Caesars Entertainment, ESPN tie-up for sports betting content

(Reuters) - Las Vegas casino icon Caesars Entertainment Corp unveiled a tie-up with Walt Disney Co’s ESPN on Tuesday, the latest sign of the surge in investment by mainstream businesses since the Supreme Court lifted a ban on sports betting last May.

The deal includes building a new ESPN-branded studio at the LINQ Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, where sports betting-themed content will be created, along with segments for ESPN’s recently launched sports betting-related show, Daily Wager.

Caesars’ data and branding will also be integrated across ESPN programing within the coming weeks, the company said, adding that its odds information will be used by the sports network to develop content across its platforms, including websites and apps.

The world’s big betting companies have poured cash into partnerships with casinos since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling a year ago, with William Hill, Paddy Power and GVC Holdings all striking deals in the second half of last year.

Shares of Caesars Entertainment were up nearly 3% while Disney shares were up 2.5%.

Bleacher Report (B/R) struck a similar deal in February to open a production studio inside Caesars Palace. B/R is a division of Warner Media, which is owned by AT&T Inc.

Tuesday marks one year since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a 1992 federal ban on sports wagering outside of Nevada. States can now pass legislation that legalizes, regulates and taxes the activity.

Eight states currently offer sports wagers, but several others have already approved legislation and even more are considering it.

The market is expected to grow to $5.7 billion in annual revenue to gaming operators in 34 states by 2024, according to research from Gambling Compliance.

Media companies have been experimenting with creating content and alternative live-streams to include discussions about betting and odds. One media company, the Score, plans to launch its own sports book.

And FanDuel, a unit of Paddy Power Bet fair PLC, said last month that it will start streaming some live games on its mobile app through a deal with Sport radar AG, allowing wagers right from the screen.

The new American market is also a huge opportunity for media companies, leagues and teams to cash in on sports book operators’ need to reach betters through advertising and marketing.

On Tuesday, U.S. casinos agreed to a code of conduct for responsible marketing of sports betting, including limiting ads to adult audiences.

A deluge of betting ads backfired in the UK, where online bookmakers have now agreed to not advertise during games out of concern about the impact on children.

Reporting by Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru and Hilary Russ in New York; Editing by Tom Brown and Anil D'Silva

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