Circa to unveil sports betting in Illinois but analyst expectations are low

Circa to unveil sports betting in Illinois but analyst expectations are low

Article brief provided by The Nevada Independent
  • Howard Stutz, The Nevada Independent
January 25, 2023 9:28 PM
  • Howard Stutz, The Nevada Independent

Circa Sports is ready to launch operations in a fourth state, but analysts from advisory firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming are tamping down expectations.

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Circa, which is controlled by downtown Las Vegas casino operator Derek Stevens, has a deal with Full House Resorts to operate sports betting at the company’s planned casino resort in Waukegan, Illinois.

In Nevada, Circa operates a mobile app and has retail sportsbooks, including its flagship three-story facility at Circa Resort Casino, Stevens’ other two downtown casinos and satellite locations at the off-Strip Tuscany, The Pass in Henderson and Legend’s Bay in Sparks.

Circa also has online sports betting licenses in Iowa and Colorado.

“Circa has some undoubted strengths but may well need to upgrade its product for its U.S. expansion to gain traction,” Eilers & Krejcik analysts Chris Krafcik and Brad Allen wrote in the EKG Line newsletter.

In Nevada’s online sports betting industry, Circa has a 3.5 percent market share. But Krafcik and Allen said the competition is stiffer in Illinois, where DraftKings and FanDuel operate. Neither company is in Nevada.

“Circa (also) won’t have the benefit of its Nevada destination sportsbook presence,” the analysts wrote.

Full House plans to open The Temporary, in Waukegan, Illinois by the end of March. The casino, an interim property until the $500 million American Place opens in two years, will be the closest casino to 1.2 million residents in the northern Chicago suburbs.

Stevens told PlayIllinois earlier this month Circa would be ready to launch as soon as the company gains Illinois regulatory approval.

However, the analysts said Circa’s mobile app finished 36th out of 39 mobile apps in the firm’s fourth-quarter online sports betting app performance testing.

“Circa’s performance in Colorado also suggests an uphill struggle when in competition with the big U.S. apps, and their marketing budgets,” Krafcik and Allen wrote. “Circa has less than 1 percent of the online sports betting share in Colorado over the last three months, per our estimates.”