The whispers of Scientific Games’ acquisition of Don Best Sports picked up at G2E Vegas this year, an event that had a major focus on the US gambling market and how sports betting is set to unfold domestically in the coming weeks and years.
“The story really began with the PASPA repeal and of course with such a monumental event for the industry that led to our organization, given our expertise and heritage with American sports, to gaining a little bit more exposure within the marketplace”, shared Benjie Cherniak, MD of Don Best Sports, now part of the Scientific Games family.
“There were a number of companies that expressed interest in different forms of collaboration with us”, he revealed.
“When we began having a discussion with the people at Scientific Games they embraced the opportunity, they seemed to really understand what we do and how we do it and the impact that we have as it pertains to the US sports and how it impacts not just the US market, but globally…it really seemed like a good fit for both parties”, Cherniak added.
Prior to the Don Best acquisition, Scientific Games already had a significant footprint in the US sports betting market, especially with its acquisition of NYX Group earlier this year (now rebranded as “SG Digital”) which included the OpenBet platform. The addition of Don Best Sports to its portfolio further compliments Scientific Games’ prime position in the US sports betting supplier space, providing a complete “one-stop-shop” for its customers.
“What we bring to the table is really complimentary to what they already have in place and it just brings that piece of dedicated US expertise. We at Don Best focus very heavily on US pricing, US trading and the US player analysis, just really deep-routed understanding with 20 + years of history with the US sports”, Cherniak explained.
Cherniak has coined this moment in the US sports betting industry’s history as “transformational” and predicts a shift in how the general public perceives sports betting in America.
“I think it’s a transformation time within this space in general and that’s not specific to Don Best and its not specific to Scientific Games but its really the industry at large with the PASPA repeal”, he shared.
“Its just a constant state of change right now where you see on a regulatory basis state-by-state emergence of what was once deemed unthinkable within the US outside Nevada, the emergence of mainstream sports betting”, he said.
“Beyond that, what I think we’re at the epicenter of right now, really the precipice of, is almost a cultural revolution within the US where sports betting goes from the back alleys into the mainstream and becomes viewed amongst the populous at large as entertainment which is really what in large part its intended to be”, he added.
“Now we have a lot of the bigger casino groups embracing that and obviously with us at Scientific Games, with the one stop shop, we have the ability to create the appropriate betting markets that are geared to all types of bettors, from the sharp punters to those who are going to view this as an entertaining opportunity”, Cherniak shared.
Over the course of the next six months there are a whopping three US-focused gambling events, two with a specific focus on the regulated sports betting market, a clear indication of the industry’s appetite at present. First up is Clarion’s Sports Betting USA later this month in New York City, next is SBC’s Betting on Sports America in New York/New Jersey in April followed by Clarion’s ICE North America in Boston in May.
“First of all, I think all three are going to be fantastic events. You look at the organizers and the people that put these events on, they’ve been doing it in Europe for a long time, they’re first class and I think they are going to be outstanding events on this side of the pond as well. So I and all of us at Scientific Games are really excited for it”, Cherniak shared.
Cherniak himself has been on the gambling industry conference circuit for years, a popular speaker on the subject of US sports betting and regarded as an expert in this field. He predicts these three events will cover everything from strategies for entry into the market to innovative technologies impacting sports betting in general.
“In terms of some of the hot topics, we spoke about it being a transformational time for the industry, so I think that that will be a part of it, but more than that, I think its going to be specific to people who want to get into the space, operators that want to embrace the opportunity and how they go about doing that, what is the legislative path, how do they get operational”, revealed Cherniak.
“I think that understanding what the path forward is, which states are going to be legislating, what are some of the opportunities and then beyond that, what are some of the new technologies that come into play, what are some of the new bet types that will come into play, how will the entertainment aspect be brought into place as it relates to some of the next generation of bettors who are more interested in things like player props and player betting”, he said.
“I think that there’s just the emergence of all of these topics along with what I eluded to as kind of a cultural revolution, I think all of these are going to be topics of interest at many of these conferences”, he added.