IAG October 2015 - page 10

TheVenetian lounge featuresa100x10 foot (30.5x3.05meter)video screen capable
of showingoneeventordivisible intoup to42 separateones, plusa separate screen
dedicated toracing.The loungehas118personal betting stationswith computer
screensand takeswagersonallmajorraceand sportingevents.
In Focus
mainstream in theUS, gettingaheadofpolicymakersand thegaming
industry to let sports fans test their skills as team owners using the
actual performance of real professional players. Sports bodies that
shun betting on their contests have nevertheless embraced daily
fantasy sports (DFS).
In fantasy sports, players create their own teams, usually
within a budget, and their athletes are rated based on their
statistics in selected categories. The phenomenon emerged from
less formal arrangements during the mid-1980s in the US with
Rotisserie Baseball, named for the restaurant where a group of
NewYorkmedia typesmet and formalized their versionof season-
long fantasy play. The idea soon expanded to other sports, but
baseball, with its wealth of individual player statistics that are
widely available, anddaily play, is still ahuge component. Leagues
often include an entry fee, with the top teams receiving prizes
at the end of the season. The growth of the internet expanded
fantasy sports, mainly as a form of social gaming on sports news
websites, with an estimated 46.2 million players, according to
Eilers Research Partner Adam Krejcik.
The fantasy game changed as an unintended consequence
of the US Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act, passed in
2006 to prevent offshore processing of US players’ online gambling
transactions. The law, enacted to curb online poker and traditional
sportsbetting, includedprovisions toallow fantasy sports leagues to
continue operating as games of skill with predetermined prizes. By
2009, daily fantasy sportsappeared, with rules similar to the season-
longgames. Some stateshavemoved tobanDFS formoney, but the
constituency that won the fantasy sports exemption in the first place
hasonly expanded thanks toDFS. EstimatesofDFSplayers rangeup
to8.9million; Eilers researchsuggests3.9millionuniquepayingDFS
players at present, or 8%of the total fantasy sports universe.
“We estimate $3.7 billion in entry fees—equivalent to sports
wagering handle—for DFS in calendar year 2015, which compares
to expected Nevada sports betting handle of about $4 billion, of
which Las Vegas accounts for around $2 billion,” says Mr Krejcik,
who spoke to overflow crowds at the Global Gaming Expo in Las
Vegas last month, and at the International Association of Gaming
Advisors conference in Vancouver in June. Revenue is based on a
rakemodel, similar topoker, “so it’s all about liquidity and volume,”
Mr Krejcik explains. Entry fees typically range from $2 to $20. For
golf, fantasy competitions run over the course of a tournament with
points awarded for statistics such as birdies, deductions for bogies,
and an additional award for standing at the endof the tournament.
Leading DFS companies FanDuel and DraftKings currently hold
a combined 95% market share, Eilers estimates. FanDuel, the
overwhelmingmarket leader through last year,has$362.5million in
backing from affiliates ofmedia companiesComcast, TimeWarner
andNBC Sports and venture capital all-stars like KKR. DraftKings
has raised $426 million from the likes of Fox Sports, sports
franchise owner and broadcaster MSG, Major League Baseball
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