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The Twitter account and an email to FanDuel users in the UK announced the news:
Unfortunately, we will not be offering contests this season. We hope to be back in the future. Details: https://t.co/SrjbnizgPA.
— FanDuel (@FanDuelUK) July 28, 2017
The webpage and email about the announcement were short on details, but here’s what we know:
“We will not be operating our UK product this upcoming EPL season to focus on our product in the US,” a company spokesperson told Legal Sports Report. “As we approach the NFL season, we are allocating all of our resources towards ramping up a US product that consumers love and building out complementary fantasy sports products. There are over 53 million people playing fantasy sports in the United States and we are investing all of our resources on that market.”
FanDuel had launched almost exactly a year ago in the UK.
There’s several likely reasons for FanDuel giving up on the UK market, at least for the short term.
First, the amount of money that FanDuel paid out of less than £1 million is a trivial amount of handle for a country of 65 million people. The amount of revenue generated from those entry fees — likely between £100,000 to £150,000 — would also be trivial for the company. (By comparison’s sake, total handle at FanDuel in 2016 is estimated at about $1.5 billion.)
And when you consider the amount paid for a UK gaming license and operating expenses, serving the market right now made little sense. That’s especially so when you consider FanDuel is probably not primed for any sort of major marketing push ahead of the EPL season.
Why is that? First, FanDuel is not likely flush with cash after it agreed with DraftKings to call off a merger rather than fighting the federal government in court in an anti-trust case. It hasn’t raised funds (at least publicly) in some time and its expenses probably still outpace its revenue.
Second, it needs to focus on the core US market ahead of the upcoming daily fantasy football season. FanDuel probably decided that trying to grow one market when trying to shore up another with limited resources was not the best idea.
The departure of FanDuel leaves three major consumer-facing DFS products in the market:
There is also a DFS-style offering from Amaya, via BetStars called Sports Jackpots.
DraftKings has insisted in the past it has been pleased with its foray into the UK market. And its international expansion hasn’t stopped there. The company started serving Germany earlier this year. And CEO Jason Robins recently said DraftKings will likely be in more countries before year’s end.
“We are fully-committed to international expansion,” DraftKings Chief International Officer Jeffrey Haas told LSR. “The players I know here in the UK love our product, and we are consistently working towards attracting more of them through various promotional and educational efforts.
“We have seen strong growth across all KPIs (key performance indicators) in the UK market in the one and a half years since we launched, and expect that to continue through this coming football season – in respect to both European & American football.”
Haas also noted that DraftKings’ upcoming EPL contests for the start of the season should be visible soon.
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