FanDuel Withdrawing From The UK After A Year Of Operation

Daily fantasy sports (DFS) operator FanDuel is exiting the UK market based on recent news report. FanDuel is reported to have sent an email to its players in the UK stating that it will not be offering its services for the coming football season and has offered a full refund to them.

FanDuel had started operations in UK only in August 2016, in partnership with sports data provider Opta.

The announcement to pull out comes in wake of the recent decision to drop merger plans between it and key rival DraftKings, who are the top two DFS operators in the United States.

At the time of its launch, the company had stated that its primary focus would be on the English Premier League (PL). If FanDuel withdraws from the market as indicated, it would have been active for just one season.

In a statement a FanDuel spokesperson said

We will not be operating our UK product this upcoming PL season to focus on our product in the US. As we approach the NFL season, we are allocating all of our resources towards ramping up a US product that consumers love and building out complementary fantasy sports products

The spokesperson pointed out that over 53 million people actively played fantasy sports in U.S. and the company wanted to target all its resources towards them. The amount of money won by players in the UK market in 2016 was close to £1 million which is extremely small when compared to the total wins handled by FanDuel in the U.S. which amounted to nearly $1.5 billion in 2016.

Industry observers said that given the low revenue and the relatively high level of associated costs, it might not make sense for the company to persist with its UK operations. FanDuel is yet to raise funding after merger plans were called off, which might suggest increased cost pressures.

The DFS operators who currently remain in the UK market are PlayON, Yahoo DFS and DraftKings UK. FanDuel’s biggest rival DraftKings has stated that it will continue operations in the UK and that players would soon be able to participate in new DFS contests that will be specially launched for the upcoming PL season.

DraftKings Chief International Officer Jeffrey Haas said that the company was fully committed to its international expansion plans. DraftKings has started operating in Germany in the recent past.

Online betting company Colossus Bets CEO Bernard Marantelli questioned whether the withdrawal was a death knell for DFS industry in the UK, highlighting a popular opinion that DFS had flourished in U.S. only due to the absence of traditional betting.


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