FanDuel returns to state after 7 years

Nevada: regulators greenlight FanDuel to rebrand Boyd's Fremont Las Vegas sportsbook by year's end

Reading time 2:46 min

Las Vegas is set to welcome FanDuel by year’s end after the sports betting and daily fantasy sports (DFS) giant earned unanimous approval for a license on Thursday from the Nevada Gaming Commission. FanDuel’s parent company, Ireland-based Flutter Entertainment, along with several of its subsidiaries –including FanDuel itself–, are now allowed to collaborate in the operation of Boyd Gaming’s Fremont Casino property in downtown Las Vegas. The decision follows an initial greenlight earlier this month.

The partnership between FanDuel and Boyd is expected to launch at some yet unspecified point by the end of the year, with the Fremont sportsbook set to adopt FanDuel branding. However, existing Boyd personnel will continue to run the sports betting operation, and FanDuel will not supply any technology. Under the agreement, FanDuel will provide advice on odds and risk management through Boyd’s existing IGT sports betting system, reports Las Vegas Review-Journal.

A point was brought forward in Thursday's meeting with Nevada regulators, where commissioners voiced concerns over whether consumers would be confused about where to take player disputes. FanDuel executives said that given Boyd would continue to have the final say on all sportsbook decisions, it would be the place to take any concerns.

At the meeting, FanDuel executives also told regulators that they have no immediate plans to introduce FanDuel’s mobile gaming technology to the state, or a sportsbook completely operated by the company. However, FanDuel CEO Amy Howe left the door open to future developments and said “never say never” about the possibility of someday in the future applying for licensing for other services the company could provide there, further reports Review-Journal.

FanDuel operates sports betting in 15 states with several casino partners. Through its existing partnership with Boyd, FanDuel also operates commercial sportsbooks in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi and Pennsylvania. Boyd, which owns 5% of FanDuel, is the company’s largest partner and will cover 15 casinos in eight of Boyd’s nine regional states by next year.

The upcoming 2,300-square-foot sportsbook at Fremont is set to feature seating for 76 people, with wagering to be provided by Boyd at four windows and seven self-service kiosks. The amenity will also contain FanDuel signage and other branding insignias, plus a high-definition television viewing wall. In turn, FanDuel is set to receive an undisclosed percentage of the gaming revenue stemming from the sportsbook.

The decision to license FanDuel for its Boyd partnership allows the sports gaming giant to have a presence in the State of Nevada for the first time since 2015, when it offered daily fantasy sports contests there. However, state regulators decided that DFS was a form of sports wagering and companies had to be licensed as sports betting providers, a move that effectively shut down operations of both FanDuel and competitor DraftKings in the state.

FanDuel is currently the US top online sports betting, and is licensed in 15 states. According to California-based gaming research and consulting firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, the company is the top brand in 14 of the markets in which it operates. FanDuel currently has a nationwide market share of 47% of the gross gaming revenue generated in mobile sports gaming.

FanDuel recently saw cash flow of $22 million in the second quarter, making it the first US sportsbook operator to report a profit during a three-month period, reports The Nevada Independent. Parent company Flutter said it expects FanDuel to be profitable in all of 2023.

As for Boyd Gaming, its upcoming sportsbook with FanDuel is part of an ongoing $50 million expansion on the Fremont property, one of the company’s three downtown venues. At a second-quarter earnings conference last month, CEO Keith Smith called FanDuel “a great partner,” adding that Boyd’s 5% ownership was an “important strategic asset” set to grow more valuable as sports betting expands. 

The partnership with the sports betting giant is set to generate approximately $30 million in cash flow for Boyd in 2022, with the contribution expected to grow next year following launches in new markets, said Smith.

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