The pathway to legalised gambling in the US opened up this month when the Supreme Court ruled that individual states could make their own decisions.
It has quickly resulted in a major deal for Paddy Power Betfair who have this week bought FanDuel one of the major Fantasy Sports sites that has carved out a major footprint across a sector of the sports market that it is imagined will be open to the idea of more traditional sports betting.
Fan Duel almost merged with the other major player Draft Kings last year but that was blocked on competition grounds. That prompted co-founder Nigel Eccles, a native of Northern Ireland and who once worked for the Dermot Desmond owned Betdaq in Dublin, to exit the company and also gave rise to this opportunity for Paddy power Betfair, themselves the output of a mega-merger in a fast consolidating industry.
The deal is structured so that Paddy Power Betfair will merge its existing modest US Business and own 61 percent of the new entity. It will also invest $158 million to run the company and to pay down the existing ¢76 million debt racked up in building Fan Duels presence through significant investment in US Sports partnerships, sponsorship and marketing.
The Fantasy Sports Market has long thrived in the US, more so than in Europe where Fantasy Games have tended to be season long as opposed to on a daily or game basis and more for bragging rights than financial gain.
“This combination creates the industry’s largest online business in the US, with a large sports-focused customer base and an extensive nationwide footprint, said Peter Jackson, CEO of Paddy Power Betfair which remains based at its Head Office overlooking UCD and Leinster Rugby in Clonskeagh.
Growth in the US, which would be worth Billions, is seen as essential given tightening regulation and sentiment in Europe. New restrictions were introduced on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals in British betting shops recently while the GAA here imposed a blanket ban on promotion of betting at all levels within the sport at Congress earlier this year.