On the heels of its break-up with the University of Colorado (UC-Boulder), PointsBet might be looking to sell its US sports betting business.
After a modest second half of 2022, which saw PointsBet experience year-over-year growth, the Australian-based sports betting operator has continued cutting costs in 2023.
Furthermore, on March 30, the company announced it had decided to end its official gambling partnership with UC-Boulder. Now, according to the Australian Financial Review, PointsBet has hired Moelis & Co., an investment banking firm based in New York.
Is PointsBet looking to exit US sports betting?
Although a spokesperson for PointsBet declined to comment on the Australian Finacial Review report, there are a few breadcrumbs to follow.
First, the company decided not to enter the Massachusetts sports betting market. On top of this, operators hopeful that sports betting could be a springboard for online gambling have found the opposite. State lawmakers across the US still need to legalize online casino games, leaving that potential customer acquisition door closed.
Other operators, such as MaximBet and Fubo Sportsbook, shut down after being unable to find buyers for their US operations. However, neither company had the assets PointsBet currently has under its belt.
As detailed in a Legal Sports Report article, Jordan Bender, Senior Equity Research Analyst at JMP Securities, said:
“We haven’t seen a large-scale acquisition since DraftKings purchased Golden Nugget, so this will be a good litmus test for where we sit, as the industry, hyper-focused on profitability, resets.”
Finding a buyer for the PointsBet US arm is tricky
In the same LSR story, Chad Beynon, Managing Director at Macquarie Securities, said thinking about a potential buyer is tricky. “PointsBet is a well-known brand with decent market share and market access and has strong parlay-focused tech capabilities that a handful of competitors are still working on.”
“Thinking about potential acquisition is tricky because some companies already have the technology and really all they want is kind of the brand and the players, other companies don’t have the technology and they kind of want that brand and the tech stack.”
Before securing source code from B2B supplier Amelco, speculation was brewing that Fanatics would purchase PointsBet. “If this was a year and a half ago, I would say this makes 100% sense for Fanatics, but they clearly are not going that route,” Bender said. “These larger companies do not feel as likely, but again, it all depends on the price.”
Bally’s thought to be a potential buyer, for the right price
One such suitor floating around is Bally’s. In February, against the backdrop of a company overhaul, Bally’s abandoned Bet.Works, which it purchased for $125 million.
But according to Bender, if Bally’s were to pursue PointsBet, it would have to be for the right price.
“This kind of fits into what Bally’s has said about looking for a solution to integrate the tech stack, but it would be a big cost for a company with no market share so it would need to be the right price. If you’re a shareholder you want to see them make the right decision because you have a lot of stuff getting written off at this point.”