PlayUSA Rewind: NBCUniversal Goes All In With PointsBet Deal

Posted on September 2, 2020 - Last Updated on November 22, 2020

Fall is in the air, and you can’t tell us otherwise. That familiar smell of a cool, crisp evening. The back-to-school commercials. Football.

Ah, football. In less than two weeks, if all goes to plan, the NFL will kick off, which makes the timing of last week’s news all the more ideal.

On to the Rewind:

NBCUniversal, PointsBet announce massive deal

We’ve seen similar partnerships before, a media conglomerate pairing off with a legal sports betting operator — but nothing quite like the arrangement between PointsBet and NBCUniversal.

Based in Australia, PointsBet entered into a multiyear agreement with NBCUniversal that makes the former the “official sports betting partner” of NBC.

While not groundbreaking on the surface, the details set the partnership apart. Boiled down, NBC becomes an investor in PointsBet and has set aside hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising to help PointsBet grow even more, including some $393 million of committed marketing across NBC platforms.

This allows PointsBet — currently live in New JerseyIndiana and Iowa — to have its brand shown on networks ranging from Peacock TV to Telemundo Deportes. The deal also includes exposure to eight regional networks of NBC Sports and the conglomerate’s fantasy sports platform Rotoworld.

As for NBC, it claims a 4.9% stake in PointsBet while also getting a cut of any deposit bettors make that reaches PointsBet via NBC. In summary: The more business NBC sends to PointsBet, the more money the network will pocket.

Make it three online sportsbooks in Illinois

It didn’t take long for FanDuel Sportsbook to go live in Illinois.

Mere days after a surprise hint that it would partner with Par-A-Dice Casino, FanDuel rolled out its online sportsbook in the Land of Lincoln.

Now Illinois boasts three betting apps: FanDuel, DraftKings Sportsbook and BetRivers.

Timing, of course, makes FanDuel’s entry less of a shocker. First, obviously, major sports are well underway. NFL betting is underway to boot, with the season about to begin.

A recent executive order from Gov. J.B. Pritzker opened the door for FanDuel. Pritzker suspended the state’s in-person requirement for online sports betting account registrations through at least Sept. 19. As such, FanDuel stumbled upon an opportune time to roll out its product and capitalize, especially since in-person registration was not yet available at Par-A-Dice when FanDuel went live.

With Illinois now in its portfolio, FanDuel operates sportsbooks in six states across the country.

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Michigan on pace for Thanksgiving iGaming launch

In three weeks, the Michigan Gaming Control Board will host a virtual public hearing. During this Sept. 23 hearing, the public can weigh in on the state’s forthcoming launch of internet gaming.

The three-hour hearing is part of an arduous rulemaking process for iGaming in Michigan. But it appears as if the state could introduce online casinos and sports betting by Thanksgiving.

Regulators published draft rules in July, gleaning bits and pieces from other states where online gambling is already active. These resources included New Jersey, Indiana and Pennsylvania.

Per the state’s process for rulemaking, an estimated 40-day period exists between the public hearing and the submission of the final report to the Joint Committee of Administrative Rules. After that, there’s roughly a 25-day gap for adoption. Simple math would indicate that come Turkey Day, Auntie Mae could enjoy some online gaming over a pile of yams.

Of course, legislators have said that those time periods could be sped up.

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Written by
Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sports writer who has covered the high school, collegiate and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield and Oregon State athletics, the Portland Trail Blazers and golf throughout his career.

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