A view of the FanDuel Sportsbook betting area at Belterra Park Cincinnati. Credit: The Des Moines Register

A few weeks after news broke that U.S. casino operator Boyd Gaming approached Penn Entertainment about a potential acquisition, there’s a buzz about another competitor “sizing up” the ESPN Bet operator and its assets.

Per a recent report from TheDeal.com, Flutter Entertainment is “sizing up” certain assets of Penn Entertainment. The international sports betting and gambling company owns several brands, most notably Betfair and FanDuel.

After news broke last month that Boyd was considering acquiring Penn, their shares jumped by nearly 10 percent to more than $20 per share. That was a welcome change to the prior month when Penn’s stock tumbled on the news that ESPN Bet financials came in much lower than expected estimates.

While that was Penn’s first full quarter to include data from ESPN Bet, which launched in collaboration with ESPN in November as part of a 1o-year, $2 billion deal, there have been concerns about their ability to capture market share in an already crowded marketplace dominated by DraftKings and FanDuel.

FanDuel and DraftKings have been trading paint for the past year as the market leader. DraftKings took the lead in Q3 2023 but FanDuel retook the top spot in the following quarter. According to Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, FanDuel currently has around 35% of the market with DraftKings trailing at 32%. BetMGM is their closest competitor at around 11%.

All of which is to say that while ESPN Bet’s financials don’t set the world on fire, their customer base would be a nice addition to FanDuel’s numbers as they attempt to build their market lead. As of April, ESPN BET’s market share is around 6%, per estimates.

Some have speculated that Flutter and Boyd could be considering a multi-party deal to acquire Penn and its assets. It’s worth noting that  Boyd owns a 5% stake in FanDuel Group, so there’s already a synergistic reason to do so.

No matter what happens, no sale will go through unless Disney signs off. And even then, there are about a dozen more hoops that Penn’s potential buyer will have to jump through.

[TheDeal.com, SportsHandle]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.