Wynn Invests $80 Million in Revamped Online-Gaming Venture

Wynn Resorts Ltd. is investing $80 million in a newly reorganized joint venture to pursue online betting in the U.S., marking the latest attempt by a casino giant to tap the fast-growing market.

Wynn had established a partnership two years ago with BetBull Ltd., a European online gaming operator, to pursue sports betting. The new venture, which is owned 71% by Wynn and 29% by BetBull’s former shareholders, combines that company’s online betting operations overseas with Wynn’s sports betting and social games in the U.S.

The venture, which will operate under the name Wynn Interactive, has launched in New Jersey and had revenue of about $21 million last year. The plan is to expand to Colorado, Michigan and Indiana in the coming months.

BetBull developed a more social version of online gaming that is unique in the industry, Wynn Chief Executive Officer Matt Maddox said on a conference call.

“It moves you into chat rooms quickly -- it’s fun,” he said.

The joint venture, which employs about 150 people, has deals that will allow it to offer sports betting in nine states.

Wynn reported sales for the third quarter that fell short of analysts’ estimates due to weakness in the Macau market. Revenue and profit in Las Vegas, though down sharply from last year, exceeded expectations due to rebounding weekend demand.

The company’s Boston-area resort had its most profitable quarter since opening, although the property will have to cut back its hours starting Friday due to new pandemic-related restrictions.

Separately, Caesars Entertainment Inc. announced plans to offer a single betting app in the U.S. that lets customers earn loyalty points both at its casinos and online. The move follows its $3.8 billion agreement to buy U.K. betting operator William Hill Plc, a deal slated to close next year.

Caesars’ New Jersey online business is on track to deliver $150 million in revenue this year, CEO Tom Reeg said. The company will operate sportsbooks under the Caesars brand at its own hotels while using the William Hill brand at other casinos, he said.

“This is the most significant growth opportunity in the casino space since riverboats were legalized in the 1990s,” Reeg said. “You are in inning one of, if you’re thinking in baseball terms, what ultimately will be an extra-inning game.’”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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