Rush Street Interactive, Kambi announce sports betting deal extension
Kambi and Rush Street Interactive have extended their partnership, maintaining a significant US sportsbook relationship for the European tech provider.
Kambi’s sportsbook engine will continue powering Rush Street’s online gaming platform under the deal, the two groups announced in a release Monday. Rush Steet operates the BetRivers and/or PlaySugarHouse brand in 15 states and Ontario as well as Columbia and Mexico.
“RSI was the first US-based operator we partnered with post-PASPA, and it has been fantastic to witness RSI become one of the leading online gaming players in the Americas,” Kambi CEO Kristian Nylén said in a statement. “This contract extension ensures Kambi’s sportsbook will continue to complement RSI’s proprietary technology and platform, which together will provide the basis for even greater success in the future.“
Key US deal for Kambi
The renewed deal keeps Kambi’s most notable long-term US client following several high-profile defections in recent years.
In the aftermath of the 2018 Supreme Court decision to strike down the federal sports wagering ban, Kambi was positioned as a US market leader. It was the lead tech provider for DraftKings as well as Penn Entertainment’s Barstool Sportsbook, along with Rush Street’s platforms.
DraftKings announced it was leaving Kambi in 2019 and later merged with rival tech and data provider SBTech. DraftKings has gone on to be the nation’s second-leading sportsbook operator by handle market share.
Penn acquired theScore Bet and its in-house tech platform in 2021. Barstool will migrate off Kambi tech and onto theScore’s platform throughout 2023 as part of a separation agreement the two sides announced in 2022.
Kambi CEO Kristian Nylén: “This contract extension ensures Kambi’s sportsbook will continue to complement RSI’s proprietary technology and platform, which together will provide the basis for even greater success in the future.”
After Rush Street, Kambi’s most notable US partner is Unibet parent company Kindred. Though Unibet is a major brand in Europe, it has struggled to gain much traction in the US. The sportsbook will soon only accept bets in five states – New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Virginia and Indiana – after it announced late last year it would leave Iowa.
In Iowa, Unibet had the 17th-highest handle market share of 18 operators for the month of September 2022. It even trailed FUBO Sportsbook, which shuttered its platform nationally in October.
Rush Street holds steady
The deal maintains Rush Street’s most important tech deal. Its macro-level prospects remain unclear.
The Chicago-based operator is among the national leaders in live markets, but it has struggled to keep up with the US market share leaders FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and Caesars outside Illinois. In key markets such as New York, Rush Street has low single-digit handle shares and while it hasn’t spent nearly as much as many of its larger competitors on marketing, promotions and other costs, it has not managed to post a quarterly profit.
Rush Street Interactive stock is down more than 73% in the past 12 months, an even steeper drop than many other sports betting companies that have seen sharp declines in the past year.
Its position outside the quartet of leading operators, which combined have more than 80% of the US market by handle, as well as its continued financial losses has made RSI a leading target of acquisition rumors. No firm bids have been made publicly available, but Rush Street does have one of the largest rosters of market access deals in the country as well as the rights to one of three licenses in a de facto triopoly in Connecticut.
RSI is also aggressively expanding in Mexico and Colombia, where it is building multiple offices. The company has been among the most active US operators in Latin and South America and has plans for further expansions in the region.
While rumors will continue to swirl, the re-upped Kambi deal further diminishes any notion RSI will look to create or acquire an in-house tech platform.