Boom Sports, a company that started with alternative versions of daily fantasy sports and pivoted into developing games for league and network partners, is aiming now to enter the sports betting and iCasino world.
The New York City-based company this week announced an agreement with Penn National Gaming giving Boom Sports potential access to a Penn National skin as an online sports and/or iCasino operator in Mississippi, Louisiana, Ohio, Missouri, and New Mexico.
Whether Boom Sports actually gains that access will depend on legislation yet to be approved in those states, but company CEO Stephen Murphy told Penn Bets he is hopeful.
A lot hinges on laws yet to be enacted
While Mississippi has mobile sports betting already, it can only be done within the state’s casinos and so has limited usefulness and profitability. The other states don’t yet permit any online gambling, but it has been under discussion to different extents.
“We’ve seen very good progress in [discussions in] almost all five of those states,” Murphy said, noting Mississippi would not be attractive to Boom Sports without broadening its law.
“We didn’t want to choose states already live for mobile betting. The last thing we wanted was to be a late entrant in a state like New Jersey or Pennsylvania, where competition is already hard enough. … We chose states that will likely open up in 2021 or 2022, with the notion we want to be live on day one.”
Boom Sports has already worked with Penn National by providing it a product called NASCAR Finish Line, which contains contests for both live NASCAR racing and eNASCAR events.
That is similar to other work Boom Sports has been doing the past two years. It developed online contest games for both NBC Sports and the XFL while de-emphasizing its original focus on fantasy sports, though the latter continues to a modest extent.
Murphy said the 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision opening up sports betting outside of Nevada led Boom Sports to broaden its interest to pursue actual sportsbook operations.
Company’s focus will be on innovation
The company would need partners for odds-making and other aspects, but it has its own strengths in understanding U.S. customers and identifying innovations that appeal to them, Murphy asserted.
“Our goal is not to compete head to head with the MGMs or the DraftKings of the world,” he said. “We want to operate a sportsbook and online casino that would be an innovative test bed, providing something new directly to consumers, and if successful, then sell them as a B2B company.”
In other words, Boom Sports, with just 20 employees at present, would have flexibility to try concepts that bigger companies including Penn National might be wary of. Boom Sports could then profit from marketing to big competitors those that have proven successful.
“There’s a lot of ‘frenemies’ now, companies that are both partners with one another and in some aspect of competing,” Murphy said.
With Penn National, Boom Sports is not paying anything for its licensing rights, which consists of first skins in Mississippi and Louisiana, a second skin in Ohio, and third skins in Missouri and New Mexico.
Instead, Boom Sports is providing Penn National with a series of free-to-play games and products, including the NASCAR game that debuted in February.
New product tied to Barstool brand is coming
It is to provide a new product that Penn National will market within the new couple months under the Barstool Sports brand, although the companies are not ready yet to divulge details of that. Penn National acquired Barstool in January, intending to make it the branding focus for its own sportsbooks across the country.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically reduced sportsbook operations around the world, Murphy said it does not prevent Boom Sports from working to develop new products and partners, and there could be more after Penn National.
“In some ways, as a B2B company it can slow down conversations, with everybody assessing how this is hurting the industry and how the numbers work out, but we have great partners who also know they can invest in mobile and online gaming, so we’ll just continue to build,” he said.