FansUnite Entertainment Inc. (OTCQX: FUNFF) (CSE: FANS) (“FansUnite” or the “Company”) is pleased to provide the following shareholder letter from FansUnite Chief Executive Officer Scott Burton.
At the beginning of 2021, FansUnite set out multiple strategic milestones for the year in pursuit of becoming a preeminent gaming solutions provider in the global betting industry. We are proud to say we have hit and surpassed those goals. This year, FansUnite advanced our U.S. and Canadian expansion plans, raised more than $37 million CAD in growth capital, obtained multiple United Kingdom Gambling Commission licenses, announced key partnerships with leading gambling companies, gaming aggregators and data providers, and most notably, completed the acquisition of American Affiliate, a U.S. pure-play betting affiliate network.
Given the numerous developments in 2021, I would like to summarize the highlights of a transformative year that further energized our leadership team, employees, and shareholders and sparked continued excitement in the future of FansUnite.
North American Expansion
The U.S. gambling market has been our primary focus for 2021 and will continue to be an integral part of our strategic expansion plans next year. Over the last 12 months, we have started the legal and compliance process to enter the U.S. market by partnering with OneComply, a compliance and licensing solutions provider, and engaging Gaming Laboratories International (GLI), an independent industry-leading iGaming testing laboratory.
In the fourth quarter of 2021, we captured industry headlines with our acquisition of American Affiliate, a leading U.S. betting affiliate company, a move that will rapidly accelerate our U.S. expansion plans.
American Affiliate strengthens our operations, provides us with immediate and substantial access into the U.S. betting market, and delivers an influx of senior-level leadership to the Company.
As part of the acquisition, FansUnite gained:
- Betting Hero, the top U.S. live activation sports betting and online gambling company, delivering tens of thousands of consumers every quarter to a diverse mix of Tier 1 digital brands and brick-and-mortar properties
- Trailing 12-month unaudited revenue and EBITDA of $13.1 million USD and $6.0 million USD respectively
- Partnerships with top-tier sports betting and casino operators including BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, Underdog Fantasy, WynnBet, and more
- 150,000 new depositing customers for legal U.S. online betting operators
- The only at-scale gambling affiliate company focused primarily on the U.S. market
- Advanced proprietary technology portfolio
- World-class leadership team with a history of success and scale in the U.S. gaming market
We also continued to focus our growth efforts on Canada, where the passing of Bill C-218 allowed for single-event sports wagering, altering the entire competitive landscape. There is a lucrative, untapped domestic gambling market with a strong appetite for online betting. The recent developments within the Canadian betting marketplace mark an exciting new opportunity for us and resulted in our decision to apply to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to become a fully registered gaming-related supplier in Ontario. Furthermore, I am honoured to have joined the Canadian Gaming Association as a member of their Board of Directors, where I will provide my full support and assistance to their initiatives in advancing the Canadian sports betting and iGaming industries.
Overseas Betting Marketplaces
The progress that FansUnite made in Canada and the U.S. was further complemented with significant growth in our B2C segment, highlighted by our UK-based, Scottish-focused McBookie platform, which saw an increase in betting volume of 67% over 2020. 2021 betting volume has exceeded $62 million CAD, to date, and at its peak betting volume, McBookie had over 1,000 unique customers on the casino alone, as well as 23,000 bets placed in a single week on the sportsbook – the highest number of wagers in a week since its inception in 2009.
In South America, we launched our Brazilian esportsbook VamosGG. We secured the exclusive rights for VamosGG to offer pre-match and in-play betting in Brazil for the PGL Major 2021 in Stockholm, Sweden and we locked in VamosGG as the exclusive broadcast partner of top Brazilian streamer Gaules for the entirety of the tournament. The event garnered a response far beyond our expectations, setting new esports viewership records in Brazil and propelling VamosGG to reaching significant milestones, including:
- 6,500+ new players registered in the first week
- More than 3,000 concurrent users at its peak
- 100,000+ user sessions during the PGL Major
- 4,000 new social media followers
Following the success of the Major, we announced the VamosGG Cup, a CS:GO tournament that will increase the platform’s brand visibility in Brazil, as well as offer more local wagering solutions that illustrate the breadth of VamosGG’s betting offerings to existing and new partners. Once the VamosGG Cup is finalized, we will share more details.
And lastly, FansUnite received both a remote gambling software license and a remote betting license from the United Kingdom Gambling Commission through its subsidiaries. These licenses will allow FansUnite to supply its B2B wagering platforms to UK sportsbooks and casino operators, and to deliver a full array of B2C betting solutions to the UK marketplace.
Focus on Strategic B2B Partnerships and Product Initiatives
We believe that partnerships are key to ensure that our technology platform integrates the most robust data and odds feeds into our gambling solutions, and that our Random Number Generator (RNG) casino games and suite of product offerings reach all of our business and consumer demographics. In 2021, we signed multiple partnerships with gambling companies, data providers, and sportsbook and casino aggregators, such as Pariplay Ltd., Sports IQ Analytics Inc., Pythia Sports, Algosport and Sportradar Group AG.
In December 2021, we announced a January 2022 launch date for a new online sports wagering portal, which will be operated by MoneyLine Sports Inc, an Ontario-based SaaS and gaming technology company for regulated European markets. MoneyLine will be utilizing our technology platform for their B2C offerings.
Furthermore, we have integrated CoinsPaid, a leading provider of virtual currency exchange and payment solutions, into our B2B platform to offer bettors the option of making deposits using cryptocurrencies. Given the rising popularity of cryptocurrency payment services, we believe that this initiative will create more options for bettors, attracting a wider, and more technologically forward-thinking audience, and enhance the overall user experience.
While securing new partnerships remains a key focus, adding new solutions to our product pipeline is equally important. Askott Games, our game creation studio targeting a coveted younger generation of players, has completed the development of a suite of RNG games, including Loothunter, Crash Heist, Gem Powered, Fruit Venture and Team Vortex, all of which will be available to nearly 1,000 online casinos and sportsbooks early next year through partnerships with the aggregator networks of Pariplay and The Ear. Askott Games is in the final testing stages of numerous other games and the studio will continue to develop new concepts and games throughout 2022.
Additions to Our Leadership Team
As we continue to expand, we believe that the strength of our leadership team represents a critical element in ensuring that FansUnite scales up efficiently. Through direct hires and the aforementioned American Affiliate acquisition, we have added world-class talent to every division in the Company. I am pleased to welcome the following individuals who will play a vital role in contributing to the growth of FansUnite:
Chris Grove – Chief Executive Officer, American Affiliate
Grove brings 20 years of experience in the online gaming and affiliate space, having co-founded Play USA Media and LegalSportsReport.com, which were acquired by Catena Media in 2017. After the acquisition, Grove served as Acting Director of Catena Media U.S. until October 2019. He is widely recognized as an industry expert on online gambling in the United States, and has been cited by numerous notable media outlets including Bloomberg, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. He has testified before policymakers in California, Illinois, New York, Nevada, and Washington state.
Sean Hurley – SVP Strategy, American Affiliate
Hurley is an experienced executive who has established, operated and scaled gaming operations around the world. Previously as the Head of Sportsbook at DraftKings, he was responsible for planning and launching the first online U.S. sportsbook outside of Nevada. Before joining DraftKings, Hurley served as the Head of Commercial at Amelco UK, a leading sports betting risk, trading and platform supplier for prominent global sports betting companies. He also served as an official data supplier at IMG Arena, where he distributed official league data to both operators and suppliers.
Pearl Gallagher – Chief Legal Officer, American Affiliate
Gallagher has 15 years of legal experience as a transactional attorney. She is the co-founder of Childs Watson & Gallagher, PLLC, a boutique transactional law firm. Prior to joining American Affiliate, she served as the first Chief Legal Officer of GeoComply, the iGaming industry’s leading geolocation supplier. She is a shareholder of Nevada’s legacy law firm Lionel Sawyer & Collins, where she began her legal career as an associate. During her tenure at the law firm, she worked for clients that included casinos, lenders, borrowers, and publicly traded companies.
Alec Driscoll – SVP Operations, American Affiliate
Driscoll has 20 years of executive leadership experience within the technology and second-generation casino space. He has a proven track record of driving digital transformation in the casino industry, including overseeing the launch of one of the first U.S. online casino divisions. Prior to joining American Affiliate, he served as the Vice President of Product with GAN, a leading U.S. provider of iGaming and sports betting platforms. Driscoll also served as the Head of U.S. operations for FSB, a U.K.-based sports betting platform, where he drove market entry strategy and established their U.S. offerings.
Jai Maw – President, Betting Hero
Maw is the President and Co-Founder of Betting Hero, the best-in-class live activation company for sports betting, iGaming, and cashless operators. Betting Hero has more than one million in-person interactions, 150,000+ new depositing customers, and over $10 million in first time deposits. Prior to joining Betting Hero, Maw worked as an executive search consultant for a boutique firm in Michigan, where he consulted with dozens of billion-dollar companies in the financial services industry, helping to design, recruit, and retain their executive teams.
Jeremy Jakary – SVP Strategy, Betting Hero
Jakary is the Senior VP, Strategy and co-founder of Betting Hero. Prior to Betting Hero, he spent 10 years working with CareerBuilder.com and Glassdoor.com, having joined them during their early stages. At Glassdoor, he held various enterprise sales roles, helping them grow from a $100 million valuation in 2011 to their eventual $1 billion exit. Jakary also owned and operated the top affiliate marketing company in the identity theft protection industry, delivering 18,000 customers to LifeLock between 2014 to 2015.
Anna Smith – Head of Compliance, FansUnite
Smith has 10 years of gaming industry experience, working in anti-money laundering, fraud detection, payments, and investigations. In recent years, she has held the role of a Money Laundering Reporting Officer at several well-recognized international gambling companies that operate in the U.K. and Malta jurisdictions. She has also worked as a Fraud Analyst at bet365, an industry-leading British sportsbook.
Michael Lee – Vice President of Gaming, FansUnite
Lee has held various senior management roles at international companies within the gaming and telecommunications industries. Most notably, Lee was the former Chief Executive Officer of Genesis Gaming, a prominent gaming provider, where he oversaw the company’s global business operations. Lee joined Genesis Gaming in January 2016 as Chief Product Officer, leading the development of Genesis Gaming’s game delivery platform and overseeing an extensive portfolio of more than 100 gaming titles.
Alex Williamson – Senior Trading Manager, FansUnite
Williamson has an 18-year career within the international betting industry. He was the former Head of Sportsbook for Yew Tree Services Inc., a leading betting solutions provider based in the Philippines that supplied its technology to well-established bookmakers in Asia like BETISN. During his tenure, he led several key operational departments, mainly bookmaking, customer service and quality assurance departments, in which he managed approximately 400 employees. Prior to joining Yew Tree Services, he was a member of a prominent professional betting group for nine years.
Ciaran Lawless – Senior Trading Manager, FansUnite
Lawless’ career spans 17 years of trading roles, having worked for notable European and Asian sportsbooks such as Betfair, Sportingbet and Betdaq. Before joining FansUnite, Lawless served as a Soccer Trading Analyst for Bet365 in Malta where he analyzed in-play wagers and controlled bet referrals. He also worked as a Bookmaking Manager at Yew Tree Services Inc. for eight years.
We will continue to add senior executive talent throughout the early months of 2022.
I’d like to reiterate that our mission is to become a leading global provider of gaming solutions. Therefore, our key objectives in 2022 include expanding into new regulated betting jurisdictions, delivering our B2B technology platform to more clients, and scaling our B2C platforms, namely McBookie and VamosGG to drive revenue growth, brand awareness, customer acquisition and retention.
In advancing our growth strategy, we plan to execute several initiatives, which include: (i) launching additional RNG titles through Askott Games to expand our product portfolio and (ii) exploring synergistic opportunities with American Affiliate to supply our proprietary technology to their existing Tier 1 customer base (thereby extending FansUnite’s reach into the U.S. market and solidifying our footprint in the North American betting industry).
To all of our shareholders, we thank you. Our progress and achievements this year would not have been possible without your support. We are grateful for your confidence and trust in us and we look forward to another transformative year in 2022.
Take care and happy holidays!
CEO of FansUnite Entertainment Inc.
About FansUnite Entertainment Inc.
FansUnite is a global sports and entertainment company, focusing on technology related to regulated and lawful online gaming and other related products. FansUnite has produced a one-of-a-kind complete iGaming platform, with a sports and esports focus geared for the next generation of online bettors and casino players. The platform includes products for pre-match betting, in-play betting, daily fantasy, content and a certified RNG to produce casino style chance games. The platform operates multiple B2C brands and B2B software for the online gambling industry. FansUnite also looks to acquire technology platforms and assets with high growth potential in new or developing markets. The Company also provides technological solutions and services in the global gaming and entertainment industries. Its technology includes fixed/parimutuel odds, in-stream betting, live betting, casino-style games, cryptocurrency wallet and news content.