Daily Fantasy 2015 Numbers - Growth. Handle and Margins

The Superlobby website scoured the Daily Fantasy contests in 2015, and came up with some numbers.
  • There were 342 million entries in "GPP's" - guaranteed prize pools (different than head to head, or 50/50 games)
  • With these games, $1.8 billion was generated
  • The effective takeout for all sports, and all games, was just over 9%. 
Although global industry numbers are hard to come by, we do know that in 2014, FanDuel realized $621 million in (all) entry fees, and DraftKings about $304 million. In 2013, FanDuel generated about $150 million in fees.

The top line growth was, once again, pretty staggering.

Clearly the story of the year was not rake, top-line growth or business interests, but political risk (or more apt, political risk on steroids). As Mark Cuban (a gambling and fantasy sports supporter) put it this week, the industry is dealing with more than racing dealt with for years during its nascent state - just tax hungry politicians:

"Seeing politicians just do something for skins on the wall, to try to make a name for themselves, that pisses me off, as much as anything,”

It's a tough row to hoe, because the industry is battling forces which will likely see them having to increase prices, water down their product, or in some states (where protecting state run lottery and gaming interests is paramount) are not allowed to exist. Sound familiar horse racing?

Who knows where this goes next. I sure don't.

Over to racing, top line growth was realized in a small way in 2015. Effective takeout is stuck in the 21.5% range, and not coming down. In fact, I heard from more than one executive in 2015 that "we have to get signal fees up now, so that in the future takeout can come down." That's a mind-bend, yes, and the opposite of what we would expect if takeout really was coming down. But I don't understand the industry at the very top. I don't think I ever will.

Daily fantasy sports is in a state of flux, but it is growing rapidly; despite the New York Times, some AG's, politicians, and many others telling everyone how bad it is. They, like any successful online business, are growing eyeballs, and hoping the ground swell helps them with the regulatory bodies (it's tough to ban booze when everyone is drinking a beer after work), and that those eyeballs can be monetized over time.

Horse racing, a mature business who has been through this before, is where it is - looking for marginal improvements, or more accurately, trying to stem the handle trend of the last ten years. I don't see anything in 2016 that can move the needle much either way.

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