In the United States, mobile app stores can seem almost boundless. Just about every conceivable category is not only there, but is typically packed with a dozen or more apps to choose from. One glaring exception over the years, however, has been sports betting. Until 2018, this kind of activity was prohibited throughout most of the United States. However, when the state of New Jersey won a Supreme Court case on the matter in 2018, the law changed to allow any state to legalize betting. As a result, several states have done just that, and more are going to before long.
This introduces vast possibilities for the app market, and specifically for sportsbook providers who are open to app development. Having been the first state to break through with fresh gambling legislation, New Jersey now has various betting apps that have been made available to the public. With other states imitating New Jersey, and in some cases welcoming the same apps, it’s clear that a fresh category is emerging; Americans across the nation will soon be able to place bets right on their phones.
The question now is which apps they’ll prefer when doing so. And while there are certainly a lot of options already, there’s reason to believe that the likes of DraftKings and FanDuel could be at the front of the pack.
There are a few other possibilities worth acknowledging before we explain why DraftKings and FanDuel appear to be in a good position. One, for instance, is that the existing infrastructure of European and other international sportsbooks will win out. Companies like Unibet and 888sport, which are already active and quite popular abroad, are indeed among the options bettors can find in the emerging app market. They’ve been maintaining sportsbooks successfully for quite some time, and so could present themselves as some of the most trustworthy and professional early options.
Another possible option — though there’s not much indication of it at this stage — is that we could see the same old tech giants enter this space and come to dominate it. This may sound unlikely, but just think about the various ways in which these tech giants have stepped beyond their ordinary bounds over the years. From something as simple as Google using Spotify to build a better alarm clock, to Apple creating a subscription mobile gaming arcade, to Facebook prepping the launch of its own cryptocurrency, it’s clear we shouldn’t put anything past these companies. That one would step into the sportsbook market isn’t an outlandish idea.
Even with these possibilities on the table though, the mobile sportsbooks from DraftKings and FanDuel appear poised to dominate, and for a fairly simple reason: familiarity.
When sports betting was entirely prohibited in most of the U.S., the daily fantasy competitions hosted by these companies filled the void for millions. While not technically a form of sports betting (at least as far as the law is concerned), daily fantasy allows fans to wager real money on the performance of athletes in real competition. Over the years, business surrounding this activity has been good. According to a 2020 report, the daily fantasy sports industry brought in $350 million in a single year, in 2019.
What this means, ultimately, is that untold millions of enthusiastic American sports fans willing to put real money on the line are already signed up with DraftKings and/or FanDuel. And with both companies now having launched their own mobile sportsbooks, they’re likely to get their chance to hang onto those customers by providing a reliable betting service.
This is likely to be a massive market in fairly short time, and to be sure DraftKings and FanDuel won’t be the only success stories. As we watch this new app category develop though, they’re likely to become some of the first major players.
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