Posted on: March 30, 2023, 01:59h.
Last updated on: March 30, 2023, 02:13h.
Long rumored to be a potential takeover target, Rush Street Interactive (NYSE: RSI) could be more attractive to prospective suitors following the operator’s recently announced departure from the Connecticut sports betting scene.
On Tuesday, Chicago-based Rush Street Interactive announced it’s scrapping its sports betting partnership with the Connecticut Lottery Corporation (CLC) in a bid to stem losses and smooth its path to profitability. The operator offered sports wagering services in the state under the PlaySugarHouse.com brand.
That news arrived less than two years after RSI won the contract to manage CLC’s sports betting platform. In Connecticut, only the lottery, the Mohegan Tribe, and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation offer sports wagering services.
The gaming company said the move to scuttle the Connecticut contract is “in the best interest of RSI and our stockholders” and “consistent with our long-term strategic goals.”
RSI Takeover Chatter Renewed
With a market capitalization of just $655.33 million and its shares down 61% over the past year, it’s not surprising that RSI is frequently mentioned as an acquisition candidate.
The removal of overhang from the CT Lottery deal, though it likely came with a penalty, could make RSI more attractive for a buyer, especially with the firm now trading around an all-time low (its enterprise value at the time of writing was approximately $465 million),” according to Eilers & Krejcik Gaming (EKG).
The research firm adds that while RSI was likely subject to a penalty to get out of the Connecticut pact, the move could pay dividends over the long haul as the operator looks to right-size its cost structure on the road to halting losses.
The focus on profitability could be to the liking of investors and suitors alike because the sports betting industry’s days of growth at all costs are gone, likely on a permanent basis, as market participants demand operators hone their focus on generating profits.
RSI’s New Approach Could Spur Takeover
While EKG didn’t mention specific companies that could make a run at RSI, the research firm highlighted some factors that could make the target more alluring to potential buyers. Those include a focus on specific markets where it owns superior brand recognition.
RSI’s domestic approach appears to be “based around states where it has properties and/or online casino access, such as Illinois and Pennsylvania,” noted EKG. “For perspective, it currently has around a 10% share of Illinois OSB GGR and, per our estimates, approximately 16% share of Pennsylvania online casino GGR.”
The research firm added that RSI may be striving to keep a lid on costs until internet casinos, the operator’s core competency, are more widely approved across the US. Currently, just six states allow that form of gaming, and it could be some time before that number grows in a significant fashion.