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FanDuel to Exit UK

by Glenn Baird - August 5, 2017

FanDuel, a daily fantasy sports website revealed last week that it would cease its operations in the UK, in order to focus more heavily on its US market.

The decision has surprised many, with the company advertising throughout much of July in the UK and the English football season only a matter a week away.

FanDuel are not claiming to be leaving the UK for good and have suggested that they may well be back in the near the future. A statement from the company was released on their UK Twitter feed last week, saying that:

“Unfortunately, we will not be offering contests this season. We hope to be back in the future.”

The company has said that all users will receive a full refund and that over the last year players had won “almost £1 million.”

A company spokesperson stated that:

“As we approach the NFL season, we are allocating all of our resources towards ramping up a US product that consumers love and building out complementary fantasy sports products. There are over 53 million people playing fantasy sports in the United States and we are investing all of our resources on that market.”

It was almost exactly one year ago that FanDuel began operating in the UK. Their decision to leave has left the industry questioning why their stay was so short lived.

An answer could be found in the one figure that the company have released. The £1 million in winnings is considerably disappointing, suggesting that a lack of users meant that the operation was not profitable enough to justify its continuation.

It seemed likely earlier on in the year that FanDuel would merge with fantasy sports competitor, Draftkings. The deal had been made but was challenged by the Federal Government under the premise that the merger would give the new company too large a share of the market. It was expected that the case would be fought out in court but proceedings failed to get that far, with the two companies deciding to forgo a lengthy, expensive legal battle and bin the deal instead. The decision not to take the case to court and the subsequent failure to merge with Draftkings is likely to have had financial implications for FanDuel, most likely leaving the company in a less financially secure position than expected.

FanDuel will now have to focus solely on their US operation whilst they rethink their plan of attack in the UK. There can be no doubt that there is a market for fantasy sports betting in the UK and with FanDuel leaving they have left a gap that another company will be looking to fill. FanDuel can only hope that by the time they feel like they can re-enter the UK market there is still a space for them to compete.