As the NFL Draft wrapped up Thursday evening, more fans than ever were likely betting on the outcome. With sports gambling now legal in 25 states, as well as Washington D.C., companies like FanDuel have seen a spike in sports gambling across their platforms over the last year and don’t see the growth tapering off anytime soon.
“I think you’re just going to see more and more engagement,” FanDuel President Amy Howe told Yahoo Finance Live on Thursday. “We have more markets than we’ve ever had before … It’s become such a mainstream part of live entertainment.”
The draft was the first NFL event since the league announced a tri-exclusive sports betting partnership with FanDuel, DraftKings, and Caesars Entertainment. The partnership will allow those companies to interact with fans directly through NFL channels, meaning free-to-play contests and promotional exposure on the broadcasts.
“We’re really looking forward to that partnership, the integrations, the content, really enhancing that experience right as you’re watching an NFL game,” Howe said.
Growth in sports betting despite a pause in live sports
FanDuel Group’s parent company, Flutter Entertainment (PDYPY), announced 2020 financial results in March that exemplify the boom in sports gambling business. In 2020 FanDuel’s sportsbook handle, meaning the total amount of money wagered at the sportsbook, grew 86% year over year while the company’s revenue grew by 81% to $896 million.
FanDuel said its sportsboook app was the third most downloaded app in the U.S. on the day of the Super Bowl this year, only trailing the short video social media site TikTok and stock trading app Robinhood.
The stock price of FanDuel’s parent company, Flutter Entertainment (PDYPY), is up roughly 66% over the last year while other tickers with sports gambling as a large portion of their business have soared since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The stock prices for the two other companies that joined FanDuel in the deal with the NFL, DraftKings (DKNG) and Caesars (CZR), are up roughly 185% and 428%, respectively, over the past year.
The growth in the industry came despite live sports pausing for much of the second quarter in 2020. While major leagues paused, many millennials were introduced to other forms of live entertainment such as horse racing, Howe said. FanDuel also owns and operates TVG Network, an online gambling platform for horse and greyhound racing. With average monthly players growing 60% from 2019 into 2020, Howe says Saturday’s Kentucky Derby will be the biggest yet for FanDuel.
“It’s such an iconic event and it’s become such a huge part of entertainment,’” Howe said. “So engaging consumers with betting is going to be an even more enhancing part of the derby this year.”