Why Online Sports Gambling Companies May Never Earn Much Money

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Sept. 9, 2021 11:02 americium ET

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The ribbon cutting astatine the DraftKings Sportsbook astatine The Brook successful Seabrook, N.H., successful October 2020.

Scott Eisen/Getty Images for DraftKings

The U.S. online sports betting manufacture is losing a batch of wealth arsenic much than a twelve companies vie for marketplace share. Thirty-two states person present moved to legalize the concern successful immoderate form.

 Lightshed Partners expert Rich Greenfield wonders whether the eventual size of the marketplace and its profitability volition beryllium capable to warrant the marketplace values of leaders successful the field.

“The soiled small concealed is that adjacent arsenic players travel retired of the industry, determination is inactive a bounds to the sports betting marketplace size—one that apt does not unsocial warrant the valuations of the apical players,” Greenfield wrote successful a post connected Thursday.

Greenfield’s presumption is that companies volition request to question different opportunities specified arsenic iGaming, oregon online casino games similar blackjack. “But authorities approvals for iGaming person been dilatory and apt volition proceed astatine that pace,” helium wrote.

The manufacture is spending heavy connected selling and advertising, including escaped bets to caller users, arsenic companies vie for marketplace share.

The apical participants are DraftKings (ticker: DKNG) and FanDuel, which is 95% owned by Flutter Entertainment (PDYPY). DraftKings and FanDuel person leveraged their occurrence successful phantasy sports to power implicit 50% of the online sports betting market.

Other starring players are Bet365, which is private, BetMGM, a 50-50 concern of MGM Resorts International (MGM) and Entain (GMVHY) and Barstool Sportsbook, which is owned by Penn National Gaming (PENN).

Industry person DraftKings, whose shares were down 3 cents Thursday, astatine $63.36, is valued astatine $25 billion. The institution is obscurity adjacent profitability, having mislaid $652 cardinal successful the archetypal fractional of 2021.

Greenfield noted that DraftKings has spent astir $800 cardinal successful selling and related expenses successful the past 12 months. Smaller participants are ramping up spending including Caesars Entertainment (CZR) and Wynn Resorts (WYNN).

 DraftKings CEO Jason Robins told Barron’s past period that the company’s losses, reflecting selling spending successful caller markets, obscure the underlying profitability successful much established ones.

  “We similar to explicate to radical it’s a state-by-state thing,” Robins said. “We’ve said we volition get to profitability successful a authorities successful a two-year to three-year clip horizon. And profitability volition turn from here.”

He noted that the concern successful New Jersey, an aboriginal and ample marketplace for DraftKings, moved into the achromatic past year. “That makes radical comfy that each authorities volition get profitable.”

He said that investors privation the institution to put successful caller states that let online sports betting. The institution said earlier this twelvemonth that the “contribution profit” successful New Jersey was $8 cardinal successful 2020 and it projected $65 cardinal successful profits successful the authorities for 2021.

Morgan Stanley expert Thomas Allen wrote precocious that the U.S. and Canadian online sports gambling and iGaming could make a combined $20 cardinal successful gross successful 2025 and $5 cardinal of net earlier interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, oregon Ebitda.

 That is an optimistic assumption. Allen noted past period that galore investors deliberation the “industry is excessively competitory and the concern volition ne'er beryllium profitable.”

Write to Andrew Bary astatine andrew.bary@barrons.com

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