Paddy Power Betfair has made huge splash in the sports betting world by announcing that its stateside branch, Betfair US, will be combined with FanDuel. The UK-based sportsbook and online betting giant paid $158 million in exchange for a majority 61 percent stake in the American online daily fantasy sports provider.
While the US is very likely to see moves like this one become a common theme, the Paddy Power Betfair deal with FanDuel will be remembered and looked back on as the first big move by a sportsbook to advance in the US sports betting market.
Share prices for Paddy Power Betfair skyrocketed last week when the company announced its intent to acquire FanDuel. The move is expected to help the bookie stay competitive with William Hill in the US.
There is something of a mad dash to be first to offer sports betting amongst states, and thus there is a coinciding push by online bookmakers to jump into the market while the iron is hot. Sportsbooks like William Hill, however, already have built up a strong US presence in Las Vegas, and already partnered with Monmouth Park racetrack to open the first sportsbook outside of Nevada.
While the opening of that New Jersey sportsbook is currently being delayed, it make sense that a competitor in PPB is moving towards catching up in the race to offer betting not only in casinos but online.
Paddy Power Betfair CEO Peter Jackson CEO said he was excited to add the group into the fold and believes it will help grow the brand overseas.
“We are excited to add FanDuel to the Group’s portfolio of leading sports brands. This combination creates the industry’s largest online business in the U.S., with a large sports-focused customer base and an extensive nationwide footprint. The Group has leading sports betting operating capabilities globally and strong operations on the ground in the U.S. Together with our substantial financial firepower, we believe we are now exceptionally well placed to target the prospective U.S. sport betting opportunity.”
FanDuel Chief Executive Matt King believes the merging will bring the company into the new age of sports betting that’s about to take hold in the United States.
“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 U.S. sports betting market,” said FanDuel CEO Matt King. “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.”
This isn't Paddy Power Betfair's first foray into daily fantasy as the bookmaker purchases Draft! last year in a widely publicized deal. The FanDuel brand is especially well-known in the US, however, due its controversial introduction of the closest thing many US consumers have had to sports bettting domestically.
For most people who log onto FanDuel and are familiar with online sportsbooks, it might be hard at times to tell the difference between the two. While FanDuel has done its best to distance itself from traditional sports betting due to the now outdated federal restrictions of the US, now it’s all fair game.
Daily fantasy has existed in some US states under the pretense that it treats users to a game of skill rather than betting on the straight outcome of a game. Players deposit money and pay “entry fees” to join contests in which they select a roster of athletes taking part in their daily sports that adheres to a preset salary cap.
The best of these rosters win money, so picking which players to fill your lineup with is considered skillfull, though in many ways its subject to the same chance that betting on the outcome of a game entails.
With sports betting now open to becoming an option for online gamers, FanDuel can contribute its knowledge of American sports enthusiasts and their willingness to risk money for more money to help ease the experienced UK sports book into the ebb and flow of the new market.
There are already a great many advertisements and even television shows breaking down daily fantasy gambling in the US. With that market likely to be surpassed by the new multi-billion-dollar legal sports betting market, US gambling advertising will likely reach new heights as it could have monster implications on television and online entertainment in the coming years.
The actual legalization of sports betting, however, should allow the company to cut to the chase and allow daily fantasy providers to now provide expertise on a target audience for the overseas bookies like PPB. FanDuel no longer has to hide from daily fantasy's likeness to gambling now that gambling is not illegal. Likewise daily fantasy experts and pundits should easily able to cross over into the sports betting world.