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Volume 21 No. 30
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Panel offers pointers on sports gambling market

There was a euphoric mood on the sports betting panel I moderated at the Hashtag Sports conference in New York on June 26. Since the May Supreme Court ruling that allowed states to legalize sports gambling, all sectors of the sports business have viewed the gambling market with dollar signs in their eyes.

 

For example, Chad Millman, head of media for The Action Network, said “it’s entirely reasonable” that gambling could grow into a multibillion-dollar market within five years.

 

“We all have a great opportunity to f--- up a great opportunity,” Millman quipped.

 

A recurring theme that came up on the panel was that companies looking to get into the sports gambling market should not repeat the same mistakes DraftKings and FanDuel made in 2015. That was when the two daily fantasy companies grew so big and so fast — and advertised so much — that federal regulators started looking into the daily fantasy marketplace.

 

In discussing lessons learned from 2015, the panelists focused on advertising messages, which they said should more accurately describe the games being offered.

 

Chad Millman, The Action Network

If you’re framing it as something that is only about a new form of lottery, you’re going to turn off an audience that doesn’t really know what it is because they’ll come in once and not have that experience. If the volume is incredibly loud and that’s the message, then you don’t sustain people. You won’t bring in people who want to be there on an everyday basis. If the volume is the same but the message is, here’s something of value that can make you better at something and more interested in something, that’s a more palatable way to present it.

 

John Levy, CEO, The Score

It was a mess. DraftKings and FanDuel were spending enormous amounts of money on advertising. You couldn’t go into any venue, any airport, any TV sports offering and not see the two of them going out there. The real problem is that they lost their focus. The real focus is that you can’t screw the customer. You can’t say that it is a fair game that anybody could win when not anybody could win. The only people who would win in that game were pros. Statistics bore it out. How many times are people going to put out $10, $20 or $50 and not even get a sniff? You just have to be open and honest with the customer. Give them a fair game. If they’re going to win, they’re going to win. If they’re going to lose, they’re going to lose. At least they don’t have those illusions of what’s really happening.

 

Matt Drew, executive vice president, business development, Perform

Don’t lose sight of the fact of what those two organizations were able to do. They created sensible debate around what betting in the United States was, what it could be, how it could be regarded and the expense at which people engaged in it. Their popularity demonstrated what we all know: People want to be involved in that space. The secondary challenge is to make that space a safe one where the consumer is protected and can have a fun experience that is safe and secure.