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sports betting investment landscape appears to have benefited significantly from both a supply and demand perspective. Start-up deal flow is more robust than ever, albeit concentrated in the Pre-Seed, Seed, and Series A stages. Public valuations and liquidity are at all-time highs, though some feel this to be unwarranted. An increasing number of angel investors, private funds, family offices, and SPACs (Special Purpose Acquisition Companies) are supplying capital to fuel the industry’s exponential growth. Tere is even a sports betting ETF that offers investors broad-based exposure to the entire business landscape via a diversified basket of public companies.


Te success of DraftKings and Penn/Barstool stock prices as well as the seemingly ubiquitous coverage of their performance comes at a time when retail trading has taken on an unprecedentedly social and thematic aspect, while also having an outsized impact on the markets.


Tere is reason to believe that the growth of sports betting may exceed even the most bullish of expectations. For example, Goldman Sachs expects companies in this industry to be primary beneficiaries of an estimated US$230bn in annual discretionary spending that is being reallocated as a result of COVID- related restrictions and behavioural shifts.


As great of a time as it is to be a sports betting entrepreneur, it is an even better time to be an investor in the space. Unprecedented fiscal stimulus and accommodative monetary policy have resulted in a low interest rate environment where capital is cheap, but yield is hard to find. Tose with a proper risk appetite and investment horizon as well as an eye for undervalued assets will have significant opportunities to outperform the broader market.


Of course, the world economy is mired in extraordinary uncertainty and volatility. Predicting market movements over the short and medium terms is made extremely difficult by the amount of noise and exogenous influence in the system, hence the many references we hear to analysts being “cautiously optimistic”. Over the long term, however, the outlook appears more resolutely bullish.


Why are high profile mergers and acquisitions happening now?


M&A activity continues to be driven by access to customers, gaming licences, and technology. Given that the mature market is expected to be dominated by relatively few players, the scarcity of premium media properties and technology vendors has compounded the


Predicting market movements is made extremely difficult by the amount of noise and


exogenous influence in the system, hence the many


references we hear to analysts being “cautiously optimistic”. Over the long term, however, the outlook appears more resolutely bullish.


exuberance surrounding the industry to produce the current flood of deal activity.


You frequently hear references to the state of the US market as being a “land grab” or “gold rush.” Tis reflects the frenzied nature of attempts to secure first-mover advantages and market share leadership positions in new jurisdictions, as additional states continue to legalise sports betting.


Consider the case of DraftKings with over US$1bn in cash on the balance sheet and no debt. In that position, strategic M&A represents one of the most compelling mechanisms for


NEWSWIRE / INTERACTIVE / MARKET DATA P113


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