Dave VanEgmond, the man behind Barstool Sports’s $163 million deal with Penn National Gaming, has left Barstool to focus full-time on his new gaming investment platform.
VanEgmond has negotiated two of the bigger U.S. sports betting deals to date. Prior to joining Barstool, he was an executive vice president at FanDuel. When the company’s proposed merger with DraftKings fell through, VanEgmond launched a sale process that eventually led to Paddy Power Betfair buying around 60% of the company for more than $500 million.
Bettor Capital, which VanEgmond launched last month, will invest in online gaming in the U.S., with a specific focus on companies that are looking to provide services for operators and bettors.
“If you believe sports betting is a gold rush, which I do, I want to finance the providers of picks and shovels,” VanEgmond said. “Bettor Capital will focus on the supply chain, whether that be technology service providers, software suppliers or marketing partners.”
The size of that gold rush will depend on how quickly certain U.S. states legalize sports gambling. Despite that patchwork approach, most experts expect the U.S. to quickly become one of the biggest legal markets in the world. According to estimates from Eilers & Krejcik Gaming that predate the Covid-19 pandemic, the country was on track from more than $6.4 billion in legal sports betting revenue in 2023.
VanEgmond said he sees two main advantages to launching Bettor Capital right now. First, many institutional investors are avoiding gambling companies because of regulatory considerations and preexisting restrictions on categories that are considered “vice.” Second, because the U.S. sports betting market is so unique and so nascent, there aren’t many experienced industry executives that have made the transition to becoming investors.
The firm’s portfolio currently consists of VanEgmond’s personal equity in FanDuel and Barstool Sports, plus four other recent investments. They include SportsGrid, a media company whose clients include FanDuel, and BetSperts, a social media platform where bettors can post and track their wagers (VanEgmond is on the BetSperts board). Bettor Capital is also doing consulting work — VanEgmond said he’s working with a major U.S. sports team to find a partner to open a sportsbook in its stadium.
At the start the all the capital will be his own, and most partnerships will be structured as business development and strategic consulting in exchange for equity. VanEgmond said he’d eventually like to raise around $50 million to $100 million of outside capital for larger investments.
“Outside of my success at FanDuel and Barstool, I want to show some track-record as an investor first,” he said. “I think that will make the fund-raising process easier.”