Scott Mlyn | CNBC
Landry’s CEO and Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta will allow the public to buy stock in his new online gaming company. But they won’t be able to wager on Houston Rockets games.
The company joins Draftkings as the only other publicly traded online-only casino company in the U.S.
The State of New Jersey initially restricted Fertitta’s company from including National Basketball Association games, but last September approved NBA bets under the condition wagers excluded Rockets contests. Owners of sports franchises were banned from offering wagers for pro leagues in which they they owned a team.
The online casino company will arise after Fertitta used a blank check entity, Landcadia Holdings II, to buy New Jersey-based Golden Nugget Online Gaming, according to an SEC filing on June 29. Golden Nugget is now active on the Nasdaq stock exchange under Landcadia Holdings II (LCA). The company will eventually re-adopt the Golden Nugget name and change its ticker to GNOG, the filing said.
Lancadia was co-sponsored by Fertitta Entertainment, which owns the Rockets and will retain 52 percent of Golden Nugget stock, and Jefferies.
According to the filing, Fertitta’s new company is valued at $745 million.
The U.S. Supreme Court lifted the ban on sports betting in 2018, 18 states to allow wagers. Currently, 18 states are active with four awaiting startup operations as officials look to take advantage of a market projected to grow to $8 billion by 2025.
In an interview with CNBC’s “Power Lunch” on June 23, Fertitta predicted the online gambling sector, which could surpass $90 billion by 2025, would expand “everywhere in the country because of the taxes,” he said. “The iGaming market is so much more profitable and bigger than the sports gaming market.”
In addition to operations in New Jersey, Golden Nugget plans to expand in Pennsylvania and Michigan in 2021.