With nationwide dominance across most U.S. sports betting markets, what’s next for FanDuel?
Profitability, for one thing.
In 2023, CEO Amy Howe has resolved first to strengthen FanDuel’s lead as America’s top sportsbook, then to reach “a critical turning point, as we expect to be profitable for the full year.”
FanDuel posted its first quarterly profit in the second quarter of 2022, despite the ongoing customer acquisition and advertising costs and introductory bonuses that have kept most sportsbooks in the red. Full-year profitability for 2023 would put FanDuel well ahead of its nearest rival, DraftKings, and a field of also-rans that includes Caesars, BetMGM and Penn Entertainment. Longer term, at maturity, FanDuel expects to multiply its 2022 revenue five-fold.
So, what makes FanDuel the sportsbook of choice for most U.S. players? Howe cites “three key advantages.”
“First, we acquire customers more efficiently than our competitors, with one of the most iconic and trusted brands in the space, combined with our database of 14 million-plus sports fans and some of the most coveted marketing assets in all of sports and entertainment.”
Second, she says, once they try the platform, FanDuel customers stick around for “the most distinctive, broadest betting assortment through the No. 1-rated app.”
Third, “We responsibly grow customer value through our proprietary risk and trading tools, which enable FanDuel to deliver more accurate, competitive odds and a superior margin advantage. All this is underpinned by a distinctive set of assets from our parent company, Flutter Entertainment, the largest online gaming company in the world.”
Howe, formerly global chief operating officer for Ticketmaster, came to FanDuel in October 2021. As one of few female CEOs in the sector, with an enviable position at the top of the heap, she’s made it her mission to attract an undervalued audience: women sports fans and gamblers.
“I see this as an untapped opportunity,” she says. “While the reality is that sports betting has historically appealed overwhelmingly to men between the ages of 21 and 54, sports fandom is closer to 60/40 male/female.
“But we want to do this in an authentic way that works for women—so how are we doing it? It starts by promoting equity with female athletes.”
To that end, FanDuel has become an official partner of organizations like the WNBA and the Women’s Tennis Association, and joined with athletes like boxer Amanda Serrano to promote responsible gambling.
“We’re also creating a more level playing field by offering betting products for women’s sports, such as the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament, where we were one of the first operators to offer betting markets, and last year accepted over 1 million bets.”
FanDuel is also reaching women “through unique channels that resonate with the female sports fan” like the Gist, a women-run sports media firm, and the Gaming Society, a sports betting, education and gamification outlet that bills itself as “a movement for more of everything women’s sports.”
Howe values “the privilege of using my platform to build a truly diverse, engaged organization with the best talent in the world. This is by far one of the most gratifying parts of my job.”
Meanwhile, 30 U.S. states and D.C. now offer retail or online sports betting, and more states are starting their engines. While the post-PASPA boom may be slowing, Howe sees plenty of room for growth in both sports betting and iGaming. Together, she believes, they could achieve $40 billion in annual revenues by the end of the decade—an ambitious goal, but one that’s doable if states like California come on board.
“While it’s difficult to predict with certainty how big the market will be, since 2018 it’s consistently exceeded expectations. Looking out to 2030, we believe the total addressable market could reach $40 billion, inclusive of both sportsbook and iGaming.
“Specifically, we anticipate that the sportsbook market could grow from roughly 35 percent of the U.S. population today to closer to 80 percent at maturity. And while it’s difficult to predict exactly which states will legalize and when, ultimately we believe big states such as California will follow the path of other successful states by providing a safe, regulated and dynamic market. This is what the overwhelming majority of U.S. consumers want.”
It’s good to be No. 1. Asked what’s fun about her job, Howe replies, “There are few industries that are as exciting, dynamic and transformative as online sports betting and iGaming.
“Every day, we have the privilege of elevating and enhancing the way consumers experience unforgettable sporting moments as the most prominent and innovative sports-betting operator in North America.
“But, it’s not just about winning—it’s how we’re winning that’s so rewarding. Along with my outstanding leadership team and the FanDuel organization, we’re working hard to responsibly build this industry from the ground up, ensuring that decisions we make today provide for a sustainable long-term business for our customers well into the future.
“The scale advantage we’ve created, combined with our highly disciplined approach to growth, is positioning us well to deliver attractive returns to shareholders well into the future.
“And of course, we’ll do this by living one of the most coveted FanDuel values, which is to ‘stay humble and hungry’ along the way.”