Light & Wonder completes sportsbook sale to Endeavor

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Light & Wonder has completed the previously announced divestiture of its sports betting business to Endeavor, the two companies announced Friday.

The deal for OpenBet, Light & Wonder’s former sports betting division, was completed for total gross proceeds of roughly $800m, per press releases from the two companies. The price included $750m in cash and just over 2.3m shares of Class A common stock of Endeavor.

Light & Wonder’s finalized sale of its sports betting division is the final step as the company reorganizes itself to focus on online casino gaming. Along with OpenBet, the former Scientific Games has also divested its lottery division.

“With the completion of the OpenBet divestiture and our now streamlined organization, Light & Wonder is well positioned to execute on our growth strategy with a singular focus on building great games fully cross-platform,” said Matt Wilson, interim Chief Executive Officer of Light & Wonder, in a statement. “With our R&D engine and world-class talent at our core, we have an unparalleled ability to leverage our leading industry positions, evergreen franchises and unmatched platforms to drive sustainable differentiation and significant value.”

Light & Wonder announced the reorganization plans in June 2021. The sale positions OpenBet to build on its “exceptional track record of innovation as part of Endeavor,” per company release.

“The addition of OpenBet to our sports betting portfolio will enable us to further capitalize on the massive tailwinds in the fast-evolving sports betting ecosystem and lead the way in defining the future of sports betting entertainment,” said Endeavor CEO Ariel Emanuel in a statement. “In combination with our IMG ARENA sports data and content business, we’ll look to create and unlock meaningful value for our rights holder and sportsbook customers, helping deliver the most compelling offerings for sports fans globally.”

OpenBet works exclusively with licensed customers and regulated global gaming markets. This includes leading US and international sportsbooks such as DraftKings, FanDuel, SkyBet, Ladbrokes and William Hill, per Endeavor press release.

OpenBet focuses on betting engine technology, processing billions of bets annually. The platform also features trading, pricing and risk management tool, player account and wallet solutions, front-end UX and UI as well as content offerings such as BetBuilder, DonBest pricing feeds and an industry-first sports content aggregation platform.

IMG ARENA works with nearly 500 sportsbook brands, leagues and federations worldwide to deliver its official FastPath live streaming video and data feeds for more than 45,000 sports events annually. Endeavor said in Friday’s announcement it will bring OpenBet and IMG Arena together to form a new operating segment within the company beginning next year.

Light & Wonder’s sports betting spinoff comes as more tech providers are creating sportsbooks in the growing US market. Along with Endeavor, other major global and US companies such as Elys, Kambi and IGT are among the gaming tech providers that have partnered with US commercial casinos and/or Native American tribes to launch branded online sportsbooks.

There are roughly 50 US sports betting brands live in at least one American jurisdiction. Though many major operators such as DraftKings and Penn Entertainment have begun transitioning to in-house tech, third-party operators are still a significant component of many US sportsbooks.

For Light & Wonder, the divestiture of online sports betting allows the company to focus on the more lucrative iCasino market. Only a handful of states have legal online casino gaming, but stakeholders are hopeful more states will soon legalize these more high-margin offerings.

About the author

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Ryan Butler

Ryan is a veteran sports betting and iGaming regulation and breaking news journalist based in the US. A two-time Associated Press Sports Editors award winner, he has reported on sports and politics since 2012. He has covered the gaming industry since 2018. Ryan graduated from the University of Florida with a major in Journalism and a minor in Sport Management.

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