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Basketball takes over sports gambling on Bodog

Man holding white and blackspalding basketball near brown and white basketball hoop

As had been expected, the conclusion of the NFL season, which found the Tampa Bay Buccaneers handing the Kansas City Chiefs an embarrassing defeat, opened the doors for an increase in wagers in other sports. Football had dominated the charts since last September, but it’s now time for basketball to take the lead. On Bodog, NBA and NCAA Men’s Basketball are now the overwhelming go-to options for sports gamblers. 

This past weekend, college hoops wagers topped the charts on Bodog, garnering 36.88% of the action. That was about 2.5% better than what the NCAA received, and substantially more than that of the third-place NHL, which only picked up 10.17%. After that, the UFC/MMA made an appearance with 4.15% before different soccer leagues captured four of the remaining top-ten spots. The Premier League was the best, with 3.34%, but tennis and golf snuck in next. The Australian Open Men’s Singles picked up 3.21% and the Genesis Invitational grabbed 2.47%. Germany’s Bundesliga, Spain’s La Liga and Italy’s Serie A rounded out the top-ten list, with Germany and Spain sharing 2.02% each and Italy getting 1.44% of the wagers.

Despite taking the top spot on the charts on Bodog this past weekend, NCAA games didn’t prove overly enticing to gamblers. The NBA captured almost all of the top-ten most-wagered events, with only one NCAA game making it to the list. Sports gamblers liked betting on the LA Clippers a lot, as the team’s games against the Utah Jazz and the Brooklyn Nets picked up 13.85% and 11.51%, respectively. In a surprise victory, the Clippers beat the Jazz on Friday, but couldn’t keep the run going and lost to the Nets on Sunday.

The Genesis Invitational, which Max Homa took down after a shoot-off with Tony Finau, attracted 10.79% of the wagers on Bodog this past weekend. Homa is intimately familiar with the course where the tournament is played, the Riviera Country Club, and has been a regular on the greens since he was two years old. With his Genesis win, Homa joins Bubba Watson as the only two players to take a Riviera victory with a bogey-free final round since 1990.

The NBA action returned to Bodog’s list next, with three games getting more than 10% of the wagers. Next, the NCAA’s Michigan vs. Ohio State game was popular with gamblers, as 9.07% of the bets on Bodog were placed on this game. Third-place Michigan handed fourth-place Ohio State a loss, walking away with a 92-87 win to improve to 16-1. Novak Djokovic vs. Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open attracted 8.58% of the bets as Djokovic swept three sets. The last of the top-ten events on Bodog flipped back to the NBA, with the Sacramento Kings/Milwaukee Bucks and the Golden State Warriors/Charlotte Hornets games getting 7.63% and 7.5%, respectively.

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Penn Entertainment Failing in Sports Betting, Should Consider Sale, Says Investor

In a letter to Penn Entertainment’s (NASDAQ: PENN) board of directors, the Donerail Group, which has long been an investor in the regional casino operator, said the gaming company is failing in online sports betting, is overcompensating CEO Jay Snowden, and should consider a sale to create shareholder value.

An image for Penn Entertainment. Investor Donerail Group said CEO Jay Snowden is overpaid and Penn should consider selling itself. (Image: Penn Entertainment)

Donerail Managing Partner Will Wyatt opined in the letter to Penn Chairman David Handler that the gaming company has spent four years and billions of dollars of shareholder capital in a bid to gain a foothold in the online sports betting space, but those efforts have proven unsuccessful.

Moreover, the growing pattern of guidance misses, alongside a demonstrated unyielding appetite to continue to invest in the Company’s fledgling Interactive projects, irrespective of past results and without a clear return framework, has significantly damaged the credibility of this management team and Board of Directors,” wrote Wyatt.

There’s something to those claims. Between January 2020 and February 2023, Penn shelled out about $551 million to acquire Barstool Sports in an effort to leverage that brand as a catalyst for its online and retail sportsbooks, but those dividends never accrued.

Last August, the regional casino giant sold Barstool back to founder David Portnoy for just $1 as it entered into a costly agreement with Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS) to use ESPN branding for the Penn-operated ESPN Bet mobile betting app. In addition to paying ESPN $1.5 billion over 10 years, the gaming company also granted the network $500 million in equity warrants. While ESPN Bet has performed better than Barstool Sportsbook, Penn has made little headway in terms of wresting market share from larger rivals DraftKings and FanDuel.

Penn Entertainment Sale Makes Sense, Says Donerail

The letter by Donerail, a Los Angeles-based, event-driven money manager, sparked a noteworthy rally by Penn shares with the stock closing high by 19.62% on volume that was more than quadruple the daily average. However, today’s showing was a departure from the norm.

As Wyatt pointed out to Handler, Penn shares shed 80% over the past three years. Today, the stock closed at $17.50 — a far cry from the all-time of $142 set in March 2021. That lengthy slump coupled with the aforementioned board and management missteps are among the reasons Donerail believes Penn should consider selling itself — a move that if executed could fetch more than double the operator’s current market value of $2.19 billion, according to Wyatt.

“Given our understanding of the Company’s assets, however, alongside an understanding of the industry participants’ current strategic appetite to grow inorganically, we do believe that a sale of the Company’s assets, if undertaken, could generate meaningful and certain value creation for equity investors,” he noted to Handler.

In the letter, Wyatt observed that Penn’s market capitalization represents a steep discount to the $13.35 billion average found among its peer group, but the Donerail partner didn’t directly identify potential suitors for the gaming company.

In recent months, Penn has been the subject of attention by professional investors. Last month, David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital announced “medium sized” stake in Penn. Last December, HG Vora said it took an interest of 18.5% of Penn’s shares outstanding and demanded board seats in an effort to push for change at the gaming company. Despite that fanfare, the stock shed almost a third of its value since the start of 2024.

Donerail Decries Snowden Compensation

Wyatt didn’t hold back in his criticism of Penn’s compensation of CEO Jay Snowden, noting the board signed off on $99.3 million in total pay for the executive between 2020 and 2023 — a period that included significant declines by the stock.

Citing Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), Wyatt said Snowden has the worst possible score issued by the firm in terms of his compensation being aligned with shareholder interests.

“In fact, Mr. Snowden’s compensation was deemed to be so gratuitous, As You Sow chose to use PENN as a case-study of wrongdoing in its report. Institutional shareholders appear to share our view, with leading institutional investors BlackRock, Vanguard, State Street Global Advisors, and CalSTRS all having voted against PENN’s executive compensation in the past, yet meaningful change has not been made by the Board’s compensation committee,” said Wyatt.

As You Sow, a leading shareholder advisory group, recently noted that Snowden was the third-most overpaid CEO among S&P 500 companies, but the stock was removed that index in September 2022.

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Neymar Sports Expensive Watch With Moving Roulette Wheel

Brazilian professional footballer Neymar is known for sporting expensive jewelry and fancying casino resorts around the world. His latest timepiece combines both of those enjoyments.

Neymar watch Jacob & Co. roulette
Neymar was recently seen showing off his $280,000 Jacob & Co. roulette watch while attending a boxing match in Saudi Arabia. Neymar’s love for gambling is well-detailed. (Image:

Neymar is one of the world’s richest sports superstars. The Al Hilal Saudi Football Club is paying the 32-year-old €150 million (US$163 million) a year and paid a €90 million transfer fee to his former club, Paris Saint-Germain, of France’s Ligue 1 division.

Regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Neymar is renowned for his flamboyant style. That grandeur extends to his off-pitch lifestyle.

During last weekend’s boxing match in Saudi Arabi between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk in which the underdog Usyk upset Fury, Neymar showed off his latest jewelry purchase — a timepiece from Jacob & Co. that features a spinning roulette wheel and a rolling pill.

$280K Watch 

While posing for photos, Neymar was enthused to show off his Jacob & Co. watch. Jacob & Co. is a New York City-based luxury watchmaker.

The roulette watch Neymar wore retails for $280,000. Only 101 were made with 18K rose gold trim and “curved anti-reflective sapphire crystals on the face.”

Neymar joins a laundry list of celebrities and sports stars who are Jacob & Co. customers, including David and Victoria Beckham, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter, Mariah Carey, 50 Cent, Jay-Z, Sofia Vergara, and Sean “Puffy” Combs. Drake, another celebrity who enjoys the casino, is additionally a Jacob & Co. client.

Neymar has a history of spending lavishly on the things he enjoys, including casinos.

A year ago this month, Neymar skipped Paris Saint-Germain’s title match, citing an injury, for the F1 Monaco Grand Prix. While at the race, Neymar ventured into the historic Monte Carlo Casino to compete in a poker tournament. He later posted a video to his Instagram account showing him playing online roulette.

Two months before visiting Monaco, Neymar streamed his online casino play where he lost more than €1 million. While that would devastate most people, Neymar was seen laughing as his losses piled up to more than seven digits.

Along with roulette, Neymar’s casino game of choice is poker. But unlike his skill on the pitch, Neymar’s game on the felt is a losing financial endeavor.

After ponying up tens of thousands of dollars to enter numerous live poker tournaments, online poker player tracking database The Hendon Mob shows Neymar has just $32,131 in live poker earnings.

Neymar’s best finish came in 2018 at the R$7,000 (US$1,362) No Limit Hold’em – High Rollers Event during the Brazilian Series of Poker in Sao Paulo. Neymar finished 6th among 288 entries to win $21,072.

Neymar Speculation

Though the odds are presumably long that Inter Miami has the financial capabilities to bring Neymar to South Florida, the global superstar in late March was spotted hanging in Miami with the Beckhams. David Beckham is a co-owner of the Major League Soccer club.

Beckham was instrumental in bringing Lionel Messi to Miami last year. Messi, however, is in the later stages of his career.

It’s widely thought that Neymar could join Miami in the coming years, but his exorbitant transfer fee from Al Hilal will presumably keep him in Saudi Arabia until his two-year, €300 million contract expires in 2025.

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SBC Summit North America 2024: Sports Betting and iGaming Professional Insights

networking_learning_and_celebrating_success_inside_sbc_summit_north_america_2024Amidst a rapidly evolving industry, the SBC Summit North America, held from May 7th to 9th, emerged as an essential event for professionals in sports betting and iGaming. Attendees gathered to explore emerging trends, share best practices, and prepare for an exciting future in the industry.

Rasmus Sojmark, CEO and Founder of SBC, expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “We had nearly 5,000 of you join us this year, a substantial increase from the 3,500 delegates we gathered at the Meadowlands last year. I am always happy to feel your support, and it seems that every year, more and more of you realize how much work the entire SBC team puts into the event. Thank you for making this edition special. It was a blast.”

Engaging Conference Program and Notable Speakers

The summit featured an extensive conference program spread across four stages, with contributions from 300 industry leaders, offering attendees abundant learning opportunities. The event provided a platform to identify challenges, discuss solutions, and explore the potential of North American markets for both regional and global companies.

Among the notable speakers were BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt, seasoned professionals like Jan Jones Blackhurst, and former football legend Dan Marino. Insightful perspectives were shared by Nevada Congresswoman Dina Titus on taxation and Shawn Fluharty, President of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS), who advocated for model iGaming legislation. Donna Orender, former President of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), added to the diversity of topics covered, ensuring a comprehensive discussion.

Stephanie Maxwell, Deputy Director and General Counsel of the Tennessee Sports Wagering Council, highlighted the event’s value, stating, “Being here and having the opportunity to listen to panellists and learn how they’ve addressed specific issues and pain points, it’s been really helpful.”

Kenneth Fuchs, COO of Caesars Digital, added, “The conference is organized in a way that makes it easy to find what interests you and the topics are generally useful regardless of your role in the industry. Everybody can come here and learn something.”

Networking and Inclusivity

Sarah Brennan, Senior Director of Compliance at BetMGM, shared her perspective as a speaker, noting, “One of the unique aspects of SBC is the very personal interaction prior to participating in this event, which allows you to speak on a panel that’s truly relevant to your personal experience in your professional capacity right now.”

The post-event survey for exhibitors and sponsors revealed a very strong Net Promoter Score (NPS), reaffirming SBC’s dedication to providing unique experiences and value to its customers. With 100 brands showcasing as exhibitors and sponsors, there was a notably diverse representation of companies.

Brennan emphasized, “There’s a big focus on inviting different groups; I saw a lot of vendors this year that hadn’t been at SBC previously, and many regulators are here. SBC does a great job of being very inclusive about who is represented, both from the US and across the globe.”

Sam (Shmulik) Segal, Co-Founder and CEO of MediaTroopers, a long-time sponsor but first-time exhibitor, remarked, “We decided to exhibit as this is our most important market and SBC Summit North America is the most important conference of the year. We always conduct a lot of business here; all of our partners are present. This year, we thought it was time to have a stand of our own so that people who don’t know the company can get to know it.”

Diverse Networking Events and Industry Insights

The show floor buzzed with various networking events, from gatherings for women in gaming to those for the tribal community, as well as meet-ups dedicated to responsible gambling. SBC’s objective of fostering diverse representation at the event was evident through the array of attendees.

Maxwell pointed out, “I’m a regulator in Tennessee, and our motivation (for attending this event) is the opportunity to connect with all the different kinds of people we work with – other regulators, vendors, operators.”

“The event has definitely evolved. There are way more people here. A lot more people, new entries, and new faces, and it’s exciting to see that every year honestly,” added Brett Hoffman, Founder of Gator Wagers.

Fuchs agreed, “Everybody that I generally want to catch up with is here, whether it’s across payments, data, innovation, or other operator peers, or people I know from the media, so it’s a nice mix of the industry.”

Segal added, “It seems that this time it’s even more packed than in previous years – we’ve seen everyone we’re working with in North America, everyone. It was amazing for us.”

In typical SBC fashion, the evenings concluded with networking events held at NY hotspots such as Slate NYC, Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge at Moxy Times Square, and the iconic Red Bull Arena.

Shawn Fluharty, who apart from his function as President of NCLGS, is also the Head of Government Affairs at Play’n GO, a headline sponsor of the party at Slate, commented, “You have companies from all over the world convening here because they know they’re going to shake hands with the people who are important in the industry and make those connections.”

Slot influencer Kelly Koffler was brief but expressive: “My biggest takeaway from the event is that you guys throw one hell of a party!” The Casino Kelly streamer, summarized the essence of the event well. “There’s a lot of value for anyone doing what I’m doing, because iGaming is only becoming more prevalent, so the more we learn, the more we can give to our viewers. They look up to us to be educated, so this is perfect for that.”

Mark Hicks, Managing Director of the NCAA, remarked, “This is the best event to attend throughout the year. Everybody we need to see is here, and the educational sessions are phenomenal.”

Source: “Networking, Learning, and Celebrating Success: Inside SBC Summit North America 2024”. May 14, 2024.

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Caesars Q1 Results Miss Estimates as Regional Casinos, Sports Betting Lag

Shares of Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ: CZR) slumped during Tuesday’s after-hours session, extending declines following a 4.66% drop during normal trading hours after the casino operator posted first-quarter results that badly missed Wall Street forecasts.

Caesars Digital
Caesars Palace Las Vegas. The operator said first-quarter earnings and revenue at its Las Vegas and regional casinos declined. (Image: YouTube)

The Harrah’s operator said it lost 73 cents a share on revenue of $2.74 billion in the first three months of the year. Analysts expected a loss of eight cents on sales of $2.83 billion. While the gaming company mentioned unfavorable outcomes on the Super Bowl and the NCAA Tournament as among the reasons the first-quarter numbers missed forecasts, analysts and investors might apply scrutiny to Caesars’ Las Vegas and regional casino results.

On the Strip where it’s the second-largest operator, Caesars revenue declined to $1.03 billion in the March quarter from $1.11 billion a year earlier. The gaming company said adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) at its Sin City venues declined to $440 million from $533 million a year earlier.

That could heighten concerns that activity is slowing down on the Strip following a multi-year run of pent-up demand sparked by coronavirus shutdowns.

Caesars Regional Woes Not Surprising

Caesars said its regional casinos posted first-quarter adjusted EBITDA of $443 million on revenue of $1.37 billion, down from $448 million and $1.39 billion a year earlier.

The tepid results from the regional side of Caesars aren’t surprising because multiple operators have flagged softness at such venues due to bad weather in January that hampered visitation to gaming venues in Reno/Tahoe and the Midwest. Additionally, there are mounting signs of lower-tier bettors reducing spending at gaming venues in the South.

There have been signs that high interest, sticky inflation, and other macroeconomic headwinds are weighing on some gaming venues in the Midwest and the South. Likewise, six of the nine casinos in Atlantic City, NJ experienced profit declines last year as more locals embraced iGaming.

“Moving past the first quarter headwinds, we remain optimistic toward improved operating results throughout the balance of the year,” said CEO Tom Reeg in a statement.

Modest Progress on Debt Reduction

Entering this year, analysts and investors wanted to see more evidence of Caesars trimming its debt burden — one of the industry’s largest. There were incremental signs of that progress in the first quarter. As of March 31, the Horseshoe operator had $12.436 billion in outstanding liabilities compared to $12.439 billion at the end of 2023.

At the end of the March quarter, Caesars had cash and cash equivalents of $726 million, a figure that does not include $139 million in restricted cash.

“Excluding joint venture capex, we estimate 2024 cash capex spend of $800 million. We anticipate using free cash flows to continue to reduce debt in 2024,” said CFO Bret Yunker in the press release.

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