A since-deleted tweet by DraftKings co-founder Matt Kalish took aim at rival FanDuel Sportsbook in an eye-opening manner less than 48 hours before the launch of MA sports betting.
Matt Kalish, a DraftKings co-founder and its current North American president, tweeted Wednesday night about longtime competitor and one-time merger partner FanDuel:
A DraftKings representative declined comment on the matter just a day before online Massachusetts sportsbooks go live. FanDuel and Kalish himself did not respond to requests for comment by publication.
DraftKings, FanDuel have long history
The two leading US sports betting operators have been direct rivals since they flooded ESPN and sports broadcasts with their daily fantasy sports ads starting nearly 10 years ago.
They shifted from rivals to partners quickly to fight the DFS-is-not-betting battle, which they successfully won in most US jurisdictions. And the two continue to work together as members of the Sports Betting Alliance to lead the charge for legal sports betting throughout the country.
The two also considered merging back in 2017, though the Federal Trade Commission had antitrust concerns and would have tried to stop the merger had both companies not called it off shortly after.
Both companies likely are pleased it never happened, of course. Just 10 months later, the federal sports betting ban was no more, which let both turn DFS databases into real-money sports bettors.
FanDuel has market edge
While Kalish called FanDuel trash through his emoji, the Flutter-owned company is the most popular choice among US sports bettors to date.
FanDuel is the top sports betting operator in the US, with Flutter announcing 50% US sports betting market share in its fourth-quarter earnings.
FanDuel also hit profitability in the second quarter of 2022 and expects to be profitable for the full year of 2023, based on customer strength alone. DraftKings cut 3.5% of its workforce in February and is guiding to an adjusted EBITDA loss between $350 million and $450 million for 2023.
MA sports betting the latest battleground
DraftKings hopes to lead Massachusetts in sports betting market share, given the company’s roots as a Boston-based operation. The two will both launch at 10 am Friday along with four other operators, but the race could be between these two for the top spot.
When it comes to new state launches, though, FanDuel appears to have the edge recently. FanDuel led Ohio with 45.3% of online handle share in January with DraftKings taking 31.5% of handle share.
Maryland‘s online launch had similar results for its first full month. FanDuel accounted for 49.4% of all online handle in December compared to DraftKings’ 33.0%.