Facing slow growth, DraftKings and FanDuel want to get into sports betting
Legal Sports Report

New Official Data: Daily Fantasy Sports Generated $335 Million In Revenue In A Year

DFS money

The daily fantasy sports industry has not grown very much in the last year, generating $3.2 billion in entry fees and about $335 million in revenue in total.

Those numbers come from data obtained by Legal Sports Report from the New York State Gaming Commission, which details DFS performance beyond just New York.

The report shows little change in the money flowing through the DFS industry from the last time LSR obtained a full year’s worth of data from the NYSGC.

DFS handle and revenue

The numbers out of New York come from the state’s 2017-2018 fiscal year reporting; the FY ended in March.

DFS sites that are registered must report their total handle (entry fees) and revenue — for all locations — to the state of New York on a monthly basis. Since nearly every site in existence is registered in New York, this is a pretty good comp for all DFS action everywhere. Almost all of the entry fees and revenue are generated by market leaders DraftKings and FanDuel.

You can see the report here, which does not break down the numbers by operator:

NY DFS data 2017-2018

That shows $3.19 billion in handle and $335.1 million in revenue. In both time frames, New York realized about $4.8 million in tax revenue. New York accounts for just under ten percent off all DFS entry fees, according to the gaming commission data.

How’s that stack up from last time?

The last time LSR obtained comparable data, it included handle and revenue from September of 2016 — the first month of regulated and taxed DFS in New York — and ending in August of 2017. That means there are five months of overlap, and seven months of new data, from September 2017 through March 2018.

The 2016-2017 data showed about $3.2 billion in handle as well. Revenue clocked in at $327.3 million, meaning an increase of just under $8 million, or 2.4 percent from the previous timeframe.

We can compare year-over-year numbers for both, by month. Here’s how it breaks down:

MonthHandle (2016-17)Handle (2017-2018)Revenue (2016-17)Revenue (2017-2018)
September$341,646,436$296,291,246$29,879,754$25,695,913
October$359,535,740$399,578,962$38,080,606$44,972,456
November$419,302,327$390,215,588$44,444,658$45,558,625
December$376,829,057$400,666,511$40,675,521$45,558,625
January$337,485,960$289,988,905$35,223,213$32,829,832
February$182,712,977$199,093,553$19,407,755$21,121,840
March$232,269,984$236,505,700$24,012,438$25,042,045

The data above compares football seasons year over year, the busiest part of the calendar for DFS sites. There’s not much growth to be seen taking the football months (September through December) in sum.

The most interesting thing is probably that two historically slow months — February and March — showed a total revenue increase of more than $2 million and a bump in handle as well.

So that’s why the pivot to sports betting…

The lack of any kind of meaningful growth in the DFS sector is something that few forecast circa 2015, when DraftKings and FanDuel were raising hundreds of millions of dollars.

Absent a path to growth in DFS, both are exploring options elsewhere — namely sports betting. Paddy Power Betfair is acquiring FanDuel in order to use it as a sports betting brand in the US. And DraftKings sports betting is coming to New Jersey and any other state it can get into.

In any event, the above numbers show why getting into sports betting is a prudent — and perhaps necessary — move for the two DFS operators.

Eric Ramsey contributed to this report.

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.