DraftKings, Caesars — how sports-betting stocks performed in January – MarketWatch

Since the United States Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018, sports-betting companies have surged in popularity. In response, sports betting companies have begun jockeying for bettors in a “gold rush” of customer acquisition.
As of the end of January 2022, 30 U.S. states, as well as Washington, D.C., offer some form of legalized sports wagering, according to the American Gaming Association.
Many sports-betting operators are also publicly traded companies, and some have non-sports betting aspects of their business, like entertainment and casino operations.
Here is how sports-betting stocks performed in January:
Shares of DraftKings Inc. DKNG, +9.42% dropped 20.65% in January, while the S&P 500 SPX, +3.06%  was down by 5.54% over the same period.
Last week, DraftKings shares saw a sharp bounce after nearly hitting a two-year low when Morgan Stanley MS, +4.47% analyst Thomas Allen turned bullish and said DraftKings’ price drop created “too big an opportunity” for long-term investors to ignore.
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On Jan. 6, the New York State Gaming Commission announced that DraftKings, one of the state’s approved sports betting operators, satisfied all regulatory requirements to proceed with mobile wagering and iGaming in the state and can begin accepting wagers. DraftKings is now accepting mobile sports bets in New York and took in $134.4 million in wagers in the first nine days since its New York launch, according to PlayNY.
DraftKings is down 58.84% over the past 12 months.
Shares of Caesars Entertainment Inc. CZR, +11.42% dropped 18.55% in January.
Caesars was also one the approved sportsbooks in New York state that began accepting mobile sports wagering this month. Caesars took in more betting handle in New York than any other sportsbook in the first nine days post-launch with $257.7 million, according to the New York State Gaming Commission.
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New York state Sen. Joe Addabbo derided Caesars Sportsbook after launching in New York due to several complaints surrounding payout delays for customers.
“This is such a competitive market. And you’re such a player. Get your act together,” Sen. Addabbo said. “You’re in New York. You’re in the sports capital of the world, and you’re acting like you’re in some small town. C’mon. You’re Caesars.”
Caesars is up 7.85% over the past 12 months.
Penn National Gaming
Shares of Penn National Gaming Inc. dropped 12.69% in January.
Penn was not one of the sports betting operators that the New York Gaming Commission approved to begin taking bets in New York.
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There was good news for Penn in January, though. Analysts at Macquarie Research upgraded Penn National to Outperform from Neutral and raised their price target to $80 from $71.
Penn is constructing a digital ecosystem in a “massively different way than peers,” allowing the company to offset losses, the analysts at Macquarie Research continued.
Penn is down 56.39% over the past 12 months.
Shares of Wynn Resorts Ltd. WYNN, +9.49%  moved just 0.72% lower in January as cases of COVID-19 dropped in the U.S.
Wynn’s robust in-person casino business is more potentially at-risk when new COVID-19 restrictions are in place compared with mostly-online books like DraftKings or the Flutter-owned FLTR, +9.60% FanDuel, especially in tourist-heavy Las Vegas. Extreme volatility in the company’s stock related to COVID was apparent in the early stages of the pandemic in 2020.
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Last week, a report from the New York Post indicated that Wynn’s online gaming organization WynnBet could soon be up for sale. Wynn has a New York online betting license but still has not launched an online sportsbook in the state.
Wynn is down 14.93% over the past 12 months.
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Weston Blasi is a reporter. You can follow him on Twitter @WestonBlasi.
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