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Caesars Primed to Be New York Sports Betting Leader, Says Analyst

Posted on: January 10, 2022, 11:01h. 

Last updated on: January 10, 2022, 01:31h.

Mobile sports wagering finally launched in New York on Saturday, and analysts are already identifying winners, with one singling out Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ:CZR).

Act JB Smoove in an ad for Caesars’ Sportsbook. An analyst sees the company emerging as a leader in New York. (Image: PR Newswire)

After a long wait, mobile sports betting commenced in the fourth-largest state on Saturday, Jan. 8, and the debut was unlike anything previously seen in terms of state launches. GeoComply, a provider of geolocating services for sportsbook operators, said 5.8 million transactions were processed in the first 12 hours in New York. For comparison, Pennsylvania and New Jersey combined for 4.4 million sports betting transactions over the same period.

New York more than doubled the transactions seen in any other state’s mobile sports betting debut, while Rush Street Interactive’s (NYSE:RSI) BetRivers reported a Saturday handle of nearly $970,400. However, it’s Caesars that’s catching the attention of B. Riley analyst David Bain.

In a note to clients today, Bain compares Caesars New York experience to what’s happening in Arizona, which recently joined the online sports betting fray. In Arizona, Caesars’ market share is around 14 percent, more than double the operator’s 6.5 percent national average.

NY offers a similar, ‘apples to apples’ comparison with other online operators that have been marketing in the online space in other jurisdictions long before CZR’s recent integration of William Hill, strategic changes to its app, connectivity with its leading rewards card, and closer to at-par marketing spend,” said the analyst.

Caesars, DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG), FanDuel, and RSI were the operators to go live in New York over the weekend. Bally Bet, BetMGM, PointsBet, Resorts World, and WynnBET are waiting on final approval from the New York Gaming Commission.

Caesars Can Deal with Taxes

As is the case with practically everything else in New York, sports wagering is heavily taxed. The state applies a 51 percent levy on the activity.

That’s more than double the national average of 21 percent and quadruple the 13 percent rate in New Jersey, and almost four times the 13.8 percent tax applied by Connecticut. While some analysts see that tax obligation combined with high promotional spending as a potential drag on some operators in New York, Caesars has ways to offset that risk that some rivals don’t possess.

“While NY has a 51 percent tax rate, making cash flow (vs. revenue) for operators a longer-term prospect versus other states recall that CZR’s lead in the brick and mortar gaming offers offline GGR benefits from loyalty programs,” added Bain.

The analyst adds that with New York on pace to become a $1 billion (or more) sports wagering market, that could “accelerate” Caesars’ overall market share.

He also points out that the company sees evidence of “known” online players — be it iGaming or sports betting — spending at its land-based venues. That’s a benefit that DraftKings and FanDuel don’t have.

Bain Bullish on Caesars

Bain rates Caesars a “buy,” with a $191 price target, or more than double the stock’s closing price on Jan. 7. That’s on the high end of analyst forecasts on the stock, though the name is one of Wall Street’s favorite gaming ideas for 2022.

Bain’s estimate ascribes $143 per share in value for Caesars’ brick-and-mortar casino business, $41 for digital gaming, and $7 for the operator’s managed casino enterprise.

That target doesn’t include up to $35 per share in other “potential value creation catalysts.”

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