2021 has already been a great year for the US sports betting industry, but there are better months ahead. There are still a handful of states attempting to legalize sports betting, and other states are planning a launch at some point before the NFL season.

The month of May has already seen some big news stories come out of the sports betting industry, and mergers/acquisitions are again leading the way. Here are four of the top new stories facing the US sports betting industry in May.

Caesars Acquires William Hill

In a deal that was finalized right at the end of April, Caesars Entertainment has agreed to purchase William Hill for $3.7 billion. This deal will combine one of the biggest names in the US gaming industry with one of the top UK bookmakers.

The William Hill sportsbook brand has already been used at some Caesars Casino properties in Las Vegas, Nevada, and that will allow this to be a smooth transition. These companies combine to offer sports betting in 18 different markets throughout the US, with online options in 13 of those states.

Since the sale, Caesars has already started the process of re-branding the currency sportsbooks and the William Hill name will be removed in nearly every market. Caesars Sports will be the new name of the online sportsbooks, and the company is going to devote up to $100 million in cash each month to support the new venture. 

Caesars is only interested in the US-based operations from William Hill, and the company is looking to sell off the UK portion of the business. This process has not yet taken place, but the sale is expected to attract some serious bidders. 

Better Collective Acquires The Action Network

Better Collective has acquired The Action Network in a deal that was worth $240 million. Cash and stock will be used to pay for this deal, and new stock will be available for the top employees of The Action Network.

With the announcement of this deal, shares for Better Collective were immediately up more than 14 percent. The Danish-based company now projects its 2022 revenue to be over $100 million after acquiring The Action Network.

There won’t be many changes moving forward for The Action Network as it will continue to produce content and act as its own entity. The top executives will begin reporting to Better Collective, but the majority of the staff is expected to stay on the payroll.

The Chernin Group helped finance the launch of The Action Network back in 2017, and this is another big win for the company. TCG was also a key investor in Barstool Sports, and benefitted from the deal with Penn National Gaming in 2020. 

Better Collective beat out both DraftKings and FanDuel for the right to purchase The Action Network, but the bidding war helped drive the price up. This new acquisition will allow Better Collective to grow its brand and have a stronger presence in the US. 

Ohio Could Be Next to Legalize

Ohio could become the latest state to legalize sports betting as a new bill was recently introduced by the Ohio Senate Select Committee on Gaming. Senator Kirk Schuring is the main sponsor of this bill that also includes eBingo and iLottery.

This is not the first attempt at expanding gaming options in the state of Ohio, but the Ohio Senate Select Committee has been listening to testimony and crafting this bill since the beginning of February. Governor Mike DeWine supports this measure, and he has guaranteed that the industry will be legal by the end of the year.

The biggest take away from the latest piece of legislation is that there could be up to 40 sports betting licenses available. These licenses would be split into two select groups, and there would be 20 licenses available for each.

A Class A license can be applied for by current racetracks and casinos in the state. This would allow these properties to form partnerships with online operators, and a traditional sports betting market would be available.

Class B licenses will be for businesses that want to establish brick-and-mortar sportsbooks that take bets on prop betting markets. The goal is to pass this bill by June 2020 with a potential launch coming this fall. 

Genius Sports Purchases Second Spectrum

Genius Sports recently announced that it has purchased Second Spectrum for a price tag of $200 million. Genius Sports (GENI) is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange even though it is based in the United Kingdom.

This move will allow Genius Sports to continue being one of the top data and technology providers in the US sports betting industry. Genius Sports already has deals in place with teams, leagues, and sportsbooks throughout the country, but it was looking for a way to improve its services. 

Second Spectrum has its biggest deal in the United States with the National Basketball Association, but also has a strong relationship with professional soccer leagues. This company is based in California, and provides video services to the leagues, and will now be providing that same information for Genius Sports. 

This new deal will have a great impact on the live betting odds that are provided by Genius Sports to its partners throughout the US. Second Spectrum also has deals in place with some of the top cable companies, and this creates new opportunities for Genius Sports to explore.

Ryan Knuppel is the Founder & CEO of Knup Solutions — who provide high quality sports betting content at an affordable price. He is also a partner on the Sports 2.0 Network that is becoming a giant in the sports media space.

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