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ESPN Bet App Takes in More Money Since Dropping Barstool Brand

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Penn Entertainment Inc. is taking in more wagers from its new ESPN Bet sports-betting app than it did under the jettisoned Barstool brand, according to analysts and data from several states.

In Maryland, mobile wagers on ESPN Bet jumped to $42.4 million in December from $16.4 million under the Barstool name a year ago, according to state results reported last week. That placed Penn third behind industry leaders FanDuel and DraftKings Inc., and ahead of rivals BetMGM and Caesars Entertainment Inc.

In Iowa, Penn generated mobile sports wagers of $18.8 million in December, more than double the $7.2 million in the year-ago period, according to data released by the state last week.

“Preliminary data suggest the book improved on its predecessor’s small market share — and did so during a key seasonal period,” Brian Egger, a senior analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence, said.

While the ESPN Bet app is off to a fast start, Penn is confronting high costs and entrenched rivals in its quest for a bigger foothold in online gaming.

The casino operator based in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, originally launched its sports-betting business under the Barstool name, after acquiring the online video and podcast company from sports commentator David Portnoy. After challenges associated with the controversial founder, Penn gave Barstool back to Portnoy and signed a $2 billion deal last year to license Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN brand.

The December numbers follow the strong launch for ESPN Bet on Nov. 14. Penn’s share of sports-betting revenue in November in six states was about 12%, according to Macquarie Group analyst Chad Beynon. That’s up from about 2% for Penn when it used the Barstool name.

“Though still early,” the reports for ESPN Bet are “positive,” Beynon wrote in a Jan. 3 research note. The brand will likely increase betting revenue because it appeals to a wider range of potential customers, including women, he said.

ESPN has been promoting the app on its TV shows, website and other outlets, using the site’s betting odds in stories, for example, rather than other brands.

Compliance Updates

Pace-O-Matic Wins Landmark Texas Court Case: A Victory for Small Business Owners and Community Organizations

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Pace-O-Matic, the industry leader in skill-based games, today announced a significant legal victory in Texas, affirming the legality of its skill-based games. This ruling, issued Tuesday evening by State District Judge Laurine Blake, emphasized that such games are not considered gambling under Texas law. The ruling represents a triumph for small business owners, bar owners, and fraternal organizations who rely on these games to attract customers and support their businesses.

Michael Barley, Chief Public Affairs Officer at Pace-O-Matic, stated, “This ruling is a monumental victory for the small businesses and community organizations that have been able to thrive thanks to skill-based gaming. Our commitment to providing legal, enjoyable, and skill-based gaming options has once again been validated by the courts.”

This legal win underscores Pace-O-Matic’s dedication to fostering a responsible gaming environment while supporting local economies and community groups.

For more information visit Pace-O-Matic

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Compliance Updates

NJDGE Closes its Investigation of Evolution AB with No Further Action

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Evolution AB has been informed by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) that it has conducted an investigation into allegations of misconduct by Evolution AB and that its investigation has been closed with no further action taken.

In November 2021 the NJDGE received a report prepared by an unidentified firm alleging misconduct by Evolution AB. Following receipt of the report, the NJDGE commenced a thorough investigation into the allegations to determine their validity.

The NJDGE found no evidence that Evolution sanctioned, promoted, permitted, or otherwise materially benefitted from its content offered by operators in any market that the NJDGE considers a prohibited jurisdiction.

Evolution also conducted an internal review, while concluding that its due diligence and compliance processes were sufficient, Evolution took the opportunity to enhance its processes. The NJDGE supports the enhancements that Evolution has made. The enhancements did not relate to any jurisdictional violations.

The NJDGE’s investigation into this matter is closed requiring no further action.

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eSports

Gen.G and University of Kentucky Bring Back Award Winning Conference “Campus Takeover” Designed to Drive the Future of Collegiate Esports

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Global esports and gaming organization Gen.G and the University of Kentucky (UK) are bringing back their award winning collegiate esports industry conference, Campus Takeover, on March 30 and April 6. This two-day event will bring together esports professionals with students and administrators from different universities. UK continues to pave the way as an esports ecosystem leader in the SEC and Midwest region.

Campus Takeover Day 1 is a student-focused event leading up to the professional conference, and will be live-streamed at twitch.tv/universityofky on March 30 starting at 4:30 PM EST. Campus Takeover Day 2, the flagship professional conference, will be hosted at the Don & Cathy Jacobs Science Building on the University of Kentucky campus on April 6, starting at 10:00 AM EST.

“Since we started this event, we had a responsibility to uphold what future students expect of the University of Kentucky when it comes to their budding esports careers. There’s a lot expected about the future of gaming and esports, and we want to make sure our students are well equipped to be that expected change for years to come,” Heath Price, Associate Chief Information Officer at University of Kentucky, said.

Additionally, many esports professionals hailing from different segments of esports business will participate in various panels during Campus Takeover. The panels and discussions will cover a bevy of topics, including how to maximize your time when looking for new jobs, a conversation around esports, influencers, business, and video games, a look at intersectionality in games, and much more. Other clubs and programs will also be welcome to have tables within the Atrium during Campus Takeover, so even newer students get to see everything UK has to offer.

“University of Kentucky has been our long term collegiate partner; their investment in this community allows us to have a small hand in making sure the future of gaming and esports is secure. We all want to see this industry thrive, and we hope Campus Takeover is a stepping stone for other schools to form their own ways to develop the collegiate esports ecosystem,” Martin Kim, Chief Revenue Officer at Gen.G, said.

Campus Takeover was recognized at the 2023 Esports & Gaming Business Summit Tempest Awards, where it won the award for the Collegiate Esports Program of the Year.

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