DraftKings UK continues to serve DFS users across the pond
Legal Sports Report

Daily Fantasy Sports Retreat: FanDuel Pulls Out Of UK After One Year

FanDuel exit UK
Daily fantasy sports site FanDuel announced on Friday that it would discontinue service to the UK market, a setback for the expansion of DFS beyond North America.

The move comes shortly after FanDuel and DraftKings decided to nix a planned merger. The move comes just before the start of the English Premier League season.

FanDuel = out of UK

The Twitter account and an email to FanDuel users in the UK announced the news:

The webpage and email about the announcement were short on details, but here’s what we know:

  • The email classified the departure from the market as a hiatus.
  • All users should have received a full refund of any funds they still had on deposit with the site.
  • FanDuel said that “almost £1 million” was won over the past year by players in the UK.

“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.

So why is FanDuel leaving?

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.

Who’s left in the UK for DFS?

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.

Image credit: Trophayy / Shutterstock.com

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Dustin Gouker
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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.