Paddy Power Betfair, a sports gambling company based in Ireland, is looking to expand into the American market after a ruling from the Supreme Court struck down a 1992 law banning betting on sports. The Dublin-based company is apparently in talks with US business FanDuel. FanDuel is a fantasy sports contest website where fans select their own teams of sports stars and win points based on individual performances. They boast a considerable market share, as well as a recognisable brand, in the US, and partnering with Paddy Power, with its expertise in pricing and risk, could help both companies grow.
It is estimated that $150bn worth of illegal bets were placed in the US last year. A merged Paddy Power-FanDuel would be an excellent position to capture a significant amount of that. Nevada, home to Las Vegas, was exempt from the anti-gambling law, as it already had a long establish sports betting scene. This gives the state a head start in attracting gambling businesses since it already has the legal framework and regulation in place for them to set up. New Jersey has only been stopped from legalising sports betting through the 1992 law, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, and it already has withdrawn acts banning competitive sports betting in the state.
Many have anticipated a growth in the industry with the recent ruling. Paddy Power Betfair’s share price rose around 14% after the Supreme Court announced its decision. Paddy Power, known for its cheeky advertising campaigns, has already established some operations in the US, with an online casino based in New Jersey. This casino added $140m to its revenue last year. It has also acquired DRAFT, a competitor to FanDuel, for $48m in 2017.
Other UK and Irish operators have established forward bases in the US, in anticipation of the legalisation of sports betting. William Hill has built a sports bar in Monmouth Park Racetrack, one of the few places where it is legal to gamble in New Jersey, and could start taking bets as soon as Monday the 21st of May. William Hill also runs a book in Las Vegas.
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