If DraftKings Buys Simplebet, Its AI Fortunes Rise

The U.S. sports betting landscape has turned into a kind of arms race, especially among the biggest players. If DraftKings acquires Simplebet, their fortunes will rise, at least in the AI front.

If DraftKings Buys Simplebet, Its AI Fortunes Rise

On the heels of its purchase of Jackpocket, DraftKings is now reportedly close to acquiring micro-betting firm Simplebet, according to a report in the Earnings + More newsletter, citing unnamed sources.

Such a deal would help DraftKings’ bottom line through a boost in the AI game. DraftKings declined to comment about the issue.

What Simplebet brings to the table is cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence to offer outcomes on quick bets on individual prop plays. Companies that bolster their artificial intelligence arsenals will have an advantage going forward.

Simplebet is producing strong numbers in the early going of the Major League Baseball season. The company processed more than seven million bets since the beginning of April. Its handle rose 120 percent year-over-year.

“We are delighted to see triple-digit growth in our baseball product across the first full month and a half of the season compared to last year, as the betting public continues to engage with the excitement generated via micro-betting,” said Simplebet CEO Chris Bevilacqua told Sports Handle in a statement.

It comes as little surprise that sportsbooks increasingly rely on algorithmic solutions to guide operations. In 2021, PointsBet marched down this road when it obtained Banach Technology, now owned by Fanatics.

Entain purchased Angstrom Sports, a sports modeling and analytics company, in a deal that could be worth more than $200 million.

DraftKings shows a growing number of options for bettors to wager during the game. One of the more popular occurred during a Dodgers-Mets game with a wager that Shohei Ohtani would record over 0.5 home runs (+340).

Ohtani sent a 95-mph sinker over the left-centerfield fence at Citi Field. DraftKings also let bettors wager on hits, RBI, total bases, strikeouts, and total outs by a pitcher through its daily menu of props.

Simplebet gets even deeper with wagers on the speed of the next pitch, based on data from almost 5 million pitches over a 15-year period. The provider incorporates machine learning tools from at least 800,000 historical at-bats to control its proprietary in-game betting engine. For example, a ball on a 1-1 count to Ohtani could alter the odds of the Dodgers scoring a run in the first inning.

Simplebet claims it can process a transaction in 250 milliseconds. All these factors increase fan engagement even in a game with a lopsided score.

The provider deals with automated pricing and trading within seven leagues, among them the NFL, NBA, MLB, and LIV Golf.

According to E+M, the final price of the acquisition could depend on “earnouts related to product landmark achievements.” Simplebet had a valuation of $210 million, but should DraftKings sign a deal with the company, the amount will likely top out at $170 million, E+M wrote.

DraftKings’ chief competitor, FanDuel, has made some moves of its own. In one that bolsters its place in the U.S. online casino industry, FanDuel has concluded its acquisition of BeyondPlay, which focuses on iGaming software.

BeyondPlay becomes a division of FanDuel Casino, the company’s iGaming brand. The acquisition seeks to boost FanDuel’s fortunes through incorporating jackpot technology and multiplayer software capabilities.

FanDuel Casino had a 27 percent share of the U.S. online market in the first quarter of 2024, The division also showed gains in both active monthly players and revenue. The firm believes BeyondPlay in the fold will grow its position.

“As a founder, witnessing the journey of our startup from its humble beginnings to becoming part of the world’s leading online sports betting and iGaming company is an incredibly gratifying experience. This acquisition validates the hard work and dedication of our team and the vision behind our products,” Karolina Pelc, BeyondPlay CEO said when the deal was first revealed in February. Pelc becomes vice president of BeyondPlay at FanDuel.

FanDuel is also close to an agreement to secure naming rights for Diamond Sports Group’s 18 regional sports networks. The sportsbook replaces another gaming company, Bally, whose contract ends at the conclusion of the MLB season, according to Yogonet Gaming News.

The multi-year contract is said to require FanDuel-related programming on DSG channels, and an equity stake in the media company for FanDuel, Bloomberg said.

The company also runs its own linear television station and over-the-top video platform, FanDuel TV, and a recently launched free ad-supported streaming television channel known as FAST.

DSG filed a chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 2023, the result of a decrease in pay-tv subscribers and an inability to develop direct to consumer products.