May 18, 2022

ETF players will double in online gambling and sports betting arena in 2021.

Betting interest has increased during the coronavirus pandemic, and a week after the Super Bowl LV, related ETFs are on a record run.

There are currently two main funds that offer centralized exposure to gaming and sports betting – the Roundhill Sports Betting & iGaming (BETZ) and the VanEck Vectors Gaming ETF (BJK). Both started last year and have quickly reached record highs.

BETZ in particular has increased by 96% since it was launched in early June.

VanEcks ETF offers a more traditional mix of casino stocks and gambling names – including Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands – that have been hit by travel and leisure issues. BETZ is a worldwide pure game with digital gaming stocks like online bookmaker PointsBet, Canadian betting company Score Media and even a handful of SPACs that focus on sports betting technology and data providers.

Roundhill Sports Betting & iGaming ETF (BETZ) Top Holdings (% Weighting)
Related group 5.2%
PointsBet Holdings 4.8%
Penn National Gaming 4.5%
DraftKings 4.4%
Score Media and Gaming 4.2%

The BETZ fund has grown to more than $ 350 million in total assets under management in just seven months, and has posted inflows of $ 146 million so far this year.

Will Hershey, Co-Founder and CEO of Roundhill Investments, said the industry has been in hyper-growth mode (PASPA) since sports betting was legalized at the federal level in the US in 2018 with the repeal of the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.

Record bets on Super Bowl weekend

It should come as no surprise that Super Bowl Sunday sparked an extra dose of intense betting activity. It’s the biggest betting day of the year for both Las Vegas sports betting and online betting shops – and it’s no different for the world of ETFs.

The numbers have grown from state to state, and the latest totals show that $ 444 million of regulated wagers were placed on the big game, with seven states still to report.

That’s already a total of $ 300 million last year and marks a record high or a bet on a single event. PlayUSA analysts expect the final balance sheet this year to top legal Super Bowl betting over $ 500 million – and that doesn’t include billions more coming in on black markets and unregulated sports books.

U.S. sports betting revenue is projected to reach $ 2.5 billion in 2021 and grow to $ 8 billion by 2025.

What is driving the rapid expansion? Hershey cites the ubiquitous shift from stationary to mobile and online services, as well as a major expansion of legalization across the country.

State legalization

More and more states like Tennessee and Virginia, which placed their first online sports betting in January, are getting online with legal sports betting.

“We expect the US market to mature and more states to go online. That will change and mean income for sports betting operators,” Hershey said on CNBC’s “ETF Edge” last week. “But perhaps more importantly, it will mean tax money for lawmakers.”

Sports betting has been legalized in some form in 21 states, including New Jersey, Nevada and Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC. However, some of the largest states – California, Florida, and Texas – have yet to follow.

Still, Hershey insists we are in the early stages of legalization and expects 10-12 more states to go online this year.

Kick-off for legalization

According to Hershey, it makes perfect sense for states to approve sports betting to fill the budget gap caused by the pandemic and generate additional tax revenue.

“I really think what is going on here, similar to what is going on in the cannabis industry, is that there are significant budget deficits at the state level, even at the state level,” Hershey said. “We’re just getting started. If we look at the opportunity for US markets [alone]We’re talking $ 20 billion to $ 30 billion in terms of the total addressable sports betting market. “

With the rapid rise of players like DraftKings and FanDuel, interest in sports betting has shifted dramatically from daily fantasy sports to live betting – but Hershey believes that most of the real money will continue to flow into online casinos, with sports books mostly the Drive customer acquisition.

A game of blackjack would still offer higher margins and much more predictable revenue than, say, this year’s Super Bowl, where Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense stunned sports fans by giving the Kansas City Chiefs a 31-9 blowout loss gifts.

“Who could have seen this coming?” Said Hershey. “You have to do that as sports betting. Live betting technology will be so advanced that we won’t even talk about the next 10 minutes, but rather whether the next field will be a curve or a fastball. I think this will be real monetization opportunities open when the technology gets to that point. “

Some skeptics may oppose the idea of ​​gambling online or buying more pot to balance the national budget, but Dave Nadig, director of research at ETF Trends, said he saw tax history as inevitable.

“Certainly the legalization of cannabis was a big part of it the demand for tax revenue at the state and local level,” he said in the same “ETF Edge” interview. “I think we will honestly see the same thing in anything we have previously regulated as a ‘sin activity’, such as gambling.”

Bottom line: when it comes to hot, lively topics associated with gamification trends, ETF investors are right there.

Disclosure: CNBC’s parent company Comcast and NBC Sports are investors in FanDuel.

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