Online gambling is sending sports betting ETFs to record highs

ETF gamers are doubling down on the net gambling and sports betting area in 2021.

Betting curiosity has surged all through the coronavirus pandemic, and every week after Super Bowl LV, associated ETFs are having fun with a record run.

Right now, there are two main funds on the market that supply core publicity to gambling and sports betting – the Roundhill Sports Betting & iGaming (BETZ) and the VanEck Vectors Gaming ETF (BJK). Both launched final 12 months and have rapidly raced to record highs.

BETZ, particularly, has skyrocketed 96% because it launched in early June.

VanEck’s ETF provides a extra conventional mixture of on line casino shares and gambling names – together with Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands – which have taken successful from journey and leisure troubles. BETZ is a worldwide pure play on digital gaming shares like on-line bookmaker PointsBet, Canadian betting agency Score Media, and even a handful of SPACs centered on sports betting expertise and knowledge suppliers.

Roundhill Sports Betting & iGaming ETF (BETZ) Top Holdings (% Weighting)
Kindred Group5.2%
PointsBet Holdings4.8%
Penn National Gaming4.5%
Score Media and Gaming4.2%

The BETZ fund has grown to accrue greater than $350 million in whole belongings underneath administration in simply seven months and has seen inflows of $146 million thus far this 12 months.

Will Hershey, co-founder and CEO of Roundhill Investments, mentioned the business has been in hyper-growth mode ever since sports betting turned legalized on the federal degree within the U.S. in 2018 with the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA).

Record bets on Super Bowl weekend

State-by-state legalization

More and extra states are coming on-line by way of authorized sports betting, akin to Tennessee and Virginia, which took its first on-line sports guess in January.

“We expect as the U.S. market matures and more states come online, that’s going to shift, and it’s going to mean revenues for sports book operators,” Hershey mentioned on CNBC’s “ETF Edge” final week. “But maybe more importantly, it’s going to mean tax dollars for state legislators.”

Sports betting has been legalized in some kind or one other in 21 U.S. states now, together with New Jersey, Nevada and Pennsylvania, together with Washington, D.C. But among the greatest states — California, Florida and Texas — have but to observe go well with.

Still, Hershey insists we’re within the early innings of legalization and expects 10-12 extra states will come on-line this 12 months.

Impetus for legalization

In Hershey’s thoughts, it makes excellent sense for states to authorize sports betting to bridge the funds hole introduced on by the pandemic and herald further tax income.

“I think really what’s going on here, similar to what we’re seeing in the cannabis industry, is there are material budget deficits at the state level, even at the country level,” Hershey mentioned. “We’re really just getting started. When we look at the opportunity here for U.S. markets [alone], we’re talking upwards of $20-$30 billion in terms of total addressable market for sports betting.”

With the fast rise of gamers like DraftKings and FanDuel, sports betting curiosity has developed dramatically from every day fantasy sports to reside betting – however Hershey believes the majority of the true cash is nonetheless going to be in on-line casinos, with sports books primarily driving buyer acquisition.

Running a recreation of blackjack would nonetheless provide larger margins and rather more predictable income than, say, this 12 months’s Super Bowl, the place Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers protection surprised sports followers by handing the Kansas City Chiefs a blowout loss, 31-9.

“Who could have seen that coming?” Hershey mentioned. “You have to manage for that as a sports book. Live betting technology is going to advance to the point where we’re not even talking about the next 10 minutes, we’re talking about whether the next pitch is a curve or a fastball. I think that’s going to unlock real monetization opportunities when the technology gets to that point.”

Some skeptics would possibly dismiss the notion of partaking in on-line gambling operations or shopping for extra pot to steadiness state budgets, however Dave Nadig, director of analysis at ETF Trends, mentioned he sees the tax story as inevitable.

“Certainly, legalization of cannabis, a big part of that has been this push for tax revenue, at the state and local level,” he mentioned in the identical “ETF Edge” interview. “I think we’re going to see the same thing, frankly, in anything that we have previously regulated out as a ‘sin activity,’ like gambling.”

Bottom line: When it comes to scorching, buzzy themes tied to gamification developments, ETF traders are all in.

Disclosure: CNBC mother or father Comcast and NBC Sports are traders in FanDuel.


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