Will The Return Of Sports Betters Boost These ETFs? | ETF Trends

During the multi-month shutdown forced by the Covid-19, states’ collection of gas, sales, and gaming taxes were hurting. Now coffers are running light, and casinos are starting to open, prompting some analysts to predict that even more states will approve internet casinos and/or sports betting as avenues for generating revenue, which could help boost sports betting and gaming ETFs.

Meanwhile, as Penn National Gaming attempts to reopen its casinos and gaming operations, Barstool founder David Portnoy is chomping at the bit to get back to sports betting after his foray into stocks.

Portnoy, an avid sports bettor who began wagering on stocks after professional sports was stymied due to the coronavirus, told CNBC’s Jim Cramer that he’s leaving the stock trading game behind once sports return.

 “I’m enjoying the stock stuff … It’s been fun,” he said in a “Mad Money” interview, “but I’m a sports guy. I’m a sports bettor. I want sports back, and when it comes back that’s going to be where my focus is. But, for now, I am having fun with the stock game.”

Portnoy, who launched the Barstool sports and culture blog in 2003 and made millions selling a stake of the company to Penn earlier this year, has a radio show that has followed his stock trading adventures. Portnoy revealed in April that he began day trading with $3 million on an old E-Trade account, even admitting to losing $647,000 in one day.

He is in some was representative of the bored millennials who have climbed aboard the retail train, encouraged by zero dollar commissions, hopes for a v-shaped recovery, and a lack of other outlets like sports betting, which were shuttered due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Recently Portnoy claimed he is better than Warren Buffett at trading, bombastically tweeted earlier this month “I’m the captain now” and that he has surpassed Warren Buffett when it comes to picking stocks, just prior to the market dropping precipitously recently, and it is still attempting to recover those losses.

Portnoy also made a long-term play when he sold a 36% stake in Barstool to Penn in January which was worth $450 million. Barstool will launch a sportsbook as part of the deal, and he projects it will be a “dominant player in the game” and an enhancement to the casino operator.

“I wanted more equity in Penn when we did this deal. I asked [Penn CEO Jay Snowden] because I am a risk-taker. I’m a sports gambler by nature,” Portnoy said. “I can’t be more confident in what we’re building. Obviously, I’m biased, but I put my money where my mouth is.”

Penn National, which closed its casino doors as the U.S. was put on lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus, has now reopened a majority of its locations and returned 11,000 employees back to work, Snowden said. About 50% of Penn’s slot machines and table games are also open for service, and restaurant capacities remain limited, he added. The company’s stock suffered along with so many others in the crisis but has rallied well since March.

Thirty of its casino and racing properties are now open with social distancing and safety protocols in place. The properties span 19 states across the country.

The return of sports betting could be a boost for ETFs as well, and for ETF investors looking for a way to take advantage of the sports betting world, the Roundhill Sports Betting & iGaming ETF (BETZ) might be worth looking into.

BETZ is designed to offer retail and institutional investors exposure to sports betting and iGaming industries by providing investment results that closely correspond, before fees and expenses, to the performance of the Roundhill Sports Betting & iGaming Index (“BETZ Index”).

The fund is the first ETF globally designed to track the online sports betting and online casino sector. It provides a first-mover advantage and is already resonating with traders. Launched on June 4, BETZ has $70 million in assets under management, with an average daily trading volume of 1.7 million shares.

Meanwhile, for those investors who prefer virtual sports and are looking to participate in esports and video game stocks using ETFs, the Roundhill BITKRAFT Esports & Digital Entertainment ETF (NERD), the VanEck Vectors Video Gaming and eSports ETF (ESPO), and the Global X Video Games & Esports ETF (HERO), are all options.
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