With an estimated 57 million people participating in fantasy sports this year, the leagues and now daily fantasy sports (DFS) have taken sports betting into the stratosphere, and leading the industry in daily’s are DraftKings and FanDuel which enjoy an approximate 90 percent of the market share.
With season opening promotions such as DraftKings “Millionaire Maker – Turn $20 into $2 Million,” and FanDuel’s “Turn $25 Into $1,000,000,” both companies are eyeing a profitable opening week by offering more lucrative prizes, and hopefully attract more customers as DFS popups are appearing fast and furious this season. Joining the list of companies that offer real money betting payouts on daily’s, are major tech and media companies Yahoo, whose fantasy user base is already well-established and is the largest, and CBS.
AP reports that Jason Robins, DraftKings CEO has said, “Having a company like Yahoo or CBS join the industry helps if it makes games more mainstream and introduces new players.” Robins said as long as the three year-old Boston company continues to thrive competition from rival companies isn’t viewed as a threat. While Yahoo has an obvious advantage over DFS newcomers due to its well-established user base and 16 year presence in the fantasy sports arena, according to CBS Sports Digital general manager Jeff Gerttula, their Sportsline brand will not be looking for an all-in completion with DraftKings or FanDuel for now.
Another company being eyed is Canadian online gaming company Amaya Inc., the first licensed gambling enterprise to join the DFS melee. The company acquired U.S. based Victiv and launched the daily betting site last September rebranded StarsDraft. In addition to the StarsDraft, the company also owns the PokerStars and Full Tilt poker websites which provides an advantage to its DFS venue due to its already established online poker customer base.
An exception in the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) made season long fantasy sports available to players from all states except five (Arizona, Washington, Montana, Iowa and Louisiana), while only four states, Nevada, Oregon, Delaware and Montana, have legalized traditional sports betting, according to the American Gaming Association.
While the issue of regulation continues to grow, with Nevada possibly leading the way and Kansas being the only state to pass a DFS law, the two industries seem destined for a collision. Until that time DFS companies such as DraftKings and FanDuel which have legitimate shares, at recent estimates of $1.2 billion and $1 billion respectively, of the estimated $3.6 billion fantasy sports industry, will continue to grow.