As of December 2019, sports betting is regulated in 16 U.S. states, with enabling laws passed in another four states and legislation to authorize wagering on games pending in three other states.
The rapid legalization of sports betting since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the federal ban in May 2018, has led to several mergers within the industry. It has also led to the creation of a number of associated businesses.
Seth Schorr, CEO of Fifth Street Gaming, has co-founded a streaming media startup to help sports bars and taverns in states where sports betting has launched.
Known as KonekTV, establishments have to ability to offer customers up-to-the-minute sports wagering information, including betting lines, over-under totals and other statistics. The screens also allow customers to display ads and promotions to customers.
The company provides a streaming platform that is installed via an HDMI, also known as a High-Definition Multimedia Interface, device to any existing TV screen.
KonekTV has reached deals with licensed sportsbook operators in states with mobile wagering regulations to provide on television screen inside the locations.
“KonekTV was born out of my frustration as a sports bar owner and casino operator,” said Schorr, whose company operates the Downtown Grand in downtown Las Vegas. “The ‘living room’ experience kept getting better, while the content options at our sports bars and books stayed the same. Our goal is to give bar owners an innovative solution to drive visitation, encouraging guests to stay longer and spend more.”
Schorr co-founded the Las Vegas-based company with Sameer Gupta, an entrepreneur who specializes in artificial intelligence, sports stats, analytics, and betting. Gupta has also developed several online platforms such as Golfstream, RivalMe and SimpleC.
“Our mission is to bridge the physical-and-digital divide at venues,” Gupta said. “We use artificial intelligence to make sure the right content is on sports bar television’s, translating to more engagement and bigger checks.”
As of Dec. 31, KonekTV is live at Caesars Entertainment casinos nationwide and the Downtown Grand, as well as sports bars in Las Vegas and New Jersey.
Walt Fales, senior vice president of strategic development at Caesars, said KonekTV stats and analytics give their customers more insight about the games they are betting on. He said Caesars recently installed KonekTV at casinos in Indiana and Mississippi.
Fales didn’t say if KonekTV will be installed at Eldorado Resorts properties once the $17.3 billion merger is completed this year.
To expand into new markets, KonekTV has secured $2.5 million in seed funding from a group of institutional investors, including Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment’s Sixers Innovation Lab, Pipeline Capital and The New York Angels.
In a statement, KonekTV said it was partnered with Joe Hand Promotions (JHP) to distribute throughout the United States, JHP distributes sports content to sports bars, casual-dining restaurants, casinos and universities, with relationships with more than 8,000 venues nationwide.