FanDuel started in the daily fantasy sports industry back in 2009. Fast forward ten years later and FanDuel is the top sports betting operator in New Jersey. The acquisition of FanDuel by Paddy Power Betfair has been a big reason for their current NJ success. FanDuel’s sportsbook revenue has been tops in New Jersey for months and it looks to be a perfect combination of partnerships and experience.
The lack of mobile sports betting in New York, the positioning of The Meadowlands partnership has paid off in spades. Leveraging and marketing to their user base across the Betfair Casino, FanDuel Daily Fantasy and Draft app has enabled the company to acquire users at a low cost. Don’t take it from us, see what FanDuel has to say on their NJ success thus far.
We spoke with Kevin Hennessy, the Director, Publicity at FanDuel to gain his insight on FanDuel’s NJ success.
Q&A With FanDuel’s Kevin Hennessy
Q: What do you attribute your success in NJ to?
A: There are a lot of factors that we look at, but the merger of FanDuel with the US businesses of Paddy Power Betfair was something that we can really point to as the reason for our success. We were able to build a strong company and we brought together tech, customer service, risk and trading, and marketing disciplines that knew how to put together a successful retail and online sportsbook.
Q: Did FanDuel perform cross-branding and promotion on Draft app and Betfair?
Q: Do you believe the Meadowlands partnership provides a leg up on the other Sportsbook/Casino partnerships? If so, why?
A: Our location at the New Meadowlands Racetrack has made a huge difference and its one the reasons we are the top retail operator in New Jersey. We are 10 minutes from New York City and very close to Rockland and Westchester Counties in New York, so we have a huge population to draw upon. We have also put together a fun environment to watch sports with great prices, great food and great customer service that keeps our customers coming back.
Answers courtesy of Kevin Hennessy, Director, Publicity – FanDuel
With great success comes great competition. Three years after FanDuel started in 2009, along came DraftKings. The two would then be competing for daily fantasy sports supremacy up until November 2016. The two companies attempted to merge, but the deal ultimately fell through due to the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC threatened legal action over the merger due to the fact that the deal would create a monopoly in the industry. The deal was terminated the following year and the rivalry was back on.
Jump to May of 2018. The Supreme Court removes the federal ban on sports betting and puts the power in the hands of the states. Now a new rivalry has begun between FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook, this one, for sports betting dominance. DraftKings was the first to break into the mobile sports betting market in August of 2018. FanDuel was right behind them, launching in September. With Pennsylvania sports betting legal and live, mobile apps look to be right around the corner. It looks as if FanDuel will be launching their app prior to DraftKings, so we we’ll see the reverse order of NJ.
At first, it was DraftKings who was on top. Then as we entered 2019, that revenue gap started to shrink. Ultimately FanDuel became top dog in New Jersey come February. A spot that they have held since then and the gap seems to be widening for FanDuel.
FanDuel and DraftKings New Jersey Sportsbook Revenue
Both FanDuel and DraftKings operate their sportsbook through a different New Jersey casino. FanDuel has its sportsbook through the Meadowlands Casino and DraftKings through Resorts AC. Each shares their sports betting license with a second skin. DraftKings shares theirs with BetStars and FanDuel shares with PointsBet. It can be assumed that the majority of each these casinos sportsbook revenue comes from FanDuel and DraftKings, as opposed to the other skins. In fact, it is rumored that account for as much as 95% of their revenue.
Resorts Revenue in millions
September 2018: $8.51
October 2018: $5.09
November 2018: $7.17
December 2018: $6.69
January 2019: $6.89
February 2019: $3.72
March 2019: $7.28
April 2019: $4.8
Meadowlands Revenue in millions
September 2018: $2.85
October 2018: $1.11
November 2018: $4.44
December 2018: $5.53
January 2019: $5.85
February 2019: $6.86
March 2019: $13.32
April 2019: $8.8
– The only other licensee to eclipse $1 million online in April was William Hill and SugarHouse, who operate under the Monmouth Park license. They combined for $1.8 million.
– The Meadowlands $17.59 million in revenue from retail and online operations combined represented close to 55% of the New Jersey sports betting market’s total revenue for March.
FanDuel’s Advantages Over The Competition
It’s clear the Paddy Power Betfair connection has been a competitive advantage. The breadth of company knowledge and experience in overseas markets is paying dividends when marketing to NJ clientele. Leveraging the customer base of FanDuel, Betfair and Draft app has allowed for successful cross promotion benefiting all sites.
One of FanDuel’s biggest advantages is its land-based positioning at the Meadowlands Casino. There isn’t another legal sportsbook within 50 miles. That makes the Meadowlands the obvious choice for any bettors coming from New York City, which has a population of over eight million.
DraftKings physical sportsbook is located in Atlantic City. Resorts Casino has ranked last in total gaming-revenue among all Atlantic City casinos over the first three months of 2019. Adding insult to injury, DraftKings’ physical sportsbook made a revenue of $85,000 in March. That is less than two percent of FanDuel’s brick-and-mortar sportsbook profits.
FanDuel Sportsbook has made some headlines (perhaps any news is good news) that has put their name at the forefront of news outlets. FanDuel on a number of occasions has paid out bets before they have been decided or after they have lost. In September 2018 an error occurred on an in-game line on the Denver Broncos/Oakland Raiders NFL game. The odds were accidentally advertised as 750-1, an obvious mistake at the time. FanDuel ended up honoring all 82 bets that were placed at the time of the error. A more calculated example was when FanDuel paid out all futures bets for the Alabama Crimson Tide to win the national title. They paid out almost $400,000 in wagers. Alabama ultimately lost in the championship game. Calculated risk that may not have worked in their favor on the bet slips, but perhaps paid off in media coverage?
By honoring and paying these bets, that they could’ve arguably not paid, FanDuel gives its customer base a lot of respect. This building trust that will go a long way with bettors. Add in the fact that they paid out early on a bet that ended up losing gives bettors some extra hope. These actions could arguably contribute to their success and attract a large group of loyal customers.
The FanDuel Sportsbook allows anyone to download their app and view their lines, no membership required. DraftKings only allows members to view their lines. This is a big advantage for FanDuel as prospective bettors can view their lines and when they see one they like, entices them to play through their sportsbook.
When DraftKings entered the mobile sports betting market they began with a bonus offer of $200 for new users. FanDuel trumped that and then some by offering a new user bonus of $500 when they launched. An offer that they still run to this day.
When you log onto the FanDuel Sportsbook app you will notice advertisements for Betfair Casino. Players can carry their FanDuel Sportsbook log-in information over to the Betfair app, no need to create a separate account. Betfair Casino has gotten seven percent of FanDuel Sportsbook’s customers to play in their casino.