FanDuel turns Fantasy Sports into Betting Boom Worth $1.9 Billion.
The Group has transformed a remarkable fantasy fan base into a profitable customer base for its US sports betting activity.
39-year old Greg Bunnell has been a fantasy football enthusiast since his teenage years. So when sports betting became legal in Indiana a couple of years ago, the project manager transitioned from planning weekly player transfers to lining up wager his favorite teams. It was a flawless transition that happened without him even having to leave the FanDuel app.
Bunnell has revealed that he plans to bet up to $100 on football every weekend, making him one of the 45 million Americans set to place legal wagers on professional football this season. Those record numbers represent a 36% rise from last year’s, with 30 states expected to allow sports betting when the Super Bowl rolls around in February following the US Supreme Court ruling, which struck down the federal ban on sports betting three years ago.
According to estimates revealed by research group Eilers & Krejcik Gaming LLC., FanDuel’s market share of US sports wagers rose from 35% to 42% between April and June, setting them apart as frontrunners in the new market. DraftKings Inc., with its 23% market share, is the closest challenger to FanDuel’s top position. Both companies were almost inseparable on the daily fantasy sports rankings before Irish bookies Flutter Entertainment Plc. purchased FanDuel about a week after the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Flutter, whose name is a popular British expression for a bet, launched after the merger between Betfair and Paddy Power, two of the biggest betting brands in the UK. The group operates 600 betting shops across the UK and Ireland and provides online betting services in many countries.
“We have momentum on our side,” Flutter CEO Peter Jackson says. “That, and a massive amount of revenue. Quite a number of brands remain in startup mode.” The 45-year old Cambridge-educated engineer had been Chief Executive Officer for a few months when he jumped on FanDuel, sighting a unique opportunity to join in on the fast-growing American market. Jackson acquired a majority stake worth $158 million in cash alongside the contribution of Flutter’s assets in the US, including horse betting business TVG.
Five friends with almost inexistent knowledge of American football founded FanDuel in 2009. In the years that followed, the group went on to pioneer the daily fantasy sports business, where participants select actual players to form a dream lineup and then compete with other participants for a prize that’s awarded based on how well their team performs in a single game or over a week.
FanDuel’s massive fantasy sports database proved to be a gold mine when the company started to offer traditional sports betting services that included predicting a winner for regular NFL games. An estimated 40% of the company’s sports betting customers are from its 13-million-strong daily fantasy database.
In July 2018, not long after it acquired FanDuel, Flutter tapped into its horse racing influence to launch a FanDuel sportsbook at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey. Setting up that location took advantage of the heavy population in that part of the state, giving the company a massive advantage as New Jersey blazed into an early lead as pioneers of the new sports betting era.
Flutter’s experience in the more mature European and Australian sports betting market also gave it an edge after its US launch. FanDuel introduced unique offerings, including same-game parlays, which allowed customers to wager on multiple events in the same game, such as the Buccs winning the game and veteran quarterback Tom Brady scoring the first touchdown. Flutter had previously offered the product in Australia, where it proved an instant hit. It was a similar case in the American market, with over half of FanDuel’s customers using the product at least once last football season.
According to James Kilsby, vice president at Vixio GamblingCompliance, same-game parlays are tougher for customers to win. This helps FanDuel out-earn rivals by keeping a more significant portion of player wagers. “Players are basically gambling on two contingencies, and this has helped the company to expand its market share,” Kilsby says. Customers are drawn to these bets because they come with a bigger potential payoff, and rival betting brands are now getting over a slow start with unique expanded parlays of their own.
Bloomberg-compiled analysts’ estimates predict that Flutter’s U.S revenue will increase by over 200% to $1.9 billion this year. CEO Peter Jackson has explained that as the company’s revenue increases, so does its budget for marketing and advertising. Jackson expects the company’s U.S business to be profitable in the next couple of years.
FanDuel will be a regular on TV this season after hiring the famous Wieden+Kennedy ad agency, the creators of Nike Inc.’s ‘Just Do It’ ad campaign. The company has already rolled out a string of commercials featuring American golfer and former world number one, Jordan Spieth. FanDuel’s marketing expense in the first two quarters of the year was $300 million, more than the total amount spent in 2020.
However, FanDuel’s best-in-class success hasn’t come without challenges. Some of the brand’s founders and employees had filed a lawsuit against FanDuel and its early investors, claiming to have been cheated when those early financial backers sold the company to Flutter. FanDuel responded by claiming that the suit had no merit. Flutter is also in arbitration with Fox Corp. over a fair valuation for FanDuel. The latter acquired an option to purchase shares worth 18.6% in the company under Flutter’s acquisition of Stars Group, Fox’s sports betting partner.
None of that seems to have stopped Jackson from stoking the fires of rivalry with the occasional trash-talk. “We’re operating at an entirely different level to all other betting brands in the US,” he says of FanDuel’s competitors.
You can now use FanDuel, DraftKings, and many other legal betting apps in US states where sports betting is legal and regulated by the local state. So check out our betting hub to find the best sportsbooks in your state. While at it, don’t forget to claim a welcome bonus and free bets to get you started.
Sugarhouse is owned by Rush Interactive, which is one of the most prominent providers of online sportsbook and casinos in the country. In 2016, SugarHouse launched it online casino in New Jersey, joined by its online sportsbook in 2018. Since then, it became a leading casino and sportsbook for Americans. Check out their fantastic bonuses, games and bets available, and see yourself why when it comes to casino and sports betting in the USA, Sugarhouse is a Powerhouse
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