Fox Sports will be the first major legacy US media company to launch a sports betting product – called Fox Bet.
Fox will be investing $236 million in The Stars Group (TSG), a Canadian company which owns and licenses several big-name gambling brands like PokerStars, PokerStars Casino, BetEasy, Sky Bet, Sky Vegas, BetStars, Full Tilt, Sky Casino, Sky Bingo, Sky Poker, and Oddschecker, to launch its upcoming real money betting service Fox Bet. Fox Bet is expected to debut in the fall of 2019 and will be available in US states with authorized regulated betting. The Fox Bet news came via a press release by Fox Sports.
However, Fox Sports will also be offering free-to-play games and contests simultaneously. This will allow participants who correctly predict the outcomes of matches to win money. This free-play model exists in the NBA and other pro sports leagues as a gateway for viewers to get into betting.
Fox no longer owns any of its regional sports networks as these were part of Fox selling its entertainment portfolio to Disney, who then sold the networks to Sinclair Broadcast Group.
Fox Sports will be receiving 4.99% equity of The Stars Group in exchange for their investment in the betting product, and Stars Group will receive an exclusive license for using Fox Sports trademarks.
Eric Shanks, Fox Sports CEO said in a brief statement the reasoning behind this move, “Digital sports wagering represents a growing market opportunity that allows us to diversify our revenue streams, connect directly with consumers and expand the reach of the FOX Sports brand”.
Fox Sports will have the opportunity to acquire up to 50% of TSG just before their 10-year mark with the group. However, Fox Sports isn’t looking for scrutiny at this time from regulators and prefer to keep their equity of TSG at just under 5% to stay under the radar.
Several US states like New Jersey have legalized sports gambling, and there is hope more will legalize this form of gambling by the end of the year seeing as multiple states have pending sports gambling bills in their legislature. Action Network CEO Patrick Keane says it is likely 30 states will legalize state-based betting by next years’ time meaning there will be more United States gambling options whether online, in-person, or on mobile.