Jay Jarrahi, a professional sports trader in the U.K., is a big fan of New York Giants. Being an expert in fantasy sports, he has played fantasy football for money, complete with side bets with friends. He is looking forward to the arrival of prominent operators DraftKings and FanDuel in the U.K.
“I believed that it’s a popular thing but never cared to play it and neither did any of my friends. Next season, I may try it, but I’m not very sure on that”
Daily fantasy sports are in their infancy in the U.K. DraftKings and FanDuel were granted licenses from the U.K. Gambling Commission in 2015.
Fantasy companies trying to make their way in to the U.K. face a different challenge altogether.
Though traditional sports betting has been prevalent in the U.K. for long now, dating back to 1960’s, it is still a tough ask to convince experienced bettors in daily fantasy. All types of wagers ranging from the Premiere league to NFL, wagers on individual players are readily available through legal book makers.
But DraftKings -- which, as mentioned, is awaiting federal approval to merge with FanDuel in the U.S. -- remains bullish on the U.K. market.
European sportsbook Unibet has told gambling trade publication EGR Intel that despite people being hesitant to try daily fantasy sports, it is still appealing to a wide segment of sports fans – the softer, less bet-savvy segments.
Similarly, William Hill’s American branch has been granted fantasy sports license in Mississippi and Virginia. Also, Brennan, CEO SportAd, is in discussion with FastPick and traditional casino companies.
"I can see a place for [daily fantasy] as an acquisition tool or as a niche product aimed at a central player type," Alun Bowden, a senior consultant on European markets for U.S. research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, told ESPN.
What concerns everyone is that this form suffers at the hands of traditional and simple sports betting, which is true in every nation where sports betting is mass market and legal.
The United States may be the next test case.
Clearly one of the leaders in the market, Telegraph Football has cemeted itself as the best fantasy football site in the UK. US competitors like Draft Kings and Fan Duel are slowly making thier way in, but they ma never be ale to content with a true local player.
Rounding out the market are long-time sports staples like Yahoo Fantasy and newcommer PlayOn. Traditional sportbooks in the Uk are yet to really cut their teeth in daily fantasy, however we do expect to see products from the likes of William Hill, Paddy Power and Ladbrokes.