December 18, 2023 3 min read

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Introducing Riskier Wagers Bodes Well for US Gambling Operators

Renowned short-seller Jim Chanos has made a surprising pivot from his once-bearish outlook on the US gambling industry, reflecting on recent developments and opportunities

The leading hedge fund manager attributed his change in perspective to the growing trend of riskier betting options and the subsequent boost to operators’ margins. A steady stream of innovations from US operators has enabled them to reach broader demographics and improve customer onboarding and retention. New wagering options, often originating from daily fantasy offerings, also contributed to these trends.

New Ways to Wager Can Bolster Profitability

Jim Chanos noted a significant rise in riskier forms of betting during the 2022-2023 National Football League season, prompting a reassessment of the industry’s potential. The seasoned investor previously secured a substantial profit on shorting DraftKings stock, so his shifting sentiment surprised many of his peers. However, Chanos is confident in his new assessment.

The betting numbers have continued to be strong in the US, stronger than we thought they’d be.

Jim Chanos

During an interview for the Financial Times, he explained the reasoning behind his shifting perspective, highlighting the resounding success of new and engaging betting options as the industry slowly pivots away from traditional pre-game wagers. These new offerings usually offer significantly higher margins than the standard 5%, causing operator profitability to skyrocket.

Chanos also highlighted the emergence of a duopoly in the US betting market, primarily controlled by FanDuel and DraftKings, dominating the industry’s landscape. While promising newcomers like ESPN Bet and Fanatics have certainly made a splash, the market leaders have also stepped up their game, attempting to mitigate the outflow of customers via new promotions and offerings.

Market Leaders Remain at the Forefront

DraftKings, one of the leading betting platforms, reported its first profitable quarter in the second quarter of this year and is poised for a full-year profit in 2024. The operator’s share price has reflected this positive trajectory, more than tripling this year to $35.35. CEO Jason Robins expressed confidence in the company’s market position, lauding its product excellence.

DraftKings’ new Progressive Parlay product perfectly highlights Chanos’ point, mirroring the style and functionality of fantasy gaming offerings. This new way to wager enables bettors to build parlay cards and potentially win money even if some bets lose. DraftKings’ ability to swiftly recognize and adapt to industry trends has been one of the leading factors for its unparalleled success, bolstering investor confidence.

The shift in Chanos’ perspective underscores the evolving dynamics in the US gambling sector as operators explore innovative betting options and capitalize on the rising appetite for riskier wagers among American bettors. The fact that the investor did not name any concrete promising stocks could indicate his confidence in the sector as a whole, boding well for the industry’s future.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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