By Ron Mendelson, Fast Offshore Founding Partner

The growth of fantasy sports betting

Ron Mendelson is the Director of Costa-Rica based International Business & Corporate Services consultancy firm, Fast Offshore. With over 24 years of real-world experience in iGaming Licensing and Payments, Regulatory Compliance, Tax-Efficient Corporate Structuring, Incubator and other Hedge Fund Licenses, Blockchain and Cryptocurrency related services, he advises a number of international clients on their business needs in the Americas, Europe, and beyond.

Reading time 3:30 min
The iGaming expert notes that the concept of betting on the outcomes of fantasy sports is relatively new, demand is increasing and online betting operators are realizing that this is a potentially big sector for growth. In this column for Yogonet, he delves into the state of the market, and provides insights into setting up a fantasy betting site.

The online gambling industry is continually evolving and with this evolution comes the emergence and expansion of new verticals. One of these is fantasy sports and fantasy sports betting. But what’s it all about, how big is the market and its potential, and how to go about taking advantage of its momentum?

What exactly is fantasy sports and fantasy sports betting?

Fantasy sports is where an individual creates a fantasy or imaginary, digital sports team. These teams could be for football, basketball, baseball, or any kind of sport that is played with more than one player. Typically, teams will consist of likenesses to famous players or players that are created by the user. These teams then compete in tournaments, matches, and leagues in the hope of winning.

Fantasy sports betting is where a bettor places a wager on the outcome of a certain match or tournament, or the performance of players and teams. It is much the same as conventional sports betting with the exception that it’s a fantasy team.

While fantasy sports have been around for many years, the concept of betting on the outcomes is relatively new. Demand is increasing and online betting operators are realising that this is a potentially big sector for growth.

What’s the state of the market?

Currently, around 20% of the population engage in some form of sports betting and a further 20% enjoy playing fantasy sports. These figures, from 2019 show a big increase from 2014 when only 13% had an interest in fantasy sports. The statistics look promising and the sector is continuing to grow.

According to statistics from the Fantasy Sports and Gaming Association, some 78% of fantasy sports players bet on sports in 2018 and 75% of those who bet on sports, played fantasy sports. This evidences the fact that there is a huge pool of potential customers to engage with and provide for.

By far, the most popular kind of fantasy sport to play and bet on is fantasy football, followed by baseball, basketball, and hockey. Football came out on top however with around 78% of fans preferring it. Furthermore, those that play fantasy sports said they would be interested in betting on regular, or fantasy sports.

Throughout 2020, we saw the emergence of eSports as it made its transition from the underground to the mainstream, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. As stadiums fell silent and sporting events were cancelled or postponed, punters became interested in betting on eSports leagues and tournaments. But eSports doesn’t appeal to everyone. There are plenty of sports fans who are loyal to a specific kind of sports and don’t have any interest in betting on role-playing games.

This is where fantasy sports betting comes in. It provides a way for sports fans to continue pursuing their sport of choice, but just in a slightly different way. They are still afforded the excitement of following matches and leagues but don’t have to rely on sporting events going ahead.

After all, it’s impossible to predict how real-life sporting events will be impacted by the ongoing pandemic. This winter is set to be tough and with many countries bracing themselves for a second wave, we could see events being shut down once again.

Setting up a fantasy betting site

If you already have an online gambling license, the chances are you don’t need anything additional to set up your fantasy sports betting site. Of course, this depends on where you are licensed so it’s always worth running it past your trusted corporate services advisor or the company that helped you apply for the license. Otherwise, it’s usually just a case of updating the functions of your online gambling company to include the fact you will be offering fantasy sports betting.

If however, you are new to online gambling, you might be wondering how you get started. If setting up a fantasy sports betting site has crossed your mind, we cannot stress enough that now really is the time to go for it. With the online betting market getting larger every day and increasing interest in alternatives to live sports betting, incorporating a fantasy sports betting company now is a smart move. Depending on your individual goals and circumstances, you will have to pick a suitable licensing jurisdiction and corporate structure.

In addition to this, you will need to open a bank account and reach agreements with payment processors so you can process different kinds of payments through your site.

If you haven’t already taken expert advice on this matter, what are you waiting for? Fast Offshore has been working in this sector for over 22 years and recently we have been working with a growing number of fantasy sports betting startups. This increase in inquiries and instructions is indicative of a shift in the market and an upwards trajectory in the fantasy sports betting market. Don’t waste any more time and be sure to respond to the changing needs and preferences of your client base.

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