DraftKings to Buy Golden Nugget Online Gaming in $1.56B Deal

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DraftKings is acquiring the leading online casino Golden Nugget Online Gaming (GNOG) for $1.56 billion, according to a news release provided by DraftKings Monday.

The Boston-based company said it will be able to use the GNOG’s brand name once the all-stock deal is close in the first half of 2022. DraftKings will also be able to use GNOG’s immense online casino experience and a combined database of more than five million customers for future growth, the release said.

Golden Nugget is a subsidiary company of Fertitta Entertainment, owned by Tilman Fertitta, a billionaire owner of NBA’s Houston Rockets and Landry’s restaurant chain.

Shares of GNOG suddenly rose to almost 50% following the news. Though DraftKings was trading flat on Monday, the sports betting giant is growing quickly. The company’s second-quarter revenue report has seen almost a 300% rise from a year ago.

Key Details of the Deal

The deal covers the digital gambling assets of Golden Nugget, which Fertitta had spun off last June with a value of $745 million. DraftKings will also add nearly 5.5 million GNOG customers to its ever-growing list of consumers.

Golden Nugget Online Gaming shareholders will receive 0.365 shares of $DKNG stock for each share of GNOG, which is nearly equivalent of $18.70 per $GNOG share. It was roughly a 51% upside from the last close.

GNOG stakeholders are yet to approve the deal.

Once everything goes as planned, and the deal is closed by 2022, Golden Nugget online operations will be migrated on the DraftKings platform to cut third-party costs.

GNOG, which currently runs on the SG Digital platform, is the largest iCasino brand in New Jersey.

What Will DraftKings Have from It?

The DraftKings’ acquisition will help the company reach online casino customers who do not necessarily bet on sports, said DraftKings CEO Jason Robins. He said DraftKings will follow a multi-brand strategy by keeping the Golden Nugget online casino brand.

Robins said the Boston-based company is excellent when it comes to cross-selling sports customers into iGaming, while admitting that the company’s database is restricted to male consumers and on sports.

But “GNOG’s database is almost 50/50 male to female and more of that casino clientele,” Robins said.

According to Eilers & Krejcik, there is a “lot to like” about this deal, saying it would enable DraftKings to protect its iGaming share amid mounting competition.

Fertitta To Become One of Largest DraftKings Shareholders

Tilman Fertitta, who owns 45% of GNOG, will join the DraftKings’ board following the transaction. The billionaire said he’s thrilled to become a shareholder in the “clear leader” in US sports betting.

Fertitta will become one of the largest DraftKings shareholders upon the closure of the deal.

Golden Nugget online sportsbook – now owned by DraftKings – can take wagers on NBA again. When it was owned by Fertitta, who also owns the Houston Rockets, GNOG could not take bets on NBA in various states due to conflict of interest.

DraftKings Strikes Separate Deal with Fertitta Entertainment

As part of the deal, DraftKings concluded a separate deal with Fertitta Entertainment, covering its other businesses, including Houston Rockets.

Under that transaction, DraftKings becomes the exclusive daily fantasy sports, sports betting, and online casino partner of the Houston-based basketball team.

DraftKings will open a sportsbook at the Toyota Center once sports betting is legalized in Texas, and sports teams are granted sportsbook licenses.

The Boston-based sportsbook will establish retail sportsbooks at Golden Nugget casinos.

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