The Nevada Gaming Control Board on Wednesday recommended a FanDuel-branded sportsbook operated by Boyd Gaming at Fremont Casino Las Vegas, and also issued a licensing recommendation for Flutter Entertainment —FanDuel's parent—, and six Flutter executives. The Nevada Gaming Commission will make a final decision on August 25.
FanDuel, which would return to Nevada operations after seven years, will provide betting odds and make recommendations on any wagering line movements to the Fremont sportsbook personnel, who will still be Boyd employees, as reported by The Nevada Independent. Per the new agreement, FanDuel will receive an undisclosed percentage of the gaming revenue from the Fremont sportsbook.
During Wednesday's hearing, Nevada gaming regulators asked FanDuel CEO Amy Howe if there could be any confusion by the company’s branding of the sportsbook inside Boyd’s Fremont Hotel Casino. She and Las Vegas attorney Erica Okerberg replied that the arrangement is similar to tribal gaming sportsbooks in several states that carry the FanDuel brand.
The firm operates sports betting in 15 states with several casino partners. Boyd has a 5% ownership of FanDuel, and it operates sports betting at its ten Las Vegas-area casinos through Boyd Sports, its retail and mobile sports wagering business.
FanDuel would this way return to Nevada after having operated daily fantasy sports contests in the state until October 2015, when the state's gaming regulators ruled that daily fantasy was a form of sports wagering. The companies and other daily fantasy businesses had to be licensed as sports betting operators if they wanted to offer daily fantasy sports in the state, which then halted their Nevada operations.
On Wednesday, Howe said FanDuel has more than 2,500 employees nationwide. She told the control board the company wouldn’t offer daily fantasy sports in Nevada, nor would FanDuel launch its own mobile sports betting app. “Stay within the confines of your licenses,” Control Board Chairman Brin Gibson told Howe, according to The Nevada Independent. “If you want to move beyond that, then work with us.”
The FanDuel sportsbook area at the Fremont will feature FanDuel signage and other branding insignias, along with seating for 76 customers, a high-definition television viewing wall, four betting windows, and seven betting kiosks. It will use a technology platform provided by International Game Technology (IGT), which is Boyd’s sports betting partner and is also a partner of FanDuel in other states.
By early next year, FanDuel will operate retail and mobile sports betting with Boyd casinos in eight of the company’s nine regional states. Through its partnership with FanDuel, Boyd has online casinos in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
In late July, Boyd Gaming reported revenues of $894.5 million for the second quarter of the year, up slightly from $893.6 million in the same period last year. The modest 0.1% increase came despite a 6% decline in its gaming operations, which were down by about $40 million to $684.9 million, compared to $727.5 million in Q2 2021. Encouraged by the positive results, the company now targets to expand its US retail and digital footprint further.
The company's strategy includes the expected completion of the previously announced acquisition of California-based online gaming company Pala Interactive, for a cash consideration of $170 million. Pending the receipt of all remaining regulatory approvals, Boyd anticipates closure of the deal around year-end, ahead of a previously unveiled completion date by Q1 of 2023.
The Pala acquisition is part of Boyd’s strategy for the online gaming segment, which also includes the company’s presence in sports betting. As a result of recent legalization in Kansas and Ohio, the operator is planning the roll-out of retail and mobile sports gaming in these states alongside FanDuel.