The gambling industry here in the United States is changing at a rapid pace. As the legalization of sports betting sweeps through the nation, there has been a significant shift in attitude towards gambling in general. This has seen an activity that was once outlawed across the country now considered both socially acceptable and a means to fund state programs.
This has also led to considerable investment by online gambling companies in the US market. Here we take a look at the biggest spenders.
DraftKings is one of the biggest names in fantasy sports and since sports betting was legalized in New Jersey back in 2018, the company has prioritized its sports betting products. This has resulted in some hefty investment across multiple sports.
The company has signed partnership agreements to become the official sports betting partner of the National Football League and several NFL franchises. It has also inked similar deals with the NBA and NBA teams. Last year the company invested heavily in the UFC signing a $350 million deal with the organization.
The company recently released its end-of-year data for 2020, showing that it had spent an estimated $500 million on marketing throughout the year. This allowed the company to grow its monthly unique players from 684,000 in 2019 to 830,000 by 2020. Thanks, no doubt, to the many partnership deals mentioned above.
DraftKings has also made moves into the online casino market and is now operating in five states — Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Although it is fairly new to the industry, according to the review site USACasinoSites.org, DraftKings is now considered one of the top options in the country. This preemptive move into online casino gaming puts DraftKings in a pole position to dominate the online casino market should iGaming be legalized in more states.
DraftKings has been the noisier of the two biggest sports betting operators in the United States, but FanDuel has been making similar investments across multiple sports.
That said, the company’s marketing spend was less than half the $500 million spent by DraftKings. Incredibly, despite spending less on marketing during 2020, the company still managed to become the largest sports betting operator in terms of registered users. At present, the company now has over 12 million registered users in the United States alone. Impressive numbers especially considering that it now has 4 million more users than DraftKings.
Even with such a strong grip on the market, the company has decided to up the ante. Although we have yet to see figures released for the full year, the first half of 2021 saw FanDuel spend over $300 million on marketing. This suggests that when the final figures come in, its marketing spend for the year will dwarf that of DraftKings.
What about the rest?
Other companies such as PointsBet, BetFred, and BetMGM are also spending big on marketing and advertising in their efforts to grab a slice of the American pie. However, they’re not spending anything close to the big two.
For example, BetMGM, the betting arm of MGM Resorts, spent $100 million on marketing during the last 12 months. Australian online bookmaker Pointsbet is on a similar budget as it seeks to carve out a 10% share of the sports betting and iGaming market in the USA. While the company has committed $393 million to long-term marketing, the company is spending between $20 to $25 million during each quarter.
While the majority of online gambling companies are focused on the sports betting industry, for now, many have taken the same route as DraftKings and launched online casino products in several key states. If, as many expect, iGaming follows the same path as sports betting has in recent years, we can expect to see those marketing spends hit phenomenal levels as online casino legislation is passed throughout the United States.
Could we see an online gambling company top $1 billion in marketing spending in a single year? We certainly wouldn’t bet against it.