DraftKings’ Moves Could Help Close Gap On FanDuel In Maryland

Written By Adam Hensley on June 14, 2024
Jenga blocks being used to close the gap between two piles

Two names stand out in the US sports betting industry: DraftKings and FanDuel. It’s the same in Maryland.

More than 85% of sports bets in the Old Line State are made through the two sportsbooks. FanDuel is king, controlling nearly half of the Maryland market.

DraftKings, however, has made some recent moves and is considering another that could help it close the gap.

In April, FanDuel handle was over 18% higher than DraftKings’

There are nearly a dozen online Maryland sports betting operators. Of those, 10 regularly combine for about 15% of the market. In other words, Marylanders overwhelmingly favor FanDuel or DraftKings.

There are several reasons for that, but there’s no question the two have the deepest pockets regarding advertising and promotions. They undoubtedly enjoy the best brand recognition in the industry. The two control the sports betting markets in most states.

In April, FanDuel MD took in $221.1 million in wagers, about 46.5% of all bets in the state. DraftKings MD finished second with a handle of $141.7 million, about 29.8% of the market.

DraftKings acquires Sports IQ, eyes SimpleBet

DraftKings has been making moves in the first half of 2024 that could eventually help it catch FanDuel in Maryland.

Last month, DraftKings acquired oddsmaker and player prop provider Sports IQ Analytics for an undisclosed amount. This was clearly an investment by DraftKings in prop betting, which has become popular with bettors.

In February, DraftKings bolstered its overall gambling offerings by purchasing digital lottery service Jackpocket for $750 million.

DraftKings CEO Jason Robins said the company acquired Jackpot as a step toward something greater.

“This transaction will create significant value for DraftKings not only by giving our customers another differentiated product to enjoy but also by improving our overall marketing efficiency similar to how our daily fantasy sports database created an advantage for DraftKings in OSB and iGaming.”

Recently, Earnings + More reported that DraftKings “appears” to be looking at acquiring SimpleBet for close to $170 million. SimpleBet is a platform that allows for micro-betting, small-stakes live bets made during a game.

SimpleBet’s website says it uses “lightning-fast data to generate odds, increase uptime, and offer more in-play bets.”

It’s worth noting that DraftKings has owned 15% of the company since 2021. Caesars, Bet365 and Hard Rock Bet also use SimpleBet’s platform.

How these moves could impact the Maryland market

The purchase of Jackpot certainly allows DraftKings to advertise its sports betting service on the app. But the other two moves will probably make the biggest impact.

More and more players prefer life betting and prop betting, so sportsbooks are scrambling to fill that need. It’s a win-win for them, as players spend more time engaged on their apps.

The move to acquire Sports IQ allows DraftKings to bring live betting in-house. If it can purchase SimpleBet, it would force some of its closest competitors to seek a new provider. Of the three, Caesars is the only operator with a Maryland presence.

Still, the best-in-class technology would then belong to DraftKings, which could help it close the revenue gap in Maryland.

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Adam Hensley

Adam Hensley is a journalist from Des Moines, Iowa, with experience covering online sports betting and gambling across Catena Media. His byline has appeared in the Associated Press, Sports Illustrated and sites within the USA Today Network. Hensley graduated from the University of Iowa in 2019 and spent his college career working for the Daily Iowan’s sports department, both as an editor and reporter.

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