Top US Sportsbook FanDuel Ready For Canada As Ontario Launch Nears

Written By Katarina Vojvodic on March 3, 2022 - Last Updated on July 1, 2022
FanDuel Canada Sports Betting Ontario

When the province launches its expanded Ontario online sports betting and casino market next month, Canadians can expect FanDuel to be there.

The US-facing sportsbook is a subsidiary of Ireland-based Flutter Entertainment, a global sports betting and gaming company. The sportsbook and online casino showed up on a list of approved operators from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario in mid-March.

In the US, Flutter operates FanDuel, Stardust, Fox Bet and PokerStars brands. Through these, Flutter offers regulated real money and free-to-play sports betting and online gaming, daily fantasy sports and racing products. Worldwide, it’s a leading gaming entity.

In an earnings call this week, Flutter CEO Peter Jackson and CFO Jonathan Hill presented the company’s preliminary 2021 fiscal year-end results to London Stock Exchange analysts.

The duo emphasized that Flutter aims to replicate its success in several markets, including FanDuel’s Ontario entry.

Both executives shared enthusiasm for the firm’s performance, particularly in the US, despite some overall losses.

However, later is was discovered the DFS would not be part of the equation for FanDuel during Ontario’s launch.

Positive regulatory momentum in Canada

According to the presentation, the company’s expectations for FanDuel’s Canadian launch are positive.

In fact, many successful brands under the Flutter Entertainment umbrella, including PokerStars and Stars Casino, are all expected in Ontario. That’s in addition to FanDuel Sportsbook itself and perhaps Fox Bet.

“In International, investments made since acquiring PokerStars have put it on a more sustainable footing. And while this has resulted in reduced profitability, the necessary foundations for future growth are now in place,” Jackson said.

“Notwithstanding regulatory changes in Germany, the Netherlands and elsewhere, we saw good momentum across key markets such as Brazil, Canada and Georgia. In addition, the announcement of our acquisition of Sisal will further enhance both the quality and shape of our International division,” he added.

Flutter Entertainment bought an Italian gambling operator Sisal in Dec 2021.

Although the market share “feels low” for a group of countries, including Canada, Flutter sees strong potential for further growth. Canada’s projected (GGR) market size by 2026 is £3bn (CAD$5.09bn) in gaming and £1.2bn (CAD$2.04bn) in sports.

Flutter has been preparing for Canada for years

The company had its eyes set on Canada years before launch when Flutter purchased Canadian operator, The Stars Group in 2020.

While readying for the market to open, FanDuel also partnered with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills earlier this year. Also, just across the US border, FanDuel sealed a multi-year partnership with the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres just last week.

Canadians are familiar with many of Flutter’s gaming platforms — they are quite well-known worldwide. It’s expected their PokerStars brand, successful in Europe, is well placed to succeed in Ontario.

FanDuel’s sportsbook launch in Ontario is sure to be a welcome one for Ontario sports fans. Apart from a generous welcome bonus, FanDuel Sportsbook offers promotions and competitive odds across a broad selection of sports leagues.

The top online sportsbook in the US will likely offer a significantly different product than Ontarian bettors are used to.

The plan is to tailor the offering to Canadian players, so expect to see NHL and CFL games featured. That’s in addition to the most popular sports leagues and fantasy games across the NFL, NBA, MLB, PGA and UFC.

Dale Hooper, a former chief brand officer for Rogers Communications, leads the FanDuel Canada operations. Hooper brings expertise to his general manager role and a commitment to cement FanDuel as a premier Canadian sports betting site.

America: beautiful, strong, and rife with opportunity

Despite owning the top US sports betting brand, Jackson said the company was “leaning in” to the market regardless of the competitive pressures.

“In the US, we delivered over $1.9bn in revenue, leveraging our differentiated product proposition to remain the number one sportsbook in the market with a 40% share,” he added.

Sportsbook stakes rose 156% to £11.3bn (CAD$19.14bn). With the launch of the new markets, US sports-betting revenues increased 113% to £978m (CAD$1.6bn) and gaming revenues up 74% to £413m (CAD$669.56m).

Total revenue came to £1.39bn (CAD$2.35bn), with 95% attributable to FanDuel and the rest coming from its TVG brand. Sales and marketing expenses were up 91% equaling $663m (CAD$1.1bn).

As Jackson pointed out:

“We’ve never focused on market share targets. We’re delighted with how the business is performing and pushing really hard.” However, they’re also delighted with the market share they’ve taken.

“The business has terrific momentum,” Jackson added.

At the end of 2021, FanDuel was live in 12 sportsbook states.

FanDuel first launched in New Jersey in August 2018. At the time, expectations were the company would generate a positive contribution in 18-30 months.

However, that outlook has changed.

Now, the expectation for new jurisdictions is to see a positive contribution within 12-24 months. The change is due to higher customer acquisition levels, faster adoption of sports betting, better customer retention, and product advantages driving higher margins.

Once a leader always a leader

Headquartered in New York, FanDuel is the No. 1 sports betting brand in the United States.

As it will in Canada, FanDuel USA had a considerable advantage at launch due to customer information acquired through its DFS vertical. DFS was all the rage in the US and Canada about a decade ago.

FanDuel and DraftKings are the two most recognizable names in DFS, sharing a Coke and Pepsi relationship.

Both brands naturally transitioned to sports betting and online casinos, mainly acquiring customers through sports and converting them to casino customers over time.

Launched in 2009, FanDuel was the first to develop same-game parlays, since copied by every other major US sports betting brand.

FanDuel prides itself on having an exceptionally user-friendly interface that offers easy navigation and bets tracking experience.

Photo by Matt York / AP
Katarina Vojvodic Avatar
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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina is a Toronto-based online gambling writer who holds a master's degree in journalism. Before joining PlayCanada, she was part of the AskGamblers crew where she reported about the world of online casinos and interviewed numerous iGaming experts. Being in the industry for 5 years, she became an expert in online slots.

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