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Nevada Gaming Commission approves FanDuel to rebrand Fremont sportsbook

Howard Stutz
Howard Stutz
EconomyGaming
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FanDuel was granted approval by Nevada gaming regulators Thursday to rebrand the sportsbook at the Fremont Hotel Casino in partnership with Boyd Gaming.

Under the agreement, FanDuel, a subsidiary of Dublin, Ireland-based Flutter Entertainment, will provide betting odds and make recommendations on any wagering line movements to the Fremont sportsbook personnel, who will still be Boyd employees. FanDuel will not provide any technology to the sportsbook.

FanDuel, which is considered the largest sportsbook operating in the United States in terms of revenue, will receive an undisclosed percentage of the gaming revenue from the Fremont sportsbook. 

The Nevada Gaming Commission unanimously approved the application with little discussion following an hour-long presentation by both Flutter and FanDuel executives.

The decision allows FanDuel to have a Nevada presence for the first time since 2015, when it offered daily fantasy sports contests. Nevada gaming regulators, however, decided that daily fantasy was a form of sports wagering and companies had to be licensed as sports betting providers — effectively shutting down operations of FanDuel and competitor DraftKings in the state.

Attorney Erica Okerberg of Greenberg Traurig, who represented FanDuel, said the company does not plan to offer daily fantasy sports in Nevada.

FanDuel operates sports betting in 15 states with several casino partners. Boyd, which owns 5 percent of FanDuel, is the company’s largest partner and will cover 15 casinos in eight of Boyd’s nine regional states by next year.

In a financial presentation, Flutter CEO Peter Jackson said the company saw U.S. revenues top $1.9 billion in 2021, a 97 percent increase from 2019.

Two days after the Gaming Control Board recommended FanDuel and Flutter both be licensed in Nevada, the parent company said its subsidiary had cash flow of $22 million in the second quarter, making FanDuel the first U.S. sportsbook operator to report a profit during a three-month period.

A rendering shown to Nevada gaming regulators and provided by FanDuel of its planned sportsbook inside the Fremont in downtown Las Vegas. FanDuel will brand the location but it will be operated by Boyd Gaming. (Courtesy photo)

Flutter said it expects FanDuel to be profitable in all of 2023.

At the Fremont casino, the 2,300-square-foot sportsbook will contain FanDuel signage and other branding insignias, along with seating for 76 customers, a high-definition television viewing wall, four betting windows and seven betting kiosks.

FanDuel CEO Amy Howe said the rebrand of the Fremont sportsbook should be completed by the end of the year.

The Fremont sportsbook will use a technology platform provided by International Game Technology, which is Boyd’s sports betting partner and is also a partner of FanDuel in other states.

Boyd Gaming will continue to operate sports betting at its 10 Las Vegas-area casinos through Boyd Sports, its retail and mobile sports wagering business. Boyd Gaming representatives were at the hearing but were not asked to address the control board.

On Boyd Gaming’s second-quarter earnings conference call on July 26, CEO Keith Smith called FanDuel “a great partner,” adding the company’s 5 percent ownership was an “important strategic asset that will grow more valuable as sports betting expands and FanDuel continues to build on its position as the nation's leader in online sports betting.”

Smith said the partnership with FanDuel will generate approximately $30 million in cash flow for Boyd in 2022, “and this contribution should grow next year” following the launches in new markets.

The Fremont is one of Boyd’s three downtown properties. The casino is undergoing a $50 million renovation project to expand the casino and add several quick-service restaurants, expected to be completed by the end of the year.

“This project will help us capture a larger portion of pedestrian traffic throughout the Fremont Street Experience,” Smith said.

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