Sports Gambling Meets Venture Capital

October 3, 2019 | Fund Updates, News, Venture Capital
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New fund seeks unique startups in the sports gaming industry

The Sports Gambling Investment Fund has announced the formation of its first fund. The group aims to discover, fund, and mentor startups entering the casino and gaming business.

It appears that they are off the ground running security capital.

Jeremy Levine, whose firm DRAFT was purchased by PaddyPower Betfair two years ago, is one of the fund’s disclosed backers.

The fund’s formation follows the ongoing wave of sports gambling legalizations in states across the country. In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, a federal ban on sports gambling. This critical decision opened the doors for states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York to liberalize regulations and welcome sports betting.

The new VC fund sees that as a catalyst for a $17 billion opportunity in the country and says that sports betting is “expanding at an unprecedented pace.”

“The pace of development in the US market only increases the opportunity for startups,” said David Sargeant, managing partner of the executive team. “Large casinos and software providers won’t have the bandwidth or resources to truly innovate. They’re too busy simply getting up and running.”

Sargeant is the founder and CEO of iGaming Ideas. This firm is an international incubator for gambling startups. He is also a sports gambling consultant.

The Sports Gambling Investment Fund

The rest of the team comprises:

  • Chris Grove, a partner at Eilers & Krejcik Gamin. He will lead the firm’s sports betting practice as a Managing Partner.
  • Blaine Graboyes, the co-founder and CEO of gambling machine developer GameCo. He joins as an Advisory Partner.
  • Seth Schorr, Chairman of Fifth Street Gaming and co-founder of the streaming media startup Konek TV. He also joins as Advisory Partner; and,
  • SeventySix Capital, a fund manager that will advise the team on deal structure, vetting, and back office responsibilities.

In a press release announcing the formation of the new fund, Grove added:

“There’s no doubt that the keys to fully unlocking the potential of the U.S. sports betting market are in the hands of startups. We’re just now starting to see the ideas that will ultimately define sports betting in the United States.”

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