With Vigtory Acquisition, A FuboTV Sportsbook Could Be Coming To Iowa

Posted By Derek Helling on January 14, 2021 - Last Updated on May 11, 2021

Several sports media corporations have become partners with gambling companies over the past year; however, one of those companies will try taking bets on sporting events. A potential fuboTV sportsbook could have particular relevance for Iowa sports bettors.

While no one is sure if the sportsbook will bear the fuboTV brand, what’s certain is its ties to the Hawkeye State. We also know that fuboTV plans to offer a new online sports betting option for Iowans.

Will there be a fuboTV sportsbook in Iowa?

Well, maybe. It’s possible that “fuboTV” might not be anywhere in the book’s name. Earlier this week, fuboTV announced its intent to acquire Chicago-based Vigtory Sportsbook. However, as fuboTV is a publicly-traded company, there are some regulatory hurdles to clear yet.

In November, Vigtory secured market access into Iowa via the Casino Queen Marquette, and the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission has since approved that contract. At the time, it was uncertain when Vigtory would go live in Iowa and whether it would offer online and retail betting.

Thus far, the Iowa casino is the only one of the 19 sports betting licensees not taking bets. That seems no closer to changing now. As a matter of fact, this transaction may delay that actually, assuming the Casino Queen makes no other arrangements.

With Vigtory, fuboTV also gets a license to offer online sports betting in New Jersey. As that market is more robust than Iowa’s, fuboTV could likely focus on going live there first. The company could “walk and chew gum at the same time,” and work on launches in both states. However, there’s still a lot of work to do before it’s ready for either market.

Vigtory’s leadership is staying on with fuboTV, taking executive roles in the company’s new gaming division. That should streamline efforts, especially if fuboTV decides to use all the Vigtory branding for the sportsbook.

An optimistic timeline for going live in Iowa is sometime this year, though we could be 2022.

Whenever fuboTV/Vigtory sportsbook becomes available in Iowa, it’s sure to include some unique components, including a free-to-play online prediction game.

FuboTV could be unique, but will that mean a strong market share in Iowa?

FuboTV CEO David Gandler made the strategy of marrying content with gambling quite obvious in a press release about the acquisition of Vigtory:

“We don’t see wagering as simply an add-on product to fuboTV. Instead, we believe there is a real flywheel opportunity with streaming video content and interactivity. Our free-to-play gaming experience, which will be available to all consumers, will build further scale to fuboTV, essentially acting as another lead generator for driving subscribers to our streaming video platform and, ultimately, our sportsbook. We not only expect sports wagering to become a new line of business and source of revenue, but we also expect that it will increase user engagement on fuboTV resulting in higher ad monetization, better subscriber retention, and reduced subscriber acquisition costs.”

Essentially, Gandler hopes merging these two categories will be synergistic for the company he leads. As the field for its primary product — a subscription live and on-demand video streaming service — becomes more crowded, fuboTV needs a way to differentiate itself.

There’s certainly no lack of opportunity for integrating its sportsbook product into the content it carries; however, fuboTV is more of a carrier than a studio. Because much of the live sports content it offers is produced elsewhere by companies that have deals with other sportsbooks, such as NBC and PointsBet, it’s fair to question how much the live streaming video will point viewers to fuboTV’s betting platform.

It’s not clear whether fuboTV’s divided attention will enable it to compete as either a gambling or media company. The two verticals do mesh well with each other, though. At the least, no one can say fuboTV didn’t try.

Photo by Dreamstime.com/fuboTV
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Chicago. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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