By Tejun Celestin, originally published on February 15th, 2022.
Since the United States Supreme Court got rid of the federal ban on sports gambling in 2018, venture capitalists (VCs) have been placing their bets on which sports gambling companies will be the next big thing. With the US sports betting market forecasted to reach $39b by 2033, investments within the space are becoming much more popular. Stephen Grambling, the Head of US Gaming, Lodging & Leisure Research at Goldman Sachs, predicts that there will be 50mm people betting on sports in the US in 2033.
In February 2020, Vigtory, an online sportsbook that takes bets on events and pays out winnings, completed a seed round led by VC firm SeventySix Capital, raising $1.5mm. One year later, Vigtory was acquired by FuboTV for $36.90mm. Another successful investment made by SeventySix Capital was VSiN, a sports betting media network that was acquired by DraftKings for nearly $70mm. Other VC’s such as Bettor Capital and Sharp Alpha Advisors recently closed their Fund I’s, demonstrating investor confidence in the sports gambling industry. Bettor Capital is focused on “the software and technology providers facilitating the digital migration of the real money gaming industry,” while Sharp Alpha Advisors is “specializing in sports betting & online gaming.”
Right now in the US, it is legal to bet on sports in Washington DC and 30 states. 18 of those states allow people to wager bets online. As more states continue to legalize sports betting, it is my belief that even more VC firms will want to get in on the action. Well known VC firms such as Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, and Tiger Global Management have already invested in fantasy sports companies. Although fantasy sports are different from gambling, successful companies such as DraftKings and FanDuel that started off as fantasy sports platforms have now launched their own sportsbooks.
There are many differences between sports bettors and VC’s, but at the end of the day, they are both investing their money in the hopes of making a profitable return. As long as sports bettors keep placing wagers on their favorite teams and VC’s keep providing funding to new sports gambling companies, the sports betting industry will make states, investors, and even some lucky gamblers a lot of money.
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Thank you for reading this insight written by Tejun Celestin, an Associate in the Mel Rines Angel Investment Fund. To learn more about The Fund, please visit https://www.rinesfund.com/
Tejun Celestin is a senior from Deerfield, NH. He is pursuing a degree in Business Administration with options in Finance and Information Systems & Business Analytics and minoring in Kinesiology. Tejun was a manufacturing cost analyst intern at Alstom in the summer of 2020. Last summer he interned at Goldman Sachs and he will return there after graduation. On campus, Tejun is a Dean’s Ambassador, chaired the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Commission, was the chief financial officer of the Interfraternity Council, and is a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. He joined The Fund in order to learn more about venture capital and to meet and work with other ambitious individuals.