The $286 Billion Industry That Is Exploding During The Coronavirus Lockdown?

Millions of Americans and Canadians – and billions of people across the world — love to gamble.

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Especially on sports, which generates 70% of global gaming revenue: more than lotteries, poker, casinos, and any other form of gaming – combined.

In 2017, the global sports betting market was around $104.31 billion. Worldwide sports wagering according to some sources is expected to reach $155.49 billion by 2024.

Today, the coronavirus pandemic has locked-down countless casinos and other live venues for wagering. For instance, wagers on sports at bookmakers in New Jersey fell 68% in April alone.

But there is a flip side: a huge boom in online gaming and gambling. And among the companies poised to benefit from this digital trend is FansUnite(CSE:FANS; OTCMKTS:FUNFF) – an online sports betting company that has tremendous upside but is currently a small-cap early stage entry point.

The Economist says, “COVID-19 has driven American gamblers online… with casinos shut and sports disrupted, gamblers have still gotten their fix.” And in these unprecedented times, it’s esports that is garnering the attention from all sports fans who can’t go to stadium games or even watch them on TV.

The Economist adds that esports have attracted “a rocketing number of viewers” during the pandemic, noting that “gamblers still wary of lingering in crowded casinos may turn to sports betting as an accessible form of socially distant gambling.”

Streetwise Reports says online sports is “an elixir for fun-starved fans.”

“The stay-at-home lifestyle we now face in 2020 could result in a massive shift in the habits of players,” said FansUnite CEO Darius Eghdami. “Players that are used to going to the physical casino or the horse track may now shift their habits to online and FansUnite (CSE:FANS; OTCMKTS:FUNFF) with its sophisticated online betting platforms, is one of several industry leaders positioning themselves to benefit from this change in consumer behavior triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. 

In 2019, the global online gambling market was $53.7 billion. But in the age of COVID-19, online gambling is expected by some analysts to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 11.5% from 2020 to 2027.

Source: Gambling Compliance Report, 5/13/19.

With stay-at-home and lockdowns remaining in force in so many states, the quarantine-fueled explosion in online gambling, mergers and acquisitions in the internet gaming space are on the upswing.

And M&A, especially in the gambling sector, recently has had an impressive track record of generating handsome profits for investors who got in early.

For instance…

A paper in the Journal of Financial Economics tracked the results of acquisition attempts made by 30 active acquirers.

The study found that “For a sample of thirty active acquirers, the evidence indicates that acquisition attempts were profitable investment projects.”

For example, DraftKings went public and acquired SB Tech. The result? DraftKings stock almost doubled since their April 2020 IPO — elevating the market cap to $20 billion.

The next big play in Canadian gaming

Now, a similar play – one with enormous potential for the companies involved – is unfolding even as we speak: FansUnite Entertainment Inc.(CSE:FANS; OTCMKTS:FUNFF)

FansUnite is a sports and entertainment company focusing on technology for regulated and lawful online sports betting.

The consumer platform offers a wide choice of payment methods, including PayPal, credit cards, and even cryptocurrencies. FansUnite will make money on the consumer side by taking a small fee for all bets placed on the platform, which is set to launch later this year.

In June 2020, FansUnite and Askott Entertainment Inc. entered into an amalgamation agreement.

FansUnite will acquire all outstanding secure of Askott to create one of Canada’s leading online gaming companies focused on sports betting, esports wagering, and casino games.

Askott focuses on esports betting with multiple B2C platforms and several B2B contracts signed. Two are live and generating revenue; the other two are expected to go live this year. A new sales team, upon completion of the acquisition, will be responsible for bringing in 10 or more additional clients quickly. This could cause B2B revenues to grow and compound at a rapid rate.

Plus, FansUnite wholly owns McBookie, which operates solely in the UK with a focus on casinos, virtual sports, and sports betting.

McBookie has around 10,000 active players and has approximately $350M CAD of betting volume since inception.

FansUnite’s shareholders are supportive of the company’s aggressive M&A strategy. The company has shown an ability to complete financing if required. Their first deals were heavily stock-based acquisitions, with the leadership team leveraging their experience and the opportunity to share in future growth as a key aspect of the deals.

Another plus is that FansUnite’s board and executive team have decades of experience in strategy, M&A, esports, sports betting, launching and growing new brands in the gaming space, and licensing government relationships and transactions to develop shareholder value.

CEO and co-founder Darius Eghdami has been in the sports betting and handicapping industries for over a decade, and some industry experts have been keeping their eye on him. Darius was named to the TMX Group’s Top 150 Entrepreneurs, a distinction he is showing was well deserved.

FansUnite also boasts an experienced technical development team. Their programmers and systems analysts have built all of FansUnite platforms with innovative and scalable technology. The newly acquired Askott team was nominated for esports platform provider of the year by EGR Virtual Awards.

Cutting edge technology in a burgeoning industry.

The float for FansUnite (CSE:FANS; OTCMKTS:FUNFF) is small. All insiders are locked up for 12 months, showing confidence in their long-term vision for the company.

Experience shows that the lion’s share of the opportunities and synergies are identified within the first 6 to 12 months of the merger.

Once you read about the deal on the front page of the Wall Street Journal or Financial Times, the company has probably made it. Which means investors should watch this company carefully between now and when the merger is completed or right after that.

Second, the duration and eventual end of the coronavirus pandemic is unpredictable. FansUnite has demonstrated its ability in these unprecedented times not only survive but also thrive. Since the NBA and then the rest of the sporting world, shut down in mid-March, FansUnite has completed a $3m+ financing, closed the acquisition of McBookie, listed their stock and successfully negotiated their merger with Askott Entertainment. Once lockdown is lifted, it will no doubt change the online/in-person mix of betting opportunities, but one thing this company has done in recent months is show its ability to adapt, and flourish in rapidly shifting circumstances. 

As mentioned, global online gambling is already a huge market with $53.7 billion in annual revenues.

And online gambling is forecast to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 11.5% from 2020 to 2027.

FansUnite has been operating independently since 2013. But now that FansUnite is about to merge with Askott Entertainment, it’s a whole new ball game.

The new FansUnite will have the technology, subscriber base, and management team to achieve its primary mission: to become one of the big players that dominate this niche – and become the largest iGaming provider in Canada.

When and if that happens, there’s no telling where the company could go. But investors who invest now can take a position in FansUnite at an early stage company price—currently around 50 cents a share. That means you can own a block of 10,000 shares for around $5,000. Conclusion: If you want to gamble for some of the big gains being made in online sports betting … without paying through the nose … FansUnite (CSE:FANS; OTCMKTS:FUNFF) could be a smart way to do it, while the online sports betting market is on fire.

By. Siobhan Williams

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