Posted on: July 6, 2023, 06:07h.
Last updated on: July 6, 2023, 06:07h.
On the back of improving cost management and above-average hold in some markets, DraftKings (NASDAQ: DKNG) drew kudos from a pair of sell-side analysts Thursday.
In reports to clients today, Deutsche Bank analyst Carlo Santarelli and JPMorgan’s Joseph Greff waxed modestly bullish on DraftKings with Santarelli lifting his price target on the stock to $24 from $22. Greff upped his price objective on the name to $20. Both are below today’s closing print of $25.23. Citing better-than-expected iGaming metrics, Santarelli lifted his 2023 and 2024 revenue projections on DraftKings.
While the gaming company has made reducing costs a core focus this year, the Deutsche Bank analyst sees the operator benefiting from increased hold.
While DKNG’s hold improvement, the primary driver of its [year-over-year] market-share growth, has been strong, it is largely a result of the gross hold strength, rather than the relative promotional disciplines,” wrote Santarelli.
He added that wider spreads, same-game parlays and operators’ increasing ability to identify and limit sharp bettors are among the factors boding well for the industry, including DraftKings.
Golden Nugget Online Deal Paying Off for DraftKings
It’s been 14 months since DraftKings completed its $1.56 billion all-stock acquisition of Tilman Fertitta’s Golden Nugget Online Gaming (GNOG) and that deal is now paying dividends for the buyer.
The GNOG buy helped establish DraftKings as a leader in the internet casino space while helping it add market share in the states in which GNOG was operational. Speaking of market share, Santarelli estimates DraftKings’ share is up to 31% thanks to strong starts in states that recently added online sports betting, including Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts and Ohio.
“We view the consistency of DKNG’s OSB share favorably and believe, in the absence of a radical change within the industry from new competition, something we view as unlikely, DKNG is likely to maintain, or even potentially grow, share from current levels,” observed the analyst.
As for new states contributing to the DraftKings thesis, Florida isn’t likely to be one due to the Seminole Tribe’s stranglehold on gaming in that state, according to Santarelli.
Parlay Holds Rising, But Beware Tipping Point
Same-game parlays are proving highly lucrative for operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel and those bets serve the objectives of luring customers and boosting hold.
However, there’s another side to the story. As Santarelli notes, rising hold for operators implies an increasing cost of entertainment for bettors, implying that there’s a limit to how long customers will endure bets with increased advantages for the operator. He cites the advent of 6-5 blackjack and triple-zero roulette on the Las Vegas Strip, which led to higher revenue for casino operators, but a dwindling percentage of table games play.
“While we do not believe that threshold has been reached and we don’t anticipate it will be reached anytime soon, given the experience of FanDuel relative to the broader market, there are historical anecdotes that speak to situations that seemingly imply, it does happen,” concluded the analyst.
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