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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Casinos are investing millions on sports betting content to lure bettors to their online and in-person sportsbooks.

Why it matters: It’s a mini gold rush for some sports media companies that were struggling in the pandemic.

  • Amid the pandemic, audio has become a strong tool to engage consumers.
  • "The difference in audio and video is audio can live with you in a lot of different spaces as a consumer," says J.D. Crowley, the chief digital officer at audio giant Entercom.

Driving the news: Wynn Resorts is the latest casino to invest in sports content, spending $3.5 million to build a dedicated studio at its Las Vegas resort in conjunction with sports podcast company Blue Wire.

How it works: Media companies make money by referring customers to sportsbooks, Axios sports editor Kendall Baker and I write.

  • Wynn Resorts' deal with Blue Wire is meant to help lure potential sports betters to the casino's online betting arm WynnBET. Blue Wire focuses on long-form sports narrative and conversational podcasts.
  • ESPN's sports betting analyst Doug Kezirian relocated to Las Vegas to host "Daily Wager" from ESPN’s new studio at The LINQ Hotel + Experience. Kezirian also hosts ESPN's "Behind the Bets" podcast from the venue.
  • VSIN, a sports betting network that produces audio and video content from its studios inside five U.S. sportsbooks, struck a deal last year to produce content at "the world's largest sportsbook" at Circa in Las Vegas.
  • Entercom launched a six-year audio partnership with FanDuel last year to co-produce audio betting content. The radio giant acquired the QL Gaming Group for $32 million last year, which includes the sports betting app BetQL.
  • Action Network, a subscription sports betting media company, works with several sportsbooks, many of whom sponsor its video and podcast products.

Media companies with their own branded sportsbooks, like Fox Bet and Yahoo Sports, use content integrations to keep fans hooked.

  • Penn National, a casino operator, kicked off this trend by investing $163 million in Barstool Sports last year.
  • Barstool produces hours of daily betting-centric audio and video. In 2020, the company launched its own branded sportsbook which Penn National says will be live in at least 10 states by year's end.

Be smart: "You're seeing a real lane for sport gaming-related content but it's not just transactional content, such as how lines are moving or what sides to take. Rather, it's entertainment content that revolves around personalities," says Crowley.

The bottom line: "It's a land grab for operators to acquire customers as more states go legal," says Action Network CEO Patrick Keane.

Go deeper

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Winter view from Charlotte as winter storm Izzy creates dangerous conditions in Charlotte, N.C. on Jan. 16. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A major winter storm was lashing much of the East Coast on Sunday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The big picture: Heavy snow and ice accumulations were "likely to produce hazardous travel," downed trees and more outages from the Mid-South to the Northeast, per the National Weather Service. Some parts of the U.S. can expect to see up to a foot of snow through Monday.

Updated 7 hours ago - Science

Volcanic eruption in Tonga caused "significant" damage

This satellite image of the eruption on Jan. 15 taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). Photo: NICT via AP

Significant damage has been reported in Tonga following an undersea volcanic eruption on Saturday, which covered the Pacific nation in ash and cut off communication lines.

Driving the news: The eruption triggered tsunami warnings across Tonga's islands and in other regions, including the West Coast of the U.S. and New Zealand, which were later lifted.

7 hours ago - World

North Korea launches 4th suspected missile test this month

A news broadcast in Seoul, South Korea, of an apparent North Korean missile test on Monday morning local time. Photo: Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea's military fired "two suspected short-range ballistic missiles" eastward from Pyongyang on Monday morning local time, per South Korean and Japanese officials.

Why it matters: The fourth such launch since Jan. 5 comes days after North Korea's military warned of "stronger" action if the U.S. moved to have more sanctions imposed on the country.