BlueBet, an upstart Australian sportsbook operator, is nearing an initial public offering (IPO). The proceeds could drive the company’s domestic and US expansion efforts.
BlueBet founder Michael Sullivan, seen in his office above. The company is readying an Australian IPO and launch in the US. (Image: The Australian)
The operator is slated to list shares on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) on July 2 at a market capitalization of nearly $170 million, or A$220 million. The offering will result in $38.51 million proceeds flowing to the company.
BlueBet, which was founded in 2015, currently commands 1.5 percent of the Australian sports wagering market. This is a scant share relative to rivals such as Tabcorp and Entain, among others.
In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, founder Michael Sullivan said some of the proceeds from the upcoming IPO will be used to expand the company’s already profitable local business. The aim is commanding five percent market share by 2025.
Among advanced sports wagering markets, Australia is one of the leaders. The Australian Gambling Research Center estimates gamblers there between the ages of 18 to 49 spend almost $775 a month on sports wagering — one of the highest rates in the developed world. In 2018, Australian gamblers plunked nearly $24 billion combined on horse racing and sports betting.
BlueBet Betting on US
In addition to its efforts to build share in its home market, BlueBet wants in on the US sports betting boom, one the company believes is just getting going.
With America, gold rush is an understatement,” said Sullivan in the interview. “They are behind [by] 20 years. They’ll catch up, but it’s hard – I’ve been training my people for 30 years.”
The company is reportedly close to landing a license in an unidentified US state and could start taking wagers in that location in early 2022. BlueBet is looking to partner with regional casino operators that want in on the US sports betting growth but currently have limited or no sportsbook operational experience.
Since it’s a new, smaller play on the scene, the Australian operator is looking to enter small to mid-sized markets, such as Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Tennessee, and Virginia, not US sports wagering meccas like New Jersey, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.
BlueBet Striking While Iron is Hot
BlueBet’s IPO could prove well-timed because Australia is experiencing a gold rush of its own when it comes to gaming equities.
ASX-listed sports betting stocks are among the countries best-performing equities this year. For example, the US-listed shares of PointsBet Holdings are higher by 15 percent, and more than doubled over the past year.
The market for ASX gaming equities is so hot that at least one US-based company is considering listing shares in Sydney.
Adding to the allure of the Australian market is a bidding war that’s emerging for Tabcorp’s media and sports wagering businesses. That could put other local operators in the spotlight, or potentially send shares of upstarts like BlueBet soaring if those smaller firms can continue pilfering market share from Tabcorp.