Wynn Resorts announced it is buying 22.5% of the European sports betting company, Betbull. Wynn’s purchase is its first serious venture into the American sports betting market.
The company’s investment in Betbull might seem like a minor reaction to the strategic partnerships MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment have made in the past six months, but the move indicates Wynn’s board has a strategic vision of for the emerging sportsbook industry in the United States.
In a Thursday press release, Wynn announced that its purchase of a stake in Betbull was an attempt “to pursue sports betting opportunities in the emerging US market.”
The company has lagged behind Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts since the US Supreme Court repealed a federal ban on sports betting in 46 US states in May 2018. Wynn has less of a footprint in the domestic land-based casino market than Caesars or MGM, though.
Wynn’s Response to Caesars, MGM Resorts
Both of those rivals owns casinos in over a dozen US states. MGM Resorts owns the MGM National Harbor in Maryland, the MGM Springfield in Massachusetts, and Borgata in Atlantic City. Caesars owns over 50 US casinos, including the Harrah’s, Bally’s, and Horseshoe brands.
The potential expansion of sports betting to two dozen states would affect many of those properties. Wynn, on the other hand, is confined largely to Las Vegas and Macau. The Encore Boston Harbor opens in Massachusetts next year, though Wynn’s license for the Boston-area casino is still in doubt.
Sports Betting Providers Could Dominate US Market
What is becoming evident 5 months after the Supreme Court decision is sportsbook operators might not dominate the coming United States bookmaking industry. Instead, suppliers of sports betting services could well be the dominant force in the emerging sportsbook sector.
That possibility seems to have dawned on Wynn Resorts recently. Thus the company decided to get into the sports betting sector belatedly with a heavy investment in Betbull.
MGM Signed with GVC Holdings
The move follows MGM Resorts’ strategic partnership with GVC Holdings. The MGM and GVC plan is to provide land-based and digital sports betting services to operators in many states, once those states legalize sports betting.
Each supplier is going to develop a sports betting app for in-state mobile bookmaker bets. Live in-play betting apps are a huge part of the sports betting industry worldwide. While casinos will only be able to supply live sports betting to punters inside their state, strategic partnerships could allow a company to port over that technology to many states. Becoming a supplier is scalable across the entire United States, while operators have huge investment costs.
The choice of Betbull in an interesting one for Wynn Resorts. The Malta-based company is not well known in the United States. In fact, it’s not one of the largest sportsbook service providers in Europe.
Betbull has an innovative sports betting product which should translate well to the US gaming market. First, Betbull’s technology is advanced in its social gaming aspects. For example, bettors can track their friends’ sports wagers, allowing for bragging rights, tips, and other social interactions.
Betbull and Wynn Resorts
Second, Betbull has innovative odds boosts, while offering small prizes to players as they gamble. The package intrigued Wynn’s Matt Maddox enough to buy a large stake in the company. Once ported over to the United States, US sports bettors should take to Wynn’s Betbull mobile app. That means US sportsbook operators might do the same.
While Wynn and Caesars have built their strategic partnerships, the move allows Wynn to supply sports betting to many middle-tier and lesser known casino companies which do not want the expense of designing their own sportsbook technology. Instead, they can license the Wynn/Betbull product for a plug-and-play sports betting experience.