space. The expansion of the current water park at Studio City Phase 1 is complete and will open on May 22, 2021. Also in Macau, our facility upgrade works at City of Dreams are ongoing, where the fully renovated Nwa hotel re-opened at the end of March 2021, while the Countdown closed down at the end of March 2021 to undergo a full renovation. In Europe, we are developing City of Dreams Mediterranean which, upon completion, will be Europe's largest integrated resort with approximately 500 luxury hotel rooms, approximately 10,000 square meters of MICE space, an outdoor amphitheater, a family adventure park, and a variety of fine-dining outlets and luxury retail... Turning to Japan, we remain committed to bringing to the country a world-leading IR.

We continue to believe our focus on the Asian premium segment, a portfolio of high-quality assets, devotion to craftsmanship, dedication to world-class entertainment offerings, market-leading social safeguard systems, established track record of successful partnerships, culture of exceptional guest service, and a continuing commitment to employee development puts Melco in a strong position to help Japan realize the vision of developing an exceptional IR with a uniquely Japanese touch. Due to COVID, the process in Japan has been delayed and remains complex but has continued to progress forward. Melco is currently actively engaged with multiple potential partners. We will continue to be patient as we navigate the landscape to ensure that Melco pursues the right opportunity that takes advantage of Melco's core strengths to drive strong value creation."

Boyd Gaming (BYD) came in well ahead of analyst estimates with its Q1 report. While Las Vegas Locals reported revenues 0.9% higher compared to the prior year period, Downtown Las Vegas revenue was down over 75%. However, Las Vegas Locals and Midwest & South segments each achieved all-time records for adjusted EBITDAR and operating margins. Both segments benefited from increased visitation and spend levels across all customer groups. Downtown Las Vegas segment results reflect continued softness in destination travel across the southern Nevada market, particularly among the company's core Hawaiian customer segments.

The company noted that results for Q1 of 2020 were impacted by state-mandated closures of all of the company's properties nationwide during the last several weeks of March 2020. Also, the company's results were impacted by $171.1M in non-cash, pretax intangible asset impairment charges.

Keith Smith, president and CEO of Boyd Gaming, said: "This was an exceptional quarter for our company, as we achieved the strongest EBITDAR and margin performances in our history. As economic conditions improve and COVID vaccinations continue to roll out, we are seeing increased visitation and growing spend-per-visit across every customer segment. Our disciplined operating strategy is producing strong flowthrough on revenue gains, driving significant EBITDAR growth and enhanced margins. We are also making excellent progress on our strategic growth initiatives, including launching our first Stardust-branded online casinos in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and commencing construction on the Wilton Rancheria Tribe's resort near Sacramento, California. Our strong performance in the first quarter reflects our more focused operating strategy, and the dedication and hard work of every Boyd Gaming team member."


 Fox 8 WJW in Cleveland reported that legalized sports betting could be coming to Ohio with legislation potentially just a matter of days away. Indiana, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Michigan, which all share a border with Ohio, have all cleared legislative hurdles to launch sports betting. Reportedly, past bills in Ohio have stalled in the state legislature due to dispute over the regulatory body: the Ohio Lottery Commission or the Ohio Casino Control Commission. Since those disagreements, weeks of hearings before the Select Committee on Gaming have set the foundation for drafting new legislation.

“What we think is most important is bringing that current market into Ohio under a legal umbrella and not creating that need to go to another state or find another outlet,” JACK Entertainment senior VP of Government Affairs Dan Reinhard told Fox 8. Cleveland’s pro sports teams have weighed in on potential legislation and made it clear that they would want a piece of the profits. Just last week, those teams issued a joint statement calling for legalization by the end of June. additionally, The Ohio Fair Gaming Coalition has argued that businesses like bars, bowling centers and convenience stores should be allowed to offer sports betting as well. Lawmakers said if passed, legislation would mark a major expansion of gaming, beyond the action on the sports field.


Jefferies analyst David Katz raised the firm's price target on MGM Resorts to $53 from $50 and reiterated a Buy rating on the shares following what he calls the company's "overall positive" quarterly report. Recovery is accelerating in Las Vegas and MGM is seeing better than expected margins across domestic markets, while the timing of recovery in Macau and further redemption of MGM Growth (MGP) units remain prospective catalysts, Katz said.

Deutsche Bank analyst Carlo Santarelli raised the firm's price target on Boyd Gaming to $77 from $71 and maintained a Buy rating on the shares. It is not often a Street-high property EBITDAR forecast gets beaten by 20%, but that's what Boyd Gaming did, Santarelli told investors in his research note.

Guggenheim analyst Curry Baker initiated coverage of DraftKings with a Buy rating and $75 price target. The analyst believes DraftKings is well positioned to capture a "significant share of the rapidly growing" North American online sports betting and internet gaming markets. His analysis points to a long-term Norther America revenue opportunity of $7.6B-$10.6B. Further, DraftKings has competitive advantages given its "premier" sports gaming brand, market leading position, "flexible" proprietary technology platform that is scalable and "plenty of financial firepower to fund future growth," said the analyst.

Needham analyst Bernie McTernan initiated coverage of Penn National (PENN) with a Buy rating and $151 price target. The stock's risk/reward is "compelling" at current share levels, McTernan told investors in a research note. The analyst is "bullish" on the online sports betting and internet gaming total addressable market in the U.S. and sees the potential for Penn to take "significant, profitable" market share on the strength of Barstool's "differentiated content-driven customer acquisition strategy."

Oppenheimer analyst Jed Kelly initiated coverage of Genius Sports (GENI) with an Outperform rating and $25 price target. Genius is a top-two player in official sports data distribution and is poised to be a beneficiary as leagues "rapidly adopt" betting and streaming to increase fan engagement, Kelly tells investors in a research note. The analyst believes official data will be critical in online sports betting operators' achieving regulatory approval and capturing more share through live betting. He views recent NFL deal as evidence of Genius Sports' "leading value proposition."

JPMorgan analyst Ted Nyhan lowered the firm's price target on Flutter Entertainment (PDYPY) to 15,970 GBp from 16,233 GBp and maintained a Neutral rating on the shares. Deutsche Bank analyst Simon Davies raised the firm's price target on Flutter Entertainment to 16,285 GBp from 15,485 GBp and keeps a Hold rating on the shares.


Disclaimer: TheFly's news is intended for informational purposes only and does not claim to be actionable for investment decisions. Read more at  more

How did you like this article? Let us know so we can better customize your reading experience.