Draftkings gets a UK gaming Licence.

Today’s announcement of the granting of DraftKings gambling licence has prompted me to again gather my thoughts on the big question...

What is the true appetite for DFS in the UK?

The answer lies not in trying to understand the mind of the UK based season long fantasy player, nor in using Poker as a way to understand the demographic. No, the answer to the question lies in the entrenched Sports betting player base.

The Negatives

Why do people bet on sports? They bet because the game is either on TV and they want an added sweat, or because they have a particular affiliation with the teams or players involved and want to back this loyalty with hard cash.

All of these needs can currently be met by betting with one of the dozens of licensed UK operators, all of whom have been advertising on TV for a number of years, have trusted brand names and offer a huge choice of bet types such as props, parlays and player related action.

Some may say that there are millions of people who play season fantasy (most of whom have lost interest after 2 weeks) or that play games such as football manager. Yes, they do, but when the soccer game is actually on TV it is with a sports bet that the majority retain their interest.

I don’t see any deep need that isn’t currently being filled by sports betting that will suddenly be delivered by DFS.

What are the positives?

The positives are in delivering a product that interests a particular type of person. It has been proven that there are a small number of people in the UK who take the time to build a line-up for soccer.

Let us not think of soccer when we think of the UK. Far too often the default mode is to say “yes, soccer is huge therefore the potential in the UK for DFS with soccer is tremendous etc” It may well be, but I actually tend to think the real opportunity exists elsewhere.

As someone who subscribes to every satellite (cable) TV channel possible and watches an enormous amount of sport, let me tell you where I think the opportunities lie.

  1. NFL - yes, we Brits have fallen in love with NFL. We have Redzone and games on from 6pm Sunday night UK time until the final game ends around 4am on Monday morning, plus of course MNF and TNF too.
    This attracts a significant number of hugely loyal viewers who each have their favourite players but are far less informed than most US viewers. In my view, and I consider myself a perfect customer here, these people are crying out to play some GPPs over a weekends NFL card. The first company who struck a deal with SKY TV to partner the coverage would win the race here. There would be no second prize.
  2. Golf. The UK is a nation of golf nuts. The PGA tour has full coverage and as in NFL would be perfect for a DFS GPP. Game would be won for an operator the same way as NFL. First wins, second dies.

Sports to avoid

  1. Cricket - yes, it is played and watched by millions but most of them can barely name a player, are only there for a beer and can’t be bothered to put on a sports bet never mind get involved in something as time consuming as building a DFS line-up
  2. Horse racing - The Sport of Kings. Except, errrr nobody really watches it anymore and it’s a sport that has been slowly dying for years. In my view, the “action” is completely entrenched with the betting shop brigade and simply not worth the time and effort. The subject of horse racing is worth 20,000 words of its own, but for the sake of my sanity let me just say it isn’t an option for DFS.

Can we all just play nicely together?

I brought this point up earlier on twitter. Can UK and US customers all share liquidity? Hopefully, the answer is yes as this would be absolutely essential when it comes to sports such as Soccer. The UK side would benefit from the established player pools on sports such as NFL so it’s a win/win. Imagine how soft an NFL h2h would be playing against an average Scottish guy who only watched Green bay every week due to a man crush on Aaron Rodgers!?


I am worried about the huge threat to Soccer DFSs growth that traditional sports’ betting brings. I wish this wasn’t the case as I am a tremendous lover of both. The media deals as ever will be crucial, tie up SKY TV and its game over for everyone else. If Draftkings decide to do this it could be the quickest win of all time. My other advice would be to remember that we are very different types of people over here, so find some great people to work with (maybe call Bettingjobs.com) and don’t take the customers for granted. Us Brits are very wary of change and certainly don’t like to be told what to do. As ever, its an exciting time to be in the DFS industry – does anyone really know how it will all play out....?

PS –Id love to hear your thoughts and extend this debate –please reach me on david@dailyfantasylobby.com or on twitter @superlobby

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