CalvinAyre.com’s Becky Liggero spoke to Mark Locke, CEO of Genius Sports, on opportunities in the sports betting market for the services firm.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s lifting of the federal ban on sports betting has long been anticipated by the Genius Sports Group. According to its CEO, Mark Locke, “It’s been an interesting few years. We moved here initially about three and a half years ago, and set up an office here with a view to PASPA [Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act] being repealed. So it’s been quite an interesting development obviously, with the repeal of PASPA, the focus on state-by-state legislation and the increasing focus for the sports.”
Growth isn’t only to be found in the company’s U.S. activities. Last August, London-based Apax Partners LLP acquired Genius Sports. “Apax has been a fantastic achievement for the business. We closed a month ago, and brought Apax in as a partner. Really, the key focus of the partnership with Apax is in two different areas. One is around the organic growth, so supporting the strategy that we’ve had for a long time, making sure that we can continue to grow at a more aggressive rate, hire more people, build more products, and really support our partners.”
The second area which the Apax deal helps with, according to Locke, is “looking at potential acquisitions. Obviously, as the industry is growing, some of the areas that are developing are pretty interesting.”
Locke explained the sports data integrity side of operations. “Integrity is really the keyword here. When we came to the United States, we had a very clear mandate, which was to work with the sports to help them to understand the risk of integrity around the events that they hold. And really, we work in two ways, we provide technology services that help them to aggregate data into central places which gives them a view, and the other area that we work on is education, so we help them to understand where there are risks, and how they can mitigate those risks within their sports.”
When asked what the Group’s future plans were, Locke simply answered, “To be honest, not a very interesting answer—it’s more of the same. I mean, our business model has been long-held, it’s been proven.”
What this entailed, he said, was “focusing on making sure that we continue to support our partners, work with more sports, work with more sportsbook operators… There’s some fascinating companies out there, and what we’re looking to do is partner in that respect to help drive the business forward. So I think we’ve got a good strategy, we’re executing it well, so we’re going to continue with the way it is albeit with new partners behind us.”