Is it time for bookmakers to embrace fantasy?

Bookmakers are constantly on the lookout for new additions and features to both retain punters and attract new ones. BookmakersTraditionalThis is ever trickier in an increasingly flooded marketplace.

It’s one which shows no signs of clearing out too with numerous sportsbooks popping up this year from casino operators opening their own sportsbooks to the recent launch of Sun Bets.

Real money daily fantasy sports meanwhile is another contender for some of these customers. Whilst the UK hasn’t quite embraced DraftKings in the way that the US did, there are numerous reasons for this not least that there has been relatively little marketing campaigns around it to date.

In ten months in 2015 FanDuel and DraftKings spent a combined $206m on television ads alone in the States, with the former the bigger chunk of the pie at $131m for 40,283 national airings.

Some argued that via this oversaturation they caused their own problems in the US as DFS was put directly under the spotlight. As such it became something regulators could no longer ignore and more research went into it in general. With FanDuel having entered the mix in the UK it’s likely that a marketing war will begin between the two major firms. You can however expect them to play it smarter and more diligent this time around.

Outside of these, Oulala and Mondogoal have slowly but surely built up impressive followings by utilising alternative methods in the form of partnerships with media companies and football clubs. 

Valery Bollier, Oulala
Valery Bollier, Oulala

Oulala CEO Valery Bollier said: “FanDuel’s arrival is, of course, great news for the DFS sector in Europe, just as Draftkings’ arrival was. Both companies possess a huge marketing budget, and there is no doubt that they will rapidly increase the level of awareness on our sector. Healthy competition is always beneficial for a sector.”

The next step, and the one which could prove the most vital for DFS’ long term success in Europe, is partnering with bookmakers. This is something Mondogoal has done in Italy already with both SISAL and Lottomatica having a tailored white label version live on their sites. The company is also in talks to enter the UK market via an agreement with ‘a well known bookmaker’.

Oulala meanwhile has announced plans to enter the Asian and Australian markets via Cardinal House Group and Italy through a partnership with Game Interaction Group.

Mondogoal CEO Shergul Arshad said this ahead of the new season: “This season is critical. With FanDuel entering the market and DraftKings plus Yahoo…some big boys will be in the UK. Over in Italy, our product, Mondogoal.it and our partner sites with Sisal and Lottomatica are leading the way. 

“The major sports betting sites should all jump in the fray and soon, via partnership, to ensure no customer loss or cannibalization.”

Shergul Arshad, Mondogoal
Shergul Arshad, Mondogoal

So what’s in it for the bookies? It’s a new way to compete and it’s a new way to keep players on site. Selecting a team in DFS naturally tends to take longer than it does to put an accy or any other bet on, with the the level of research required for what is far more of a skill game.

Eilers Research conducted a survey in July 2015 and whilst this was in the US, and so extensive comparisons cannot be drawn with the UK market, there are some interesting takeaways for bookmakers and for the future of the industry in Europe.

It was found that 32% of respondents spent between 10 to 20 hours per week researching their fantasy line-ups, and that whilst 42% spent less than $100 per week, close to 10% stated that they spend upwards of $2000 weekly on entry fees. In the same survey respondents overwhelmingly stated that even if sports betting were legal and readily available they would still play DFS. DFS-BOS-PR#1

Legal Sports Report assessed the analysis last year and focused on the takeaway that marketing towards poker players seems to be a good idea due to the correlation between the two.

Via fantasy products bookmakers will be able to keep players active longer and keep them returning to check on the status of their team. Therein they’ve gained the opportunity to maximise profit from these players.

DFS operators meanwhile gain the obvious bonus of opening themselves to huge numbers of players that have already signed up and handed over their account information. In short it’s win win, and many typical sports betting punters are likely to enjoy the opportunity to win money in what is regarded as involving more skill than placing a ‘Both teams to score and X to win’ wager on a Saturday afternoon.

Mondogoal’s Shergul Arshad and Oulala’s Valery Bollier will be on a panel discussing how DFS operators and bookmakers can work together at the Betting on Sports conference (September 15-16) in London.

Both will be available to answer any questions and for any enquiries post-panel. Tickets for BOS 2016 (#bettingonsports) are available now.

BOS

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