A FanDuel representative confirmed the decision via email to Legal Sports Report:
“Considering a variety of factors related to the operation of daily fantasy sports in Texas, we have re-entered the market, while the issue is being resolved by the state.”
Move evens up the competitive map
FanDuel’s decision effectively evens the competitive map for daily fantasy sports in the US market.
While FanDuel exited Texas in May of 2016 following questions concerning the legality of DFS in the state, DraftKings launched a legal challenge and remained in the market.
That case was recently closed without prejudice, with no finding of legality on the status of DFS operators. Legal Sports Report also contacted the AG’s office, which indicated that nothing had changed on its end regarding the legality of DFS in the state.
That left DraftKings with a significant advantage, as Texas represents nearly nine percent of the total US DFS market by population, and more in terms of participation, according to research from Eilers & Krejcik Gaming.
Did sports betting pressure play a role?
With both DraftKings and FanDuel pivoting toward sports betting in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to gut PASPA, it’s easy to view FanDuel’s decision as a long-term play to secure share in what would be a significant market for legal sports betting in Texas.
Texas would be the second-largest legal sports betting market in the U.S., according to Eilers & Krejcik Gaming forecasts.
There is little expectation that sports betting will come quickly to Texas, as the state has historically resisted nearly all attempts to introduce regulated gambling. But the rapid expansion of sports betting across other states does suggest that sports betting may not play by the same set of political rules as other forms of gambling.
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