FanDuel plans sports-gambling TV shows as betting parlors open

FanDuel, moving quickly after its merger with sports-book operator Paddy Power Betfair, plans to create sports betting TV shows to coincide with the opening of gambling parlors in casinos and racetracks across the country.

Matt King, FanDuel’s chief executive officer, said the programs will be added to the company’s TVG and TVG2 cable networks, which are currently devoted to horse racing, as well as to digital channels the company operates.

“We are going to be investing heavily in content,” King said in an interview. “There’s a lot of different formats we can distribute through and a lot of different channels.”

Gambling companies are racing to get into sports betting after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in May that states could legalize such wagering. MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment Corp. and Penn National Gaming Inc. plan to open sports-betting facilities at casinos in states such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Mississippi, where enabling legislation has passed. FanDuel rivals such as DraftKings and William Hill are offering their brands and technology in partnerships with other casino operators.

The Palace Casino Resort in Biloxi, Mississippi, chose to partner with William Hill based on the London-based company’s years of experience and international presence, according to Keith Crosby, general manager of the casino. The Palace hopes to have its sport book open by the late-August start of college football “which is like a religion down here,” Crosby said.

FanDuel, the second-largest player in daily fantasy sports, completed a merger this month with the U.S. operations of Paddy Power. That company, which operates sports betting parlors in the U.K. and Ireland, owns the TVG networks and collects horse-racing bets online in the U.S. It owns about 61 percent of FanDuel following the deal.

On July 14, PaddyPower opened a FanDuel-branded sports book at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Lines for betting snaked outside the sports-bar-like facility on opening weekend as fans bet on and watched the last matches of the World Cup. On Tuesday, a bettor complained on Twitter that the company didn’t have cash on hand to pay winners after a 16-inning baseball game. FanDuel said the game ran past its 1 a.m. closing time.

King said he’s “very happy” overall with the results at the Meadowlands, which grossed $3.5 million in total wagers in its first nine days. FanDuel has signed agreements to operate sports betting facilities at Tioga Downs in Nichols, New York, and the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. He’s also pursuing partnerships in other states.

While the company’s primary brand for sports betting in the U.S. will be FanDuel, King doesn’t think he’ll use that for the TV networks or shows.

“We need to make sure that it’s not viewed as an infomercial for FanDuel,” King said. “I would want a place where they fully expect the guy running the Wynn sports book to come on and talk about what’s awesome at the Wynn.”