A new era in gambling has emerged, and FanDuel is positioning itself to get in on the action.
What is FanDuel?
If not for FanDuel, DraftKings would monopolize DFS. Heck, if not for FanDuel, DraftKings might not be as much of a giant as it is today.
For years, FanDuel has gone toe-to-toe with its competitor for DFS domination. It is one of the longest-tenured operators in the industry, first launching in 2009, and is considered the second-largest company on the market.
In the past year alone, daily fantasy sports has generated $3.2 billion in entry fees and $335 million in revenue. While the report from the New York State Gaming Commission does not break down earnings by operator, a look in the Pennsylvania market paints a picture of FanDuel’s standing.
In the Keystone State’s first month of daily fantasy sports contests, FanDuel pulled in $673,000 in revenue while DraftKings was second with $632,000.
Much of FanDuel is standard for DFS, though there are some quirks that make it unique. There is Friends Mode, in which players compete in private leagues with friends, family and colleagues. In “Everybody Wins,” every player finishes in the money, while FanDuel Bingo is a digital bingo contest in which players keep tabs on in-game happenings relative to specific sports. The list of unique games goes on for FanDuel.
Sports betting plans
Since before SCOTUS struck down PASPA, FanDuel had made its intentions clear when it comes to sports betting: “We want in.”
“This business is around fan engagement and helping fans feel closer to the things they like, and clearly sports betting is one way to help people to do that,” FanDuel CEO Matt King said in a May interview with Forbes. So it would be very logical for us to get into it. We have some ideas of how to make that experience better and ones that we feel will resonate with our users. We think we’re uniquely positioned to fulfill that market demand.”
In a way, King’s comments were more reaction, as DraftKings had already begun plans to enter sports betting after hiring a “Head of Sportsbook” and opening a new office in Hoboken, New Jersey. Naturally FanDuel would follow its biggest competitor into the new world.
Not long after King’s interview, a week after PASPA was struck down, Dublin-based gaming company Paddy Power Betfair announced it has purchased FanDuel. Immediately, the two companies were confident they would be the sports betting industry leader once it began going live across the country.
“We are excited to add FanDuel to the Group’s portfolio of leading sports brands,” Peter Jackson, CEO of Paddy Power Betfair, said after the acquisition. “This combination creates the industry’s largest online business in the US, with a large sports-focused customer base and an extensive nationwide footprint.”
Jackson’s logic is sound, considering that Paddy Power Betfair at the time believed that FanDuel controls 40 percent of the DFS market in the US with seven million registered users.
“FanDuel and Betfair US share an enthusiasm for innovation and, as a result of today’s announcement, are prepared to lead the charge into the US sports betting market,” King said. “The combination of our brands and team, along with a shared culture and vision for the future, will allow us to create the leading gaming destination for sports fans everywhere.”
“Clearly, one of the reasons we’ve undertaken the transaction is we think that the brand is going to play very well for us in the states which are opening up,” Jackson added. “It also will allow us to acquire customers in the states which will soon open up.”
Timeline and locations for FanDuel sports betting
After his company was acquired by Paddy Power Betfair, King noted that FanDuel is “incredibly well-positioned” to roll out sports betting operations in the most imminent states.
Thanks to PPB’s footprint in the US, FanDuel sports betting could be fairly prevalent – and in fairly short order.
A few days before New Jersey sports betting was legalized on June 11, Betfair US – the American arm of PPB – announced it had “reached long-term agreements for retail and online/mobile sports betting” with Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey and Tioga Downs in New York. Legislation for NY sports betting fell apart, but with New Jersey alive and well, FanDuel made its first step into sports betting.
At Meadowlands,which rolled out its sportsbook July 14, FanDuel will have its name affiliated with the operation in East Rutherford. FanDuel will be displayed as Betfair’s primary brand across the nation, meaning a plethora of FanDuel-branded sportsbooks.
A similar deal was reached at The Greenbrier, a resort in West Virginia, which had emergency sports betting regulations approved by the state lottery on June 21. The plan is to go live with WV sports betting by Sept. 1.
How does FanDuel sportsbook work?
Plans are still being made about what kind of plays will be offered by the FanDuel sportsbook, but the launch at Meadowlands gave us an early look at the most basic forms of betting available at a physical FanDuel-branded book. We can also use the current sportsbook platform at Betfair to speculate the types of bets that will be available, both online and in-house.
There are four common formats in sports betting, and all are offered through Betfair:
- Point spreads: The most common selection for bettors and the easiest to understand. A sportsbook estimates what the margin of victory will be for a specific team, and bettors can lay money down on the underdog, which will “cover the spread” if it wins outright or loses by less than the determined spread, or take the favorite and hope that team wins by more than the estimated margin.
- Money lines: In any given contest, each team will be assigned a three-digit number, either positive or negative, that determines the payouts if that team wins. A positive three-digit number (+200, for example) is what is paid per $100 bet ($200 for every $100 bet). A negative figure (-200) is how much needs to be paid to win $100 ($100 won for every $200 bet).
- Totals: This is the format where the over/under comes into play. Sportsbooks estimate, for example, how many combined points will be scored between two NBA teams in the same game. Bettors than put money down on the over or the under.
- Futures: Typically offered with straight odds or a moneyline, futures traditionally involve betting on a team to win a division, conference and/or league championship.
Betfair does offer in-play betting, though as of now it is unclear if that will be available with FanDuel. In this format, bettors wager during live contests. Popular formats in Las Vegas include parlays, in which bettors wager on multiple contests as part of a single bet, and proposition bets, in which bettors wager on specific events within a given contest rather than the contest as a whole. Like in-play, it is unclear of parlays or proposition bets will be offered.
Stay tuned for more information and updates on FanDuel sports betting.