Sports bar chain set to make sports betting move

10 August 2018

US sports bar and restaurant chain Buffalo Wild Wings has confirmed to iGamingBusiness.com it is looking to offer sports betting.

The chain – also known as B-Dubs – has not offered a timeline on the proposed change, which could shake up the sports betting sector in the US by providing significant cut-through to the public.

“As the largest sports bar in America, we believe Buffalo Wild Wings is uniquely positioned to leverage sports gaming to enhance the restaurant experience for our guests,” a company spokesperson told iGamingBusiness.com.

“We are actively exploring opportunities, including potential partners, as we evaluate the next steps for our brand.”

The chain did not elaborate to iGamingBusiness.com whether those partners would be casinos or other sports betting providers, such as daily fantasy sports operators.

With a presence in every US state and more than 44,000 employees, the introduction of sports betting would establish B-Dubs a significant presence, cutting across the country – pending legislative approval in various states, of course.

It is anticipated that at least 15 US states will have passed laws to regulate sports betting by the end of next year, with at least 32 states estimated to have approved legislation within five years.

B-Dubs, which has suffered a slowdown in sales in recent years, was recently acquired by Roark Capital Group for $2.9bn. Following the takeover, CEO Paul Brown told Business Insider that B-Dubs’ competition had “been a little bit more innovative”.

The chain has a track record of pushing promotions around major sports events, such as the ‘March Madness’ college basketball extravaganza and the NFL Draft.

However, B-Dubs’ move into allowing gambling would raise numerous questions, not least whether B-Dubs would be able to introduce sports betting at all of its locations, or only those it operates directly.

Around half of the chain’s 1,238 outlets are directly owned, with the remainder being franchised.