FanDuel Did Not Do A Direct Port Of Its DFS Platform To United Kingdom
Legal Sports Report

FanDuel Joins DraftKings In UK As Fantasy Sports Battle Heads Across Pond

FanDuel UK

FanDuel is finally offering daily fantasy sports at home.

The DFS company founded in Scotland announced it was officially launching a product in the UK on Tuesday.

FanDuel has finally joined DraftKings across the Atlantic, after DK launched in February. FanDuel applied for a gambling license in the UK in November.

FanDuel also indicated that the UK launch is the “first step in international expansion plans.”

“This is a proud moment and marks our first step into fantasy football and the UK market – our first international offering,” FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles said via a press release. “Until now, FanDuel’s product has been exclusive to the US and Canada, we’re delighted to be able to offer contests back on our home turf in the UK, where we first started the business and continue to base our engineering operations.”

The basics of the FanDuel UK product and launch

The FanDuel UK platform had already been available in beta testing, but now it is going through a full rollout.

FanDuel is not directly porting its US platform to the UK, which is the tack that DraftKings took when it went live. (It’s also of note that the DraftKings launch was delayed on more than one occasion, while FanDuel’s planned August rollout came to fruition.)

FanDuel is not offering the full range of sports it offers in the US — football, baseball, basketball and hockey — but is only offering soccer in the UK. It does not offer DFS for soccer in the US. The platform is available both on web and mobile (iOS and Android) platforms.

The focus at the start is on the English Premier League, which kicks off August 13. Contests are now live in the FanDuel UK lobby.

Despite not being a direct port, it is still much like the US product in that it features contests that take place over a day or a weekend, and users construct rosters of 11 fantasy soccer players under a salary-cap format.

“Our company has spent the past 12 months creating a product for UK football fans, designed to resonate with them and their love of the game,” Eccles said. “Every feature considers this, from the formation of fantasy teams, to the pricing of players in £s to our unique and detailed scoring system, which realistically reflects the play of all those who are on the pitch.”

Less than a week ago, FanDuel and Opta Sports partnered, with the latter providing data and statistics to power FanDuel’s fantasy soccer offering.

Not the only DFS sites in the UK

Despite the fanfare associated with DraftKings and FanDuel going to new markets, several DFS sites already had gambling licenses in the UK and are in operation there, including:

  • Soccer-only site Mondogoal.
  • PlayON, which signed a deal with the European Tour for golf earlier this year.
  • Soccer-only site Oulala.

The UK market for DFS

There has been a lot of hope that the market outside of the US and Canada — the UK in particular — was primed for a DFS explosion.

However, the early returns for the DraftKings launch have not been overwhelming. Despite adding a giant pool of potential players in the UK, liquidity has not grown in a meaningful way for DraftKings, so far.

Of course, the DraftKings rollout in the UK was not accompanied by a massive marketing push, as the DFS industry has been focused on legal and regulatory battles back in the US. DraftKings did partner with several soccer clubs, including Arsenal of the EPL.

FanDuel’s success in the UK market will likely depend on how willing it is to spend to acquire new customers, and how well it has done in tailoring its product to the UK market. Otherwise, it may also experience a slow start in entering the UK market.

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Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.