1. Penn National Gaming

galloping race horses in racing competition
gabriel12 / Shutterstock

With the acquisition of theScore, Penn looks far more enticing than its 2021 stock performance would indicate.

Year to date, shares of Penn have shed 17% of their value. After hitting a high of US$142 in early March, they've declined. But its long-term growth prospects are intriguing.

Its multiple gaming and horse-racing properties should provide more value once customers feel fully comfortable returning to them. Moreover, the company's 36% stake in digital media company Barstool Sports — 66 million monthly users and counting — exposes Penn to Barstool’s multiple revenue streams, including sports betting pay-per-view events and advertising.

And then there’s Penn’s acquisition of theScore, which, according to a joint press release from the two companies, will create “North America’s leading digital sports content, gaming and technology company.”

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2. DraftKings

Close up cropped shot of male hands making bets using gambling mobile application on his phone. Man watching football match online broadcast on his laptop waiting for winning results.
Wpadington / Shutterstock

DraftKings is one of America’s largest fantasy sports and sports-betting operators, putting it in a prime position to capitalize on the rising popularity of online wagering.

It’s been a somewhat rocky year for DK’s stock, which hit all-time highs of US$74 in March only to get walloped in the months since.

Recent moves should solidify DraftKings' prominence in the sports-betting space moving forward.

In March, DraftKings acquired Vegas Stats and Information Network, a media company dedicated to sports betting. In April, DK became an official sports-betting partner of the National Football League. A partnership with Major League Baseball, signed in May, allows users of the DK app to live stream MLB games.

The added exposure appears to be paying off. DraftKings posted revenue of US$312 million in the first quarter of 2021, a year-over-year increase of 253%, according to the company’s Q1 financial results.

3. MGM Resorts International

mgm lion
Tina Darby / Shutterstock

If MGM was only a casino operator, a year of COVID-19 restrictions might've crushed its financials along with its stock price.

But the company’s BetMGM gaming site — which offers mobile sports-betting, poker and casino games in 11 states, as well as the partnerships it’s made over the last few years — have kept its stock price afloat.

In September of 2020, MGM made a major splash with the NFL, with BetMGM becoming one of the Detroit Lions’ official sports-betting partners. That same month, MGM became the Las Vegas Raiders' official sports-betting partner in a joint venture with GVC Holdings (now known as Entain). It also struck up partnerships with Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League.

A recent MGM second-quarter earnings call points to bright days ahead for the company’s sports betting arm. BetMGM’s revenue increased to US$45.9 million in Q2 2021 from US$5.2 million in the year-ago period. MGM shares are up 26% year to date.

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The future of the sports betting space

The combination of technology, a desire for easy money and the human obsession with predicting the future should translate into long-term growth for the sports-betting space.

In 2020, a year when millions of Americans saw their incomes decimated, over US$21.5 billion were wagered on sports, according to analysis from Sports Betting Dime. That’s almost five times the amount bet in 2018. The gross, post-payout revenue generated by sports-betting companies grew from just under US$328 million in 2018 to US$1.5 billion in 2020.

As more states open themselves to sports betting — it’s legal and operational in 20 states — those revenues are expected to surge. Research by Gabelli Securities estimates U.S. sports-betting revenues will top US$10 billion a year by 2028.

Just as you would when putting together a complicated, multi-bet parlay, be sure to do your research before trying your luck with any of the companies mentioned here. There’s a lot of potential in the sports-betting space, but you want to invest in it, not gamble on it.

Alternative investing ideas

If the future of sports gambling isn't something you want to invest in, there are other ways to participate in the market.

If you’re looking for diversification at a price you can afford, consider downloading a popular app that allows you to invest in a diversified portfolio of stocks using little more than the “spare change” left over from your everyday purchases.


The future of the sports betting space

Close up cropped shot of male hands making bets using gambling mobile application on his phone. Man watching football match online broadcast on his laptop waiting for winning results.
Wpadington / Shutterstock


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Clayton Jarvis is a mortgage reporter at Money.ca. Prior to joining the Money.ca team, Clay wrote for and edited a variety of real estate publications, including Canadian Real Estate Wealth, Real Estate Professional, Mortgage Broker News, Canadian Mortgage Professional, and Mortgage Professional America.

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