Amid an ever-evolving legal landscape for the DFS industry stateside, FanDuel is preparing to launch its product in the United Kingdom come this August, provided one of the two pending license applications required is granted by that time. As previously reported several months ago by multiple sources, the company had applied for the required gambling software and pool betting licenses in the United Kingdom, although to date it has only been granted the former. The latter remains in pending status, but is expected to eventually be green-lighted as well.
In a recent wide-ranging interview conducted with business publication VentureBeat, FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles provided a glimpse of what a UK-based FanDuel product would look like, and how it would differ from both its offering in the United States and from the UK version launched by rival DraftKings earlier in 2016.
Focus On Soccer, not North American Sports
Eccles explained that FanDuel’s overseas contest offerings will accurately reflect the sports appetites of the area’s residents. This translates to the majority of contests being focused on soccer, and in fact, an August launch would coincide with the onset of the English Premier League and European Champions League seasons.
Additionally, other sports with substantial visibility in the European continent, such as golf, cricket, and rugby, could eventually be offered over time. This strategy would differ from that of DraftKings, which has made a full array of contests that include the North American staples of the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB available to its UK customers.
National Ring-Fencing, and Other Possible Differences
Eccles also confirms that, unlike DraftKings’ already-launched product, his company’s UK offering will be nationally ring-fenced, meaning that contests on the platform will not share liquidity with North American DFS players. UK-based players will not be able to access the North American version of FanDuel’s platform either, and the two products may differ in other ways.
For example, it’s possible that FanDuel’s UK platform may not include salary cap-based contests, although that’s yet to be decided. Real-money play will also be in the national currency of pounds. Furthermore, it’s conceivable that the operational licenses that the DFS operator will be granted will afford it considerable latitude in developing other sports betting-based gameplay that it’s prohibited from offering in the North American market.
Overseas Launch Independent of Stateside Legal Issues
While there is speculation as to whether the overseas launch has now become more necessity than voluntary expansion—due to the perception of what a dwindling U.S. customer base brought about by legal restrictions has done to FanDuel’s bottom line—this notion is refuted by Eccles in the interview. He asserts that the site’s development plans for their European rollout began in earnest last summer, preceding the legal firestorm of fall 2015 by at least a couple of months.