Over the past year, there has been a significant push forward toward the inclusion of legalized sports betting into the U.S. media/sports world, and even more recently…into Pennsylvania.
We have seen the arrival of several companies that have become prominent fixtures in the sports betting industry in the country. This is set to take another major step forward with The Stars Group (TSG) and FOX Corp announcing they have agreed to a partnership called FOX Bet.
The partnership will focus on creating sports betting apps for both real-money and free-to-play contests.
The latest deal with Penn National Gaming has The Stars Group (Fox Bet) entered in: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Texas, Kansas, New Mexico, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan for now. Is Pennsylvania next?
Theoretically it should be available soon via another casino, Mount Airy Casino Resort…since there is no deal with the Stars Group and Penn National for Pennsylvania at this time. More on this later.
FOX SPORTS BETTING APP
This app will have two features with the first being the ability to participate in the free-to-play game that has cash prizes for predicting the correct outcomes of sports games. This current structure exists through the NBA and other professional sports league apps as a way to introduce and influence users to the sports betting world.
The latter is the opportunity to place real-money bets on a variety of different sports. This is the primary part of the app that the two sides are relying upon to generate the most traffic and usage. In essence, it is where the deal came into place to take advantage of the ever-growing sports betting industry in the United States.
HOW DOES THIS IMPACT BETSTARS, FOX BET & PA?
This new deal has put forth the expectation that the BetStars brand will no longer be used in the United States as FOX Bet will take its place. It should be noted that BetStars had struggled in the New Jersey online sports betting market with other companies such as DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook and William Hill Sportsbook outperforming them.
Given that the extreme popularity and reach of Fox Sports, this should give them the upper hand of excelling in the area that BetStars has not in the US. It should be noted that Fox previously was part of the funding for DraftKings and had taken equity in the company dating back to 2015.
Mount Airy will still need to complete its process before Fox Bet can be legal and operating in PA, and with Penn National reaching a deal with DraftKings, this timing will hurt Fox Bet in PA.
WHICH STATES CAN I PLAY FOX BET IN?
The only defined spot where the new app will be used initially is in New Jersey as it is the initial testing ground for it. The next potential locations are tied to Eldorado Resorts as TSG has a deal in place with them for sports betting in each state (11) where Eldorado Resorts is currently located. This obviously includes Las Vegas.
Another possibility will be Pennsylvania as BetStars previously laid out plans to launch in the state through a deal with Mount Airy Casino Resort. On that note, sports betting apps is LIVE already with a few options.
Fox Bet should be available soon in West Virginia as Eldorado owns Mountaineer Casino. Online sports betting has already been legalized and launched in WV. On that same note, the company also owns Isle Casino Hotel Bettendorf in Iowa, where sports betting is nearing legalization. Lastly, Eldorado also runs Tropicana Evansville in Indiana where they have recently legalized sports betting.
There are also several other states working toward having sports betting regulated, which could be presumed that the FOX Bet app will make its way there too once that is complete.
Currently, Fox Bet’s website states “Be the first to know when the new FOX Bet apps are available.”
HOW MUCH SPORTS BETTING WILL FOX PROMOTE?
This is still an open-ended answer given that the deal is still fresh after being announced in the last few months. The sports betting industry is growing rapidly but it’s not a national reach at this point in the U.S.
There is plenty of different avenues that the promotion of Fox Bet can take. Various pre-game and post-game shows that they air for sports leagues seem to be the obvious choice. Fox also has a sports betting oriented show called “Lock It In” on Fox Sports 1 that can be utilized right away to promote the app. Will we see promotions during Eagles games on Fox? Maybe on Fox Sports 1 shows? We will see.
We also have to remember that Fox purchased a 5% stake in The Stars Group, which could be viewed as a “safe” amount of exposure to the gambling industry. Especially when the NFL is a major partner via TV game rights to Fox.
WILL OTHER MEDIA COMPANIES JUMP INTO BETTING?
This is a fairly new direction for the sports media industry as theScore has already gone this route with sports betting. theScore is being granted access to 11 states in the recent Penn National Gaming deal, but not in Pennsylvania yet.
That said, we could see other major companies such as ESPN join the ranks as they have begun to increase the amount of work they do with sports betting. However, it’s hard to believe that they will dive right into it like Fox Sports due to Disney family-oriented brand concerns.
Meanwhile, NBC Sports has already expressed some interest in this industry that has included them registering a few betting-related domains. CBS Sports has also gone down this path as they have the Sportsline product. Lastly, Comcast possesses both a national reach and regional sports networks while also looking into daily fantasy and sports betting.
Ultimately, there appears to be plenty of room for growth in this industry as it gathers more legalization in more states. The deal that Fox Sports has made with TSG may just be the tip of the iceberg for this all, now they just need Mount Airy to open in Pennsylvania so we can all play in the Keystone State.
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