Wynn Interactive is shuttering its UK-facing sportsbook app, BetBull after investing more than $80 million in the venture. The move shows moving a sportsbook operator into the social media space is a very challenging operation.
BetBull has been in operation in the UK since 2015 but its fortunes took a turn towards the big-time when the company partnered with Wynn back in 2018, right as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was repealed. Wynn was so impressed with the company that it poured in $80 million to make it the centerpiece of the newly formed Wynn Interactive (the company’s online gaming arm).
At the time, then-BetBull CEO Matt Maddux described the company’s appeal saying, “The engagement they had with their customers was quite extraordinary. And therefore, their (key performance indicators) were really, really good. So when you see your friend making a bet, it will pop up on your phone. Do you want to follow your friend? It’s very parlay-heavy,” according to a report on LegalSportsReport.com.
But that was then, and this is now – and customer acquisition is a lot more expensive than it used to be. It’s so expensive that, according to a report on SBC Americas, Wynn’s Vice President and Treasurer Steven Zahn recently told the Nevada Gaming Control Board, “We cut back on media spending. We cut back on performance marketing. And we shifted the business model to more of an affiliate-based customer-acquisition model, given, in our opinion, the irrational cost of acquisitions metrics out there in the industry.”
Wynn Interactive’s step away from the social media space reflects a broader trend among operators, who feel like maybe they’ve bitten off more than they can chew with social products, and have shuttered their social brands.