On Thursday, Wynn announced that it entered into a strategic partnership with the Malta-based, UK-licensed BetBull Ltd to “pursue sports betting opportunities in the emerging US market.” The idea is for BetBull to supply the technology, while Wynn supplies its “nationally recognized brand.”
As part of this new partnership, Wynn will take a 22.5% ownership stake in BetBull “in due course subject to customary closing conditions.” And that’s about all the parties had to say on the matter.
Wynn’s US operations are, for the moment, entirely based in Nevada, where it operates two resorts, Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Las Vegas, both of which already feature sportsbooks, including a Miomni-powered mobile wagering product.
Wynn is also developing its $2.4b Encore Boston Harbor project in Massachusetts, where wagering isn’t yet legal, and where regulators are still deciding whether to let Wynn operate. But the company hasn’t put down roots in any other states, partly due to former CEO Steve Wynn’s insistence that every venue bearing his name be dripping with marble, gold and other accoutrements that unsubtly inform the general public that ‘you can’t afford to be here.’
So Wynn and BetBull are banking on the Wynn brand’s ability to transcend state borders into areas where Wynn has no physical presence. The partners are also banking on the brand not reminding people of the sexual harassment allegations that forced Steve Wynn to resign last year. And keep in mind that it was only February when the company hinted that ditching the Wynn brand might prove a net positive in the increasingly inhospitable #MeToo climate.
Still, the company likely felt it had to do something. Wynn is a late arrival to the US sports betting gold rush, as stateside rivals Boyd Gaming, Caesars Entertainment, Eldorado Resorts, Penn National Gaming, MGM Resorts and others have all been busy doing deals to ensure they’re positioned to make the most of any and all sports betting opportunities that may arise.