Held as part of SiGMA

European Fantasy Sports Summit hosts key leaders from the sector

SiGMA 2018 saw a record-breaking 12,500 attendees from over 80 countries – solidifying its prominent position on the global iGaming calendar.
Reading time 2:10 min
DFS magnates affirmed the industry’s robustness during the European Fantasy Sports Summit (EFSS), presented and produced by the Gaming Malta Foundation, held as part of the Summit of iGaming Malta (SiGMA) last week.

Hampus Hagglof, CEO for FSport AB and veteran of the Daily Fantasy Sports sector, set the scene for an in-depth discussion on the emerging themes in the DFS world.

Giving a review of the current fantasy sports industry, Hagglof said that it’s still very much alive and kicking, with “North America enjoying almost 60 million players, five million players playing fantasy premier league—a scoring system that’s well established, and Indian companies claiming to have more than 40 million users, cricket being the main objective”. He also pointed out that, according to the research company Ibis in Australia, more than 4,200 people are employed in fantasy business worldwide.

Prominent speaker at the event and DraftKings’ CIO, Jeffrey Haas, also cemented the fact that the DFS industry today remains robust: ‘’With the Premier League enjoying a whopping seven and a half million plus players in Europe, substantial growth can be seen with the emergence of fantasy products provided by the leagues themselves, apart from the independent B2C operators.’’ Haas added that opportunity and risk go hand in hand for DFS in Europe because the product is available in such few markets.

With challenges being a major concern for the sector, discussions surrounding the topic were prominent. Marco Castaldo, General Manager of Microgame S.p.A said that it’s proving to be difficult to get the market off the ground because DFS fits into the regulated gambling sphere, which creates access barriers for certain player types, so it’s not easy to acquire those players that have a propensity for the game.

On the other hand, Castaldo believes there is tremendous potential in the market, “but we need to connect the traditional fantasy football customer base, or at least a section of it, with the regulated gambling customer base, and that requires tailoring the product to some extent, which is what we’re working to achieve”.

James Camilleri, Head of Sales and General Manager at Scout Gaming Group, explained how the growing DFS market in Europe can prosper. “Having a simpler game will drive more users to fantasy sports. This is working in Spain, where people are hooked on playing and socialising with their peers.”
Haas added: “Our intent is to continue growing and investing in our fantasy product. We believe in fantasy as a method of fan engagement, as a compelling game—it’s a wonderful experience. You can deepen the relationship with your customer by cross-selling them across your entire ecosystem. So I believe that as a result of our investment in sports betting, our fantasy sports business will grow and vice versa.”

This second edition of the EFSS was an informative and insightful one, and Ivan Filletti, Head of Operations and Business Development at GamingMalta, rounded it off by saying “The summit is proof that the DFS sector is still very much alive, and I feel honoured to have had the opportunity to host key leadership in the fantasy sports sector. I’m greatly anticipating next year’s event”.

SiGMA 2018 saw a record-breaking 12,500 attendees from over 80 countries – solidifying its prominent position on the global iGaming calendar.

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