Sportech in US fantasy games link-up

Walton-based international gaming group Sportech today announced a joint venture with fantasy sports game maker Picklive.

The pools and tote gaming business will launch Picklive USA into the US fantasy sports market, worth an estimated £1.2bn, next year.

Sportech says it will leverage its extensive reach in the US, where it currently processes 50% of all horseracing bets.

Picklive USA will extend Sportech’s product offer beyond horseracing to a “vast sports market, including US professional-league football, baseball, hockey and soccer”.

Research by the Fantasy Sports Trade Association estimated that 33.5 million adults play fantasy sports games in the US, with daily fantasy sports taking a rapidly increasing share of the overall market.

Sportech sees the opportunity to bring the “social” experience into the fantasy sports space and aims for Picklive USA to be the ultimate second-screen entertainment and social experience during live sport.

Ian Penrose, Sportech chief executive, said today: “This transaction further develops our increasing online presence in the rapidly growing US market.”

Picklive chief executive David Galan added: “We are delighted to be partnering with Sportech, given its unique position as a major operator in the highly regulated and rapidly changing US gaming market.

“Picklive has already enjoyed great success in the UK and this opportunity allows us to bring product innovation and the ‘social’ element into the daily fantasy sports space in the US and become a primary second-screen entertainment destination and social experience to accompany live sport.”

Analysts Simon French, Karl Burns and Lindsey Kerrigan at Liverpool stockbroker Panmure Gordon said: “We believe the financial commitment is likely to be relatively small and therefore, leave our forecasts unchanged.

“We see numerous upcoming catalysts for Sportech including this week’s analyst visit to the US. We reiterate our Buy recommendation and 145p (share) target price, implying  about 73% potential upside.”

Last week Sportech purchased Bristol-based betting specialist Data Tote for £3.1m.

The firm runs betting systems at racecourses, including Bangor-on-Dee and Chester, where it operates the ChesterBet service.

It recently started a relationship with Coral to supply a range of sports pools software and services.

Once the deal is complete Sportech will exclusively provide betting services to 41 of the 43 greyhound tracks in the UK and Ireland.

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