SBTech “ready but cautious” as it forges relations with key US stakeholders

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As the industry scrambles to prepare for an overturn of current anti-betting laws in key parts of the United States, sports betting solutions supplier SBTech has beaten away the competition to secure a highly sought-after strategic partnership with US-based gaming supplier GAN. But in spite of these successes, and the apparent readiness for change, the mood at SBTech remains cautious.

 

This January, as the gaze of the international media continued to fall on the US and its ongoing battle over sports-betting regulation, sports-betting solutions supplier SBTech announced a landmark partnership with prominent US-facing supplier GAN.

The strategic relationship between the pair will see GAN, a major B2B supplier for land-based casinos in the US, supplying SBTech’s real-money sports betting services to casinos in selected states as part of its suite of online software-as-service solutions. SBTech’s sports betting solution will be integrated with GAN’s GameSTACK™ enterprise software platform and delivered to players through both online and retail channels.

At present, GAN’s clients in the US represent more than 70 casino properties from coast to coast, generating annual revenues in excess of US$8bn in land-based casino gaming.

“GAN is a licensed, trusted partner to more than a dozen US casino operators, and is equipped with unique intellectual property and a proven track record in delivering and growing internet gaming businesses in the United States,” said SBTech CEO Richard Carter.

“This partnership is a logical step for SBTech and allows the company to rapidly introduce its sports betting technology and services to a wide range of US casinos with a view to being the first provider to settle a US sports bet online and on-property in States such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania, in close collaboration with GAN.”

Most US states are currently banned from implementing their own licensed sports betting regimes under rules enshrined in the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act 1992 (PASPA), but industry stakeholders are hopeful that this controversial legislation could be overturned by the Supreme Court in the coming months.

In the meantime, New Jersey and Pennsylvania have proactively tabled bills that would allow them to implement a sports-betting regime almost immediately following a PASPA-overturn. But while this latest deal puts SBTech in prime position should the court decide in New Jersey’s favour in the coming months, a spokesperson for the company has described its approach as “cautious”.

“It is of paramount importance that suppliers such as SBTech forge good relations with all industry stakeholders in the US, whether states, individual casinos or trade bodies; and that is exactly what we have been doing,” they said.

“We are a member of the American Gaming Association’s betting task-force, which has played an active role in educating and promoting a regulatory model that is good for business but also ensures sporting integrity and social responsibility are key objectives of any potential US regulatory framework.”

At this point in time, there remain several possible scenarios on the table in the US, from a total repeal of PASPA and a patchwork of state legislation, to a new federal framework or continuation of the status quo.

Discussing the potential inroads in the former scenario, the SBTech spokesperson said the company was prepared to adapt its existing suite of US sport products to the new audience – but stressed that there was no point in preempting what hadn’t yet happened.

“The major US betting markets will be those that are most well-known: NBA, NFL, MLB and potentially NHL. We have markets on all those sports and they will be formatted to US bettors’ tastes, covering spreads and handicaps and so on,” the spokesperson added.

“However, it is important not to pre-empt any scenario in the US. We are ready for what would be a major watershed, but experience has taught us to be cautious.”

That being said, the outlook for casino suppliers – even in the small number of currently regulated markets – remains positive. And for now, it seems like SBTech has found its edge in the market, being picked among several possible candidates for the current strategic partnership with GAN.

Commenting on this relationship, Dermot Smurfit, CEO of GAN, stated: “GAN has been asked by several clients to review, procure and support the delivery of a sports betting solution both online and in the on-property retail channel in the event PASPA is overturned.

“We have conducted a lengthy diligence process in Europe to identify a preferred sports betting partner based on their technical capability, US licensing suitability, ability to integrate seamlessly with GAN’s enterprise software platform and the sophistication of their managed sports services. We are delighted to announce this strategic relationship with SBTech.”


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