Casino Sportsbooks Are Already Falling Behind Upstarts Like DraftKings, FanDuel

Posted By Marc Meltzer on October 22, 2018

The repeal of PASPA is changing sports betting forever. Nevada no longer has a monopoly on single-game sports betting. Not only are more states offering sports wagering, but there are new sportsbook operators in the United States.

These new operators in the US have a different way of doing business behind the counter and in front of the counter. For better or worse, new sportsbook operators are offering different kinds of odds for bettors.

There have been hiccups like FanDuel Sportsbook glitch in New Jersey and the high vig at DraftKings sportsbook when it opened. While experienced sports bettors are up in arms, the new sports bettors in New Jersey are lining up to fire away at both sportsbooks.

Sportsbooks on social media

At the same time, the competition in new states is strong. The new sportsbook operators like FanDuel, DraftKings, and SugarHouse are regularly offering odds promotions. In fact, FanDuel offers a Daily Odds boost on certain bets.

These regular promotions are a new tactic in the United States. Casino sportsbook operators in the United States rarely offer odds promotions. In Nevada, you’ll have to keep up on personal Twitter accounts of sportsbook workers to see the occasional deals. Sometimes they’ll share the information with the media but that’s not very often.

This DraftKings Sportsbook tweet is just a heads up on what they’re offering bettors. There’s nothing fancy — just a reminder that customers won’t be able to wager on the playoffs for much longer.

The new sportsbook operators aren’t just using Twitter to promote themselves. Bettors will receive odds promotions straight to their mobile device if notifications are turned on. FanDuel sends out special wagering opportunities before a variety of big games.

FanDuel

Between mobile and social media marketing, the new companies are reaching customers where they are at all times. They’re not waiting for bettors to find them. This active approach is helping the companies out of the box.

New Jersey sports betting revenue

September sports betting revenue in New Jersey was big. You can already see a difference between traditional casino sportsbook operators and the operators with a focus on mobile wagering.

Legacy Casino Sportsbook Operators

Bally’s (Caesars Entertainment)
Retail – $394,046
Digital – $106,463

Borgata (MGM Resorts)
Retail – $2,394,106
Digital – $120,938

Harrah’s (Caesars Entertainment)
Retail – $310,766
Digital – NA

New Sportsbook Operators

SugarHouse (Golden Nugget)
Retail – $619,030
Digital – $499,414

FanDuel (Meadowlands)
Retail – $4,377,474
Digital – $2,852,548

Resorts (DraftKings and BetStars)
Retail – $279,492
Digital – $8,505,940

Hybrid Operator

Ocean Resort (William Hill)
Retail – $999,858
Digital – $292,081

Monmouth Park (William Hill)
Retail – $2,138,097
Digital – $70,785

This isn’t about winners and losers but there’s a noticeable trend that sportsbook operators who actively promote their sportsbook product online and via mobile are seeing plenty of business. As expected, FanDuel and DraftKings combine for the vast majority of mobile wagers in New Jersey. Their mobile apps are great and combine for 87% of digital revenue in the state.

MGM Resorts’ Borgata is the shining star of the traditional casino sportsbook operators. Caesars Entertainment’s properties are lagging behind the competition.

Marketing to a new customer

The new sportsbook operators use twitter the same way their customers do. Sometimes they’re sassy, other times they just share a video clip of the game that’s on, and maybe they’re just sharing silly (sometimes obnoxious) gifs about the games.

Most importantly, the new sportsbooks are in touch with current events in sports. FanDuel Sportsbook will frequently retweet a news article with betting odds at their sportsbook. This isn’t rocket science. They’re just being relevant and marketing to their customers.

Meanwhile, the main social media accounts for casinos have a bit more broadly focused. Casinos have restaurants, traditional gaming, shows, and more to market than just sports betting.

A few casino sportsbooks have their own social media accounts but aren’t very active. You’ll typically find more information about the sportsbook by following the people who work at the properties.

What’s the right strategy for sportsbooks?

We’re still in the beginning stages of expanded sports betting so there’s no right or wrong here. There are just different approaches. However, it does seem that aggressive marketing and promotions by the new sportsbooks in New Jersey is attracting attention and business from the new sports bettors.

If the new sportsbook operators are onto something, the casino sportsbook operators better move quick or they’ll be left in the dust. Legacy brands mean less to younger customers than older customers because they’ve had less time to form a bond.

Fans and customers can be captured quickly online. Once a customer finds a sportsbook brand that they like they may never leave. If casinos want their sportsbook operations to reach their full potential they may have to change social and marketing tactics.

This is a new day for sportsbooks and sports bettors. The legacy companies better act fast or they could lose the market they once had to themselves.

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Marc Meltzer

Marc Meltzer grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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