On Tuesday FanDuel launched the first major salvo in the sports betting arena ahead of the impending return of professional sports in the United States, providing a $10 site credit to every customer with a daily fantasy account and/or sportsbook account.
It is part of an $80 million promotion — the largest in FanDuel‘s history — designed to capitalize on the return of Major League Baseball, the NBA, and the NHL to action. MLB’s truncated 60-game season schedule is set to begin Thursday, the NBA will resume July 30, and the NHL will begin its expanded 24-team playoff with a qualifying round Aug. 1.
“We are excited for the return of sports and wanted to give all of our customers a chance to get in on the action for free,” said Mike Raffensperger, CMO of FanDuel Group. “Putting more than $80 million in site credits into our customers’ accounts to enter DFS contests or to make legal sports bets is a thank you to our customers for their loyalty during this long stretch without the NBA, NHL and MLB.”
Get ready for the media blitz
FanDuel will also be unveiling a new television spot Wednesday as part of its promotion, which also includes risk-free betting of up to $100 on a user’s first day of wagering between July 21 and Aug. 2. The $10 site credit will be voided if not used by Aug. 2.
In some ways, the ad campaigns of both FanDuel and DraftKings recall the days of a few years prior when the two companies relentlessly filled the airwaves with promotions for daily fantasy sports contests.
This time, however, the ad campaigns are touting sportsbooks and mobile apps in addition to DFS. Both companies are vying for supremacy on a state-by-state basis, with Illinois emerging as the latest key battleground for hearts and wallets. Both FanDuel and DraftKings moved a step closer to going live there Monday after obtaining temporary operating permits as Management Services Providers from the state’s gaming board.
ILLINOIS — We are on our way!
We're getting set to bring legal, mobile sports betting to the great state of Illinois very soon.
You can sign up NOW and receive a free $50 bonus once we're officially live 💰
— FanDuel Sportsbook (@FDSportsbook) July 21, 2020
Illinois is the sixth-largest state in the country in terms of population and the second-largest behind Pennsylvania in terms of states that have legalized all forms of sports betting. In the Land of Lincoln, FanDuel will be playing catch-up to a degree with its promotion since DraftKings appears to have already made a significant ad buy in the Chicago market.
The two online titans — who ironically will be entering Illinois via retail partners if everything goes according to plan — are also no longer battling solely each other for market share. With the U.S. Supreme Court striking down PASPA in May 2018, sports betting has widely expanded throughout the country, and with that expansion has come multiple sportsbooks rushing to capitalize.
Rush Street (BetRivers), FOX Bet, BetMGM, Penn National, PointsBet, and William Hill among others have all made inroads in various states, carving out niches both in retail and mobile/online where the latter is available.
Photo by Erik Williams / USA Today Sports