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DFS, Jackpot Wagers and Riding the Market's Coattails

We noted last week an interesting betting trend in DFS: Tournament play has been falling at a pretty decent rate.

This is to be expected on a number of fronts, but primarily, and simply, it's that people have expectations regarding a wager (any wager) and when the bet, or payoffs, do not meet expectation you can have a serious drop in play, quickly. DFS - especially tournaments - is very hard and when one realizes it's too hard for them, they stop, or pivot their play. This has been exacerbated by the number of newbies who joined this year, after millions in ad spend.

Today we saw more evidence of this, when Superlobby showed some stats on NBA DFS play. Yes, shockingly, NBA play is growing, up to the point it is "indistinguishable" to the NFL. That's just nuts and something no one was predicting a year ago.

Again, it's the market moving away from big tournaments, and looking for a soft spot to land. Perfectly rational, and reason number 35,321 this whole New York Times-AG's-Politicos-regulation-banning-whatever else, was totally overblown. The market tends to work just fine and this business will not be anywhere near what some politicians have been led to believe, as some sort of tax cash cow.

Strikingly, the NBA's success - however way you want to look at it - exposes the value of a wager, or team, for the sports involved, proving DFS is more than worthwhile:


If you are going to floor teams each night, you better have a place to watch them right? Again, the market working exactly as it is supposed to work.

Flipping over to racing, we have our GPP's - jackpot wagers - that work similarly to DFS, and although they look to be slowing in popularity as more and more lose their shirts betting into them, they generally trudge along. The main difference is the expectation variable. "You can beat a race but not the races" is well known, and people, unlike those who watch a TV commercial about DFS, expect to lose. It takes time for them to figure out how much, at what rate. When they do, they slow down or stop (this is why takeout increases take time to kill customers).

If horse racing is hanging its hat on these bets being more than a tangential one, they're going to be sadly disappointed.

Racing has yet to see the forest for the trees in much of this, and that's clearly been frustrating to many who want to see the business break away from protectionist small ball.

Derby Wars is an avenue that can be used as a tool in a similar way DFS has above: If you are fed up with racing and losing, $5 tournaments can keep you watching and interested in the game of racing. Like with an NBA game pass, you keep your ADW active with a few bets here and there to keep your live video. You might watch the races for a tournament or game, and keep a watchlist and bet the watchlist. It keeps you engaged.

That's something to partner with, not sue.

Betfair is another long held example of something the industry finds really, really bad. For goodness sakes, is anyone in the sport finally going to realize they plug funnel leaks, they don't create them?

DFS is marching on, despite being disrupted by politicians and others, and its customers are acting rationally. It's why the sports leagues want to be a part of it, and when all is said and done, no matter what, there will be core play, partnered with sports leagues. Racing needs to let the market lead it, not try to lead the market. Racing can be a better game when you listen to a market instead of some alphabet group, or vested interest.


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