Opinion: Why DFS is an opportunity for poker operators

Dina Niron, Founder & CEO of consultancy Spark Advisory explains how Amaya and Winamax are ahead of the curve on DFS


Contrary to the gloomy expectations regarding the future of the Daily Fantasy Sport “DFS”, back in October 2015, it is clear today that DFS is booming.

Over 7 states in the US alone have fully regulated DFS thus far, including, Tennessee, Colorado, Mississippi, Nevada, NY, Virginia and Massachusetts.  Additional US states are considering legislations, such as Maine while Malta is working on a dedicated DFS licensing regime.

While poker has been declining for several consecutive years now, it seems that DFS is well poised to fill that gap. There are strong synergies between poker and DFS:

  • Players’ demographic: overwhelming number of male with substantial income, 54% aged between 18 and 34.
  • Similar operational requirements such as liquidity, wide selection of available games (or rooms and tables in poker),  guaranteed prizes, and a substantial social component in the form of strong bond which connects  fans to players, their teams and their preferred  sport,
  • The most popular buy-in was $5 or less.
  • Most importantly, nearly half of the DFS players, said they used to play online poker!!!

Until recently poker operators didn’t offer DFS and their players had to play elsewhere, meaning poker operators couldn’t benefit from the potential cross-sell between the verticals.

But now global operators are seeking an entry point to this industry and are acquiring B2B providers as well as the very few DFS sites in order to quickly and effectively achieve market share.

Amaya was one of the first to realize the potential in DFS when it acquired Victiv, a DFS site in August 2015 ahead of the US legal turmoil and rebranded it: StarsDraft, though it is currently operating in a limited number of states only. More recently, NYX closed a deal with Global Daily Fantasy Sports Inc. to offer the product worldwide.

Winamax, the leading poker brand in France prior to PokerStars, was the first to bring DFS to France.  Oulala, another DFS platform has inked a deal with GIG in order to expand its operations to Italy. Similarly, Sisal and Lottomatica partnered with Mondogoal, yet another DFS B2B provider.  According to Mondogoal CEO: “The Italian market for daily fantasy is growing rapidly”.

At present Amaya and Winamax, the leading poker operators and the only ones to currently offer one-time-gambling-shop including DFS, are therefore best situated to grasp the huge potential.

I am confident that the cross between poker and DFS will become apparent in the near future, proving that the high hopes for DFS in the US and Europe are not a fantasy anymore.


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