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Daily fantasy sports crosses the pond

| By iGB Editorial Team | Reading Time: 3 minutes
Norayr Yesayan of Fantasy Sports Solutions says Europe provides a huge but largely untapped market for the daily fantasy games that have taken the US by storm.

Norayr Yesayan of Fantasy Sports Solutions says Europe provides a huge but largely untapped market for the daily fantasy games that have already taken the US by storm.

Daily fantasy sports – already extremely popular in North America – has crossed the pond and begun its invasion of Europe.

In 2012, daily fantasy sports had barely 300,000 active users; three years later, the DFS community had grown into a nine million-strong fan base spending more than $3 billion in player entry fees in 2015. The prediction: it can only get better when DFS crosses the Atlantic.

The European fantasy sports market is too huge to leave untapped. Major DFS operators are already turning their attention to the European market by passing legal and legislative processes and appealing to the most popular kinds of sports in Europe.

Although the legal status of fantasy sports varies in different European countries, it is evident the situation will slowly but undoubtedly improve for DFS.

UK the obvious first step
Let’s take a look at the current situation in the UK. In spite of the fact that fantasy sports in the UK is in the same category as betting and requires a licence from the Gambling Commission, the British market remains very attractive.

Why? Because 5% of the population already participates in fantasy sports, predominantly on the official Premier League website on a season-long basis. 

It is therefore unsurprising that DraftKings started its European expansion in the UK. It began by providing the opportunity for UK fantasy players to play the same fantasy games as US- and Canada-based users, with a wider range of daily games and more prizes.

Soon more European sports fans will become aware of the unique concept of daily fantasy and the advantages it presents compared to the season-long fantasy that UK players are accustomed to.

Compared to season-long fantasy sports, daily fantasy has a more appealing concept: the player joins a DFS contest where he can pick his fantasy squad and win prizes on the same day.

No longer does he need to participate in a season-long tournament during which time he must follow all the season’s games, analyse the current state of affairs and make changes to his team, if necessary. In a nutshell, season-long fantasy requires a lot more time, patience and involvement on the part of players to get the prizes.

On the other hand, daily fantasy provides instant gratification and is similar to betting: a player makes a quick bet while picking his team and sees the results right after the game finishes.

With the great popularity enjoyed by soccer, tennis and racing, among other sports, the expansion of fantasy sports via daily fantasy will quickly take over the UK and other European countries with a solid sports fan base – Germany, Italy, France, Spain, etc. – and fantasy sports operators will be encouraged by the boost in  revenues.

Opportunities for established operators
Which operators can enter this new market niche? Daily fantasy sports appeals to a solid fan base, those who continuously follow sports events and results, and who know all the ins and outs of the world of sports.

DFS can give them a new opportunity to compete with each other in an alternative betting concept, allowing them to play within the community, as well as head-to-head by using their knowledge of sports reality and skills in statistics.

For this reason, adding a DFS business is a good way for betting operators with an established user base to introduce a new service.

Online gaming platforms, casinos and gambling portals can quickly add a new attraction, and by capitalising on their user base, save time (and money, why not?) on promoting the new game to Europeans. That is a good start to expanding to a wider audience and gaining a bigger piece of the fantasy sports pie.

European sports fans will soon become aware of the DFS concept and it opens up a huge number of options for gamification, introducing opportunities for applying not only common DFS skills, but also to use new betting options.

Combining fantasy sports with traditional betting in a new mixed concept could give betting operators a strong advantage compared with standalone DFS systems. Offer bettors something they are familiar with and they will seamlessly become an integral part of the fantasy sports community.

They are fond of wagering, so offering them the opportunity to bet on a fantasy team or single players can be a good choice.

DFS, as a new promising new business niche, has already arrived in the European market. Online platforms and new start-ups which react in time and properly assess market demands and expectations have a good-to-great chance to increase their revenue based on the successful experience of US fantasy sports operators.   

Norayr Yesayan is marketing manager and chief business development officer at solutionsforfantasysport.com. He has been involved in the fantasy sports industry for three years.

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