Boyd, FanDuel deal bringing in new customers

Boyd Gaming Corp. says a deal with FanDuel, and its owner Flutter Entertainment, is helping attract new customers to its casinos.

FanDuel offers sports betting in partnership with the Las Vegas-based gaming company in casinos in several states, including Indiana, Iowa and Pennsylvania. 

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“The strong underlying trends, we are seeing in our Midwest and South segment have been further strengthened by this year’s introduction of sports betting at five of our regional properties,” said Boyd CEO Keith Smith during a recent fourth-quarter earnings conference call. “FanDuel sports book are attracting new faces and expanding our customer base.”

Smith told analysts that once they are on the property, “these new customers are doing more than placing the wager on the game.”

“They are visiting our restaurants and our bars, and playing in our casinos,” Smith said. “Nearly two years after the U.S. Supreme Court opened the door to the expansion to sports betting. We are extremely pleased with our progress.”

The Supreme Court on May 14 overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), the federal law that limited sports betting to Nevada for 25 years.

PASPA was declared unconstitutional in a 6-3 decision, which has led to some 20 states and the District of Columbia legalizing and regulating wagering on professional and collegiate sports.  

“As we saw during the fourth quarter, we are successfully using sports betting to drive incremental growth through our regional business, expanding and diversifying our nationwide customer base,” Smith added. 

Smith said the company was “evaluating opportunities” to expand its sports betting footprint at their property in Illinois.  Boyd is waiting to launch sports betting in Illinois after lawmakers legalized the activity, but the regulations are still being drafted. 

“And with market access in 15 states across the country, representing more than 36 percent of the U.S. population, Boyd Gaming is well positioned as additional states consider legalizing sports betting,” Smith added.

The company operates 29 casinos in 10 states. Net revenues in the fourth quarter rose 5.2 percent to $833.1 million, while profits rose 6.2 percent to $24.3 million.

For all of 2019, Boyd Gaming’s profits rose 37 percent to $157.6 million from $115 million in 2018. Revenues grew at the same rate to $3.33 billion from $2.63 billion. 

During the question and answer session with gaming analysts, Smith reiterated his position that the company was happy with the position they’ve carved out in terms of our partnership with FanDuel. 

“They are the leading brand when you look at their business volumes, whether it’s in New Jersey or Pennsylvania or in other states,” he said. “And we actually are profitable when it comes to sports betting where a number of our peers are not. So, we kind of like our position.”

Smith added that the only real investment he sees making in sports betting going forward is continuing to build out new states or new sites like in Illinois.

“If we launch it Par-A-Dice but those are very, very modest investments to add a sports book to a property like Par-A-Dice or some other properties,” he said. “They’re not large numbers. I don’t see us making any significant investment to purchase anything or do anything different.”

Smith said he was pleased with the way the company’s deal with FanDuel has played out. He went on to describe them as a “strong operator … a strong partner and a very strong brand.”

Boyd Gaming and FanDuel announced their partnership in August 2018, saying they would pursue betting and online gaming opportunities across the U.S. The agreement covers all states where Boyd Gaming holds licenses currently and, in the future, except in Nevada.

Trio approved for licensing

In other gaming industry news, the Nevada Gaming Commission has found Rob Goldstein, Winifred “Wendy” Webb and Mary Elizabeth Higgins suitable to hold a state gaming license.

Goldstein, president and chief operating officer of Las Vegas Sands, Webb, a board member for Wynn Resorts; and Higgins, chief executive officer of Affinity Gaming, were approved by the five-member commission. 

OpenSports to launch

Meanwhile, Scientific Games and Golden Nugget have agreed to expand their sports wagering partnership. The rollout of OpenSports will begin with mobile sports betting in New Jersey with additional states included as states launch.

“Following Golden Nugget’s transition to our solutions, we look forward to launching Sports on top of our long-standing player account and iGaming relationship,” said Jordan Levin, Group Chief Executive, Digital for Scientific Games.

There is also an option to rollout OpenSports in retail locations across multiple states including New Jersey, Mississippi and Nevada.

Based in Houston, Golden Nugget has casino operations in Las Vegas and Laughlin, as well as in Louisiana, New Jersey and Mississippi. 

MGM data breach suit

A class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of MGM Resorts International guests whose personal data may have been compromised during a breach. 

MGM confirmed the breach last week.

The New York Times reported 10.6 million people were impacted by the breach, but MGM did not confirm that number. The company did tell the Times that the personal identification cards of about 1,300 questions were exposed.  

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