Media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s sports betting misery continued as Flutter Entertainment and Fox Corporation have announced the closure of United States sports betting platform FOX Bet.

The FOX Bet operations will undergo a phased closure, starting at the end of July and will shut it’s proverbial doors for good on 31 August 2023. Flutter Entertainment operated FOX Bet as part of The Stars Group along with the US side of PokerStars.

After the shuttering of FOX, Flutter will retain ownership of PokerStars in addition to FanDuel, the success story thus far for US sports betting with market leading positions in several states, including New York online sports betting. Flutter revealed that FOX contributed less than 3% to its revenue of $3.3 billion for FY22.

FOX Corporation will retain use of the FOX and FOX Bet brands, including social gaming products FOX Bet Super 6, and fully intends to launch a FOX Super6 game when the NFL resumes in early September.

In addition, FOX will continue to hold its option to acquire 18.6% of FanDuel in addition to 2.5% of Flutter Entertainment overall.

Where did FOX Bet come from?

FOX Bet was initially the child of The Stars Group and Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Corporation when the two combined to launch a new sports betting service following the repeal of PASPA.

In May 2019, an agreement was struck and the company’s first entry came just months later- going live in New Jersey in 2019 and replacing Stars Group’s previous BetStars brand.

Fox Sports, a subsidiary of FOX agreed to purchase 4.99% of The Stars Group for $236 million in May ‘19. Despite expansion into other igaming states (Colorado, Michigan and Pennsylvania), Flutter’s FanDuel far outperformed that of FOX.

The arbitration

On 7 April 2021, FOX initiated an arbitration process surrounding the company’s option to acquire an 18.6% stake in FanDuel. FOX argued that should the company wish to exercise the purchase it would be based off a higher valuation.

FOX argued the purchase price should have been off December 2020 valuation of $11.8 billion where the 18.6% share was worth $2.09 billion. Instead, the arbitrator ruled FOX could acquire the shares at the market fair value of $22.0 billion.

In recent years, Rupert Murdoch’s News UK joint venture with Tabcorp saw the entrepreneur take another large hit from the world of gambling. Sun Bets launched in 2016 as a joint-venture between the two and recorded a loss of £26 million in FY2017.

Tabcorp paid News Corporation AU$71 million to shut down the venture following the results.