Phil Galfond’s Run It Once poker site sold at Rush Street Interactive in Chicago

Phil Galfond and its online poker site Run It Once have been acquired by Rush Street Interactive, an online casino and sportsbook that operates in 13 states such as BetRivers and PlaySugarHouse.

Phil Galfond

Phil Galfond is now part of the Rush Street Interactive family. (Image: farah_galfond / Instagram)

The deal is for poker software and Run It Once staff, including Galfond.

It offers the Chicago-based company a highly regarded online poker suite owned by the people who run it.

RSI offers Run It Once a partner with a strong presence in the US market and an aggressive marketing strategy, which will be valuable when the site tries to go against PokerStars, WSOP and PartyPoker.

Run it again

Galfond, 37, temporarily shut down its fledgling online poker site in January, telling its users that the site “has now advanced a path to enter the legal and regulated U.S. market.”

It didn’t take long for the talented high-stakes poker professional, a three-time WSOP bracelet winner, poker instructor and self-proclaimed “recreational entrepreneur,” to find a company to help him get there.

The amount of the deal was not disclosed.

Run It Once, with its beginnings as a poker training site, was launched in early 2019 for real money players outside the United States, but struggled to establish itself in a global online poker market. dominated by PokerStars and GGPoker.

Galfond made the announcement via a Twitter thread, which revealed that Run It Once has been on sale for 18 months.

Don’t expect the site to be available in any of the states that license and regulate online poker anytime soon.

The process of obtaining a poker license in states that currently have online poker rooms operating within its borders (Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, and Michigan) is complicated and expensive.

But RSI, a derivation of Rush Street Gaming casino owner and contractor, has been navigating this process since 2016, when PlaySugarHouse went live in New Jersey.

Entering hurriedly

Still, RSI has not ended in black for the past two years, despite earning $ 488 million in revenue in 2021, up 75% from the previous year.

These figures come from the fourth quarter and full year 2021 RSI report released yesterday, the same day Galfond announced the sale.

Other facts in the report:

  • The net loss was $ 71.1 million for the full year 2021, compared to a net loss of $ 131.6 million for the full year 2020.
  • Adjusted EBITDA was a loss of $ 65.1 million in 2021, compared to $ 4.4 million in 2020.
  • Adjusted advertising and promotion expenses1 were $ 186.9 million for the full year 2021, compared to $ 56.5 million for the full year 2020.

The report caused RSI shares to fall 20% to $ 8.03 today.

The Run It Once sale was mentioned in the report under the heading “Technology Updates.”

RSI had a busy fourth quarter in 2021, launching online sports books in Connecticut, Arizona, Louisiana and New York. It operates in 13 states and is expanding to Mexico and Ontario, Canada.

“We continue our disciplined approach to balancing the profitability of existing markets and investing in new market launches,” Richard Schwartz, CEO of RSI, said in the report.

Online betting is undergoing a historic expansion in the United States. Since the beginning of 2021, a dozen more states have allowed online sports books, bringing the number to 30.

Online casino betting is available in six states, with bills that could lead to legalization in a handful of others, including New York, which was launched with sports betting in January.

Online poker bills have been filed in several states, including Kentucky, Illinois and New York, but there has been little movement.

Both Connecticut and West Virginia allow online poker rooms, but the states are too small for operators to be worthwhile.

This is the fragmented market that Galfond has just entered.

Written by

Bob Pajich

Bob Pajich is a poker news reporter, creative writer, and poker player who never knew the right plugins he didn’t like.

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