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Unibet Pulls Out of Iowa as Market Share has been Difficult to Achieve

According to the news, the parent company for Unibet will be leaving Iowa. During an earnings call last Thursday, Kindred Group CEO Henrik Tjärnström stated that the brand will no longer be operating in the Hawkeye State.

Unibet Still Operates in Other States Despite the News

Currently, Unibet operates in Arizona, Indiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, which is very different from Fubo’s approach. On the other hand, Fubo shut down its whole sports betting operation, as it had some major losses in its financial statements during the last few quarters.

Some of the foreign brands have also struggled to gain market share in several states, as these bookmakers have to compete with brands like FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars, and BetMGM. In Unibet’s earnings call, Tjärnström stated;

“We have reviewed the state footprint in line with our strategy to focus more on multiproduct states and have decided to exit Iowa now in the fourth quarter of 2022.”

Despite its debut 13 months ago, the brand failed to grab a substantial share of the market, with just 0.2 percent in terms of total handle and 0.5 percent of revenue. There was a $1 million futures bet by Mattress Mack on the Houston Astros to win the World Series, which gives these numbers an inflated handle of $5.3 million and revenue of $1.4 million.

In regards to Iowa’s September handle, Unibet ranked 17th out of the 18 operators in the state. When comparing September 2022 to September 2021, the monthly handle figures declined 4.8 percent year-over-year.

Foreshadowing of Bad News for Smaller Bookmakers?

Unibet still looks to strengthen its presence in the industry as the company has extended a partnership with the Swinomish Tribe in Washington state. They have plans to launch a retail sportsbook location during the early months of 2023. However, during the fourth quarter of 2022, the CEO is focusing on diving into the casino markets.

Smaller operators leaving matured markets shouldn’t be a surprise, as some of these bookmakers have small margins. Churchill Downs is another sportsbook that shut down its sports betting unit as the company has shifted its focus to horse racing.

Famous sportsbook operators also face steep competition in the industry. For example, Caesars failed to maintain its lead over FanDuel and DraftKings as promotions slowed down.

On the earnings call, Tjärnström mentioned multiple times plans to focus on “multiproduct states,” which refer to states with both iCasinos and sportsbooks. The only jurisdictions that offer these two markets are Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Michigan, West Virginia, and Nevada. Discussions in New York will most likely take place during next year’s legislative session.

Other Industry News This Week

The overall stock market has been underwhelming as there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the market as it has been turning investors away. Numerous sportsbook companies will be reporting their earnings this week.

This week the calendar will feature MGM Resorts, Rush Street Interactive, Bally’s, Penn National, DraftKings, FuboTV, Walt Disney, Flutter, and Genius Sports.

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