Google DFS Ads Change Could Slant Future Sports Betting Industry

Written By Mike Breen on July 8, 2024 - Last Updated on July 9, 2024
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Google Ads’ policy change to allow daily fantasy sports advertising in Minnesota could give some sportsbook operators a competitive advantage.

The new policy lets operators advertise in states that currently permit DFS. That includes several states, like Minnesota, that do not currently have a legal, regulated sports betting market.

Sportsbooks that also offer DFS could use the advertising to form a connection with sports fans in the state. That could pay dividends for the operators if/when Minnesota sports betting is legalized.

Sports betting giants could gain even more of an advantage

Legislative efforts to legalize sports betting in Minnesota have failed the past several years. But it seems likely that, at some point, sports betting will come to the state.

By allowing DFS operators to use targeted ads, Google accidentally gave the two biggest online sportsbooks a leg up on the competition.

DraftKings and FanDuel usually capture about two-thirds of the market share in most states, if not more. The overlap between DFS enthusiasts and sports bettors is vast, giving the two companies an advantage with brand recognition.

For example, in 2015, DraftKings became the official DFS partner of 27 Major League Baseball franchises, including the Minnesota Twins. Additionally, FanDuel is an official partner of the NBA and its advertisements were a focal point of the Minnesota Timberwolves Western Conference Final games.

In other words, Minnesotans are well aware of the two major DFS brands.

Allowing targeted ads to key demographics will only increase customer awareness. As a result, other brands will have a much bigger hurdle to jump when trying to gain market share.

Lastly, DFS players will seamlessly transition to the sportsbook since they already have existing accounts.

Google’s policy update also allows for lottery couriers to advertise to Minnesotans online. That’s potentially another boost for DraftKings, which earlier this year acquired the popular lottery courier Jackpocket. Though it will have a less direct impact, it does give DraftKings further online gaming presence in Minnesota.

Some DFS offerings prime users for sports betting

FanDuel and DraftKings began as DFS operations and dominated that market for many years. While still among the leading operators, PrizePicks, which is currently available in Minnesota, has emerged nationally as the industry’s revenue leader in the past few years.

PrizePicks doesn’t have a sports betting product. But its DFS offerings do include pick’em parlays, in which users choose from a series of individual player props and pick the over/under on particular stats. Minnesota DFS sites like Sleeper Fantasy and Underdog Fantasy also offer pick’em parlays.

Those kinds of offerings are another way DFS feeds into – and, some say, bleeds into – traditional sports betting. Some regulators feel pick’em parlays are so akin to sports betting player props that a few states have prohibited DFS operators from offering them.

Fantasy pick’em games potentially act as a gateway to sports betting, familiarizing Minnesotans who participate in DFS with similar betting activities. That will make it easier to convince them to move to a legal sportsbook.

Other sportsbook/DFS operators who could expand in Minnesota

While DraftKings and FanDuel stand to gain the most from the expanded DFS advertising rules should they launch sportsbooks in Minnesota, a few other operators might also have opportunities to gain an advantage.

The upstart sportsbook Betr last year went live with Betr Picks, which offers real-money DFS and heavily promotes its fantasy pick ’em options.

Betr Picks is available in 24 states, including Minnesota. But it’s unclear whether or not Betr would attempt to enter a future Minnesota sports betting market.

bet365, whose sportsbook is available in nine states, launched its free-play bet365 Fantasy earlier this year.

Available in five of the states in which its sportsbook operates, the DFS offering was an attempt to attract more customers to its sports betting services. While the company hasn’t announced intentions of launching the DFS product in non-sports betting states, if it came to Minnesota, it could be a convenient launch pad for the bet365 sportsbook.

Underdog’s DFS app is another option for fantasy players in Minnesota. The company recently debuted its sports betting product, Underdog Sports, in North Carolina. Though Underdog has yet to announce expansion plans, if it attempts to launch a Minnesota sportsbook in the future, it could use its database of fantasy users to attract users.

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Mike Breen

As a contributor to PlayMinnesota, Mike Breen covers most angles of the state's gambling industry. Currently, he is focusing on the state's legislative progress surrounding sports betting bills. However, he can be found writing about many aspects of Minnesota gaming.

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