The economic hardships of the Covid-19 pandemic have led states to look for new avenues for revenue generation. This is causing states to push for more in-person and online wagering options for sports fans, observes Nancy Zambell, editor of Financial Freedom Federation.

More importantly though, this year is a phenomenal example of secular trends in wagering and sports media which are seeing media providers increasingly offering betting directly on their platforms. With the industry growing rapidly, these are three of the best sports betting stocks to buy today.

fuboTV Inc. (FUBO) has been incredibly volatile since its IPO in October of last year, trading from 10 to an all-time high just over 62 before being cut in half due to a combination of a decline in growth stocks, growing competition, and an earnings miss.

The share price is currently depressed, and the stock is trading below its 50-day line, but the potential for growth in streaming and further sports wagering legalization warrants keeping an eye on FUBO.

A trend reversal that pushes the shares back over their key moving averages could be an excellent signal that FUBO is turning the corner which would make it a possible target if you’re looking for stocks to buy today.

Draftkings (DKNG), which is broadly seen as the progenitor of daily fantasy sports, has also become a prolific sportsbook operator as the nationwide trend seems to be towards a more permissive attitude about sports wagering.

In fact, New York is currently considering legislation to allow mobile sports betting because New Yorkers can already travel to Pennsylvania and New Jersey to place those wagers.

One significant theme that appears to be at least partially responsible for an increase in legalization (20 states with pending or possible approval in the next few years, in addition to states where it’s already legal) seems to be state budget deficits due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Draftkings, which began trading in April of last year via merger with an SPAC, is up over 250% since the merger and over 35% year-to-date.

Recently the company announced an app integration agreement with DISH Network that would allow Dish customers to wager through Draftkings on their DISH TV Hopper platform as well as other DISH services, which appears to have triggered some bullish order flows.

Per DISH TV Group President Brian Neylon, “We’re thrilled to work with DraftKings to amplify the sports-fan experience, and extend the DraftKings footprint across our unique suite of services, including SLING TV and Boost Mobile, with potential applications across our 5G wireless buildout in the future.”

One potential limiting factor is that the agreement requires DISH Hopper owners to be independently connected to the internet, potentially excluding customers that have Hopper TV due to the lack of reliable high-speed internet in their areas.

The proliferation of 5G could certainly address this, although one wonders how quickly cord-cutting will come for satellite TV viewers once streaming is available to them as well.

Penn National Gaming (PENN), which is up 1,000% since its pandemic lows (and over 130% since its pre-pandemic high), is broadly regarded as a traditional brick-and-mortar casino operator. At least it was, until acquiring 36% of Barstool Sports in January of 2020.

What was overlooked at the time of the deal was the degree of fandom for Barstool Sports as an entity. Unlike a traditional broadcaster or digital media company, where the sporting event is the product, Barstool Sports boasts tens of millions of dedicated fans that are actively engaged with the brand on social media and consume content for content’s sake.

This degree of engagement is expected to boost perception of Penn’s brick-and-mortar locations for Barstool fans, but more importantly, it immediately provides a pool of potential mobile bettors that, per Goldman Sachs, dwarfs that of Draftkings.

Not only did Penn acquire a large pool of highly engaged sports fans, they acquired fans that bet. Per Penn’s Investor Relations, 62% of Barstool fans wager on sports with 44% doing so at least once a week.

Time will tell whether the acquisition adds to the bottom line as quickly as the market hopes (and appears to be pricing in), but Penn and Barstool plan to launch in 10 states (every state where online wagering is currently legal) this year, with possible expansion in the event more states take steps to legalize it. That level of fan engagement makes PENN one of the best stocks to buy today.

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