These forecasts come on the heels of the last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to strike down The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), a 1992 law that banned such wagers.
With that decision, the judges paved the way for States to institute their own local laws to regulate sports betting — and the chips have been falling quickly ever since the court published the ruling early last week. A mere week later, Ireland-based bookmaker Paddy Power Betfair confirmed that it is acquiring fantasy sports giant FanDuel to get a foothold in the U.S. sports betting market.
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FanDuel was valued at $1.2 billion in 2017, and generated revenues of $124 million that year. Together, the two companies now want to get ready to take on the U.S. sports betting market. “The Group has leading sports betting operating capabilities globally and strong operations on the ground in the US,” said Paddy Power Betfair CEO Peter Jackson Wednesday. “Together with our substantial financial firepower, we believe we are now well placed to target the prospective US sports betting opportunity.”
FanDuel has made no secret of its desire to get in on the action once states legalize online gambling. “We have the product design, we have the tech team working on it and we are gonna be ready to go,” FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles said on CNBC last week.
The fantasy sports start-up isn’t the only media company excited about the future of wagering. Competitor DraftKings is also preparing a sports betting product to launch in time for the NFL season, and a number of media companies are hoping to cash in on the opportunity as well.
These include The Action Network, a Chernin Group-backed subscription-based online service that gives sports fans tools to track betting odds alongside other data and analysis. The company clocked record downloads for its mobile apps the day the Supreme Court decision came down, said CEO Noah Szubski. “This validates our mission.”
To prepare for the new interest in wagering, The Action Network has been hiring seasoned sports commentators like veteran golf journalist Jason Sobel and former MLB catcher Paul Lo Duca. “It is an entire culture,” said Szubski about sports betting. “No one is doing what we are doing.”