Last May’s Supreme Court ruling has been a game changer for sports betting, which is now legal in the great state of New Jersey. In response, daily fantasy sports platforms DraftKings and FanDuel have each introduced online Sportsbook products, allowing players physically located in New Jersey—resident or otherwise—to place wagers on professional sporting events. The Sportsbook launches have brought in a flood of big-ticket transactions predominantly coming from new customers, rather than players crossing over from their daily fantasy sports products.
Since 2012, DraftKings has operated as a platform for daily fantasy sports, which many states legally define as a permissible “game of skill,” though some outlaw it as gambling. In August—just in time for the NFL season—DraftKings released its online Sportsbook, and this foray into sports betting has contributed to staggering sales growth. In New Jersey, year-over-year spending was up ninefold the month of launch and, throughout football season, it has remained elevated sixfold over the comparable period last year.
As spending climbs nationwide, a substantial portion of DraftKings’ growth has been concentrated in New Jersey. From August to December, DraftKings U.S. sales have increased by 52 percent year over year, and over one-third of that growth came out of New Jersey alone. Since Sportsbook launched, New Jersey has accounted for 14 percent of DraftKings nationwide sales, up from just 3 percent over the same period last year.
New Jersey gamblers also flock to FanDuel Sportsbook
FanDuel—a rival daily fantasy sports platform—is also cashing in on legalized sports betting. Within weeks of gambling legalization hitting New Jersey, FanDuel was acquired by Paddy Power Betfair, an international conglomerate operating a variety of online gambling services taking bets on everything from horse racing to roulette.
In the States, Betfair has operated an online casino in New Jersey for several years and, since the recent acquisition, hosts all of FanDuel’s sports betting action as well. (FanDuel continues to process its own daily fantasy sports payments.) Before Betfair acquired FanDuel, its New Jersey customer base had held steady. But, since FanDuel’s Sportsbook launched in September, Betfair has seen its New Jersey customers increase more than sixfold over the comparable period from last year.
Most sports bettors aren’t daily fantasy players
Of that spike in Betfair’s September customers, over 80 percent of New Jersey gamblers were new to the platform. Last year, just 17 percent of September traffic came from first-time customers. While the launch of FanDuel Sportsbook drove Betfair’s customer gains, most of those rookie gamblers don’t play the company’s daily fantasy sports. From August to December 2018, only 19 percent of Betfair customers were also spending at FanDuel.
DraftKings experienced a similar trend. When it launched its Sportsbook in August, 60 percent of New Jersey customers were first-time players, compared against just 16 percent one year earlier, suggesting that betting on sports appeals to an audience distinct from daily fantasy sports players.
Online sports gamblers outspend daily fantasy sports players
This growth is an opportunity to tap not only new customers, but bigger-ticket bettors. DraftKings’ New Jersey transactions show that, since the release of Sportsbook, customers are pouring larger sums of money into the platform, although this analysis does not account for winnings withdrawn from DraftKings. In New Jersey, the average DraftKings purchase total has risen to over $90 since Sportsbook launched, more than double the average transaction value across all other states.
Sports gamblers are not only driving higher transaction values but also spending more throughout football season. In 2017, the average DraftKings player who joined in August spent $78 through the end of the year. This year, that average player has spent $564 over the comparable period, driven in large part by larger transactions coming out of New Jersey. High-rollers like these might start popping up elsewhere, with DraftKings planning to launch in West Virginia and setting its sights other gambling friendly states.
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