In the world of daily fantasy sports, American football is in, and British football (aka soccer) is out. DFS giant FanDuel has announced that it will be exiting the UK market to focus its efforts on the US, in time for the next NFL season.
Despite being active in the UK for more than a year, FanDuel customers received an email on July 28 with details of its decision to pull out of the market.
With the English Premier League soccer season set to kick off in August, many expected FanDuel to make a big splash with its DFS games in the UK. However, the email and subsequent public announcements made it clear that this wouldn’t be the case.
“Unfortunately, we will not be offering contests in the UK this season,” reads a message on FanDuel’s UK homepage. “We hope to be back in the future, bringing you more of the games you love.”
Minding the DFS Gap
Beyond declaring its interest in focusing on the US, FanDuel has declined to elaborate, or give any timeline for when it plans to return. But the company will remain active in the US. With the 2017 NFL season set to get underway on September 7, FanDuel will now focus resources toward that sport.
When FanDuel made a play for the UK market in 2016, it did so following a wave of regulatory hurdles in the US, with some states deciding to challenge the legality of DFS betting. At the time uncertain about their future in the US, FanDuel and fellow market leader DraftKings began looking for business opportunities outside of North America.
The UK was a natural target for both FanDuel and their friendly competitor DraftKings. As one of the largest regulated online gaming markets in the world, the expansion potential seemed promising, and both companies were duly licensed by the UK Gambling Commission in summer 2016.
US Acceptance Makes Market More Attractive
As FanDuel and DraftKings were finding their footing in UK footy, they also were resolving legal issues in states such as New York. With DFS now definitively permissible in 14 states, and more looking as though they’ll open up in coming months, FanDuel is renewing its focus on the US, which will likely prove to be the most lucrative DFS market in the world.
Fan Duel’s performance in their first year of UK activity seemed fairly average, with only £1 million ($1.32 million) in prize money paid out to DFS winners.
FanDuel customers in the UK have already received refunds. Meanwhile, DraftKings has given no indication of similar plans, so British DFS players should presume they will remain.