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Inside Gaming: Flutter-Stars Group Merger to Impact U.S. Sports Betting

4th October, 22:21

The biggest industry-related news this week involved the blockbuster merger of Flutter Entertainment and The Stars Group to form a new United Kingdom-based online gambling company valued at more than £10 billion ($11 billion USD).

While the deal requires other steps including regulatory approvals to be completed -- likely at some point after the middle of 2020 -- many are nonetheless already speculating about the significant impact the new company will have upon the industry worldwide.

According to The Financial Times, the newly-combined company will have more than 13 million customers in more than 100 different markets. In particular, the merger will have a significant impact on the fast-growing sports betting industry in the United States.

All of this means that among other ramifications, the new company will assuredly have a signficant edge over others vying for the U.S. sports betting market.

On Tuesday McIngvale placed a $3.5 million bet on the Astros to win at the DraftKings sportsbook at the Scarlet Pearl Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. Then on Thursday he added another $1.5 million bet on Houston to win.

Both bets are at +220 odds, meaning if Houston does win, the $5 million in bets will earn an $11 million payday for McIngvale.

As McIngvale explained in an interview for The Action Network, the bets are in fact a kind of hedge for the entrepreneur. He offers a promotion at his mattress stores that if the Astros win the World Series he will refund purchases of $3,000 or more. He was offering the same promotion when the Astros won the World Series two years ago and paid out more than $10 million in refunds.

This year he says his liability for the promotion is more that $15 million should Houston win, and indicates he may well place additional bets on Houston prior to the World Series should they advance. McIngvale estimates his company, Gallery Furniture, is worth $150-200 million.

ESPN points out the initial $3.5 million bet nearly equaled the total amount bet on baseball at the Scarlet Pearl's sportsbook during June, July, and August.

"Not only is it believed to be the biggest bet ever in Mississippi, it's also easily one of the largest wagers ever reported in the United States," says ESPN.

Following this week's wild card games there are eight teams left with a chance at the title. Most sportsbooks list Houston as the favorite among the eight to win the World Series, with the Los Angeles Dodgers a close second.

Stars were on display. High-wires were traversed. Guitars were smashed.

Celebrating the completion of a two-and-a-half-year $720 million expansion, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa staged a lavish grand opening on Thursday, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

Following the renovation the casino is now 245,000 square feet with almost 5,000 slots and approximately 200 tables. Also new is a 14-story, 562-room hotel, a new salon and spa, plus additional pools, restaurants, and retail stores.

After a boisterous smashing of guitars kicked off festivities, Nik Wallenda and his 67-year-old mother Delilah both performed a high-wire walk 150 feet in the air between the old and new hotels.

There was a red carpet where appeared model Christie Brinkley, reality show star Kim Zolciak, actress Nicole Kidman and her husband Keith Urban. The country music star will be performing a concert tonight at the venue's 1,800-seat concert hall. Big Boi and DJ Jazzy Jeff are also among those performing this weekend.

According to Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International and president of Seminole Gaming, Seminole Hard Rock Tampa generates $1 billion a year in revenue and from a profitability standpoint is the most successful casino in the U.S. and fourth or fifth most successful in the world.