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Fanatics and PointsBet made a splash in the US online sports betting market during week one of the NFL season, according to the latest edition of the US Sports Betting Market Monitor from Eilers & Krejcik Gaming (EKG).

The report includes several key data points and analysis from the US sports betting market, including year-on-year growth of nationwide betting handle and GGR, as well as the number of app downloads attributable to each operator during the NFL’s opening weekend.

Below, iGaming NEXT sets out some of the key talking points from the September edition of the report, using data up to July 2023.

Fanatics storms onto the scene

This chart shows the number of app downloads attributable to each of the biggest US online sports betting brands during the opening weekend of this year’s NFL season.

It shows some interesting trends among major operators, such as DraftKings maintaining the lead for most app downloads, albeit following a significant drop compared to the same period last year.

FanDuel outperformed its prior-year performance, meanwhile, helping to close the gap between itself and DraftKings, although it still remained some way behind.

The performance of BetMGM and Caesars left something to be desired, as they both underperformed in terms of app downloads compared to the same period last year, while the number of customers downloading Penn’s Barstool Sportsbook app all but collapsed.

Bet365, Fanatics and its now-acquired PointsBet business were the only smaller brands to make significant gains in this area.

Fanatics Sportsbook stormed onto the scene with more than 50,000 app downloads (no comparative data is available), while PointsBet saw its number of downloads grow more than 200% year-on-year.

Both brands leant on Fanatics’ core business by offering merchandise-based special offers to customers, which according to EKG “seemed to resonate with US online sports betting players.”

Those offers – including a free sports jersey for new players betting $50 with PointsBet – helped the two brands together capture some 14% of overall app downloads over the weekend, an impressive feat in a market dominated by a handful of huge brands.

EKG already expects other operators to respond in kind to Fanatics’ promotions, with DraftKings thought to be likely to use its nascent merchandise unit to get in on the sports apparel promotion action.

As for how big a pinch of salt the above data should be taken with, EKG suggested that questions to be answered include what percentage of app downloads came from non-live sports betting states, and whether the Fanatics/PointsBet products are good enough to retain the new players they have acquired.

Nationwide betting handle

The above graphic shows the 31% year-on-year growth rate in online betting handle across the US, to $97bn over the trailing 12-month period.

It also breaks down which states the growth is coming from in broad strokes, by separating US markets into separate cohorts depending on when they went live with online sports betting.

The data shows clearly a rapidly diminishing growth rate in the most mature states, with those that went live in or before 2020 generating just 2% in year-on-year handle growth.

Still, those states managed to account for more than half of overall handle at $49.1bn.

States than went live in 2021 showed growth of 15% as bettors there wagered $17.2bn, while 2022 states saw much faster growth of 133% year-on-year, with handle of $23.5bn

Across the states that launched online sports betting this year, bettors have wagered $6.2bn so far.

A closer look at the numbers on a state-by-state basis shows negative handle growth across several individual states.

Handle in Nevada was down 13.2% year-on-year, for example, while it fell 9.1% in New Jersey and 8.8% in Iowa.

As for the fastest growing states, Oregon saw handle increase by 41%, Wyoming by 31.6% and Washington, DC by 30.6%.

Honourable mentions also go out to Louisiana, where handle jumped by 27.6% and Illinois, where it was up 22.4%.

Nationwide GGR

Looking again at the nationwide figures, growth in GGR was much more impressive than the 31% increase in handle.

Overall GGR leapt by 80% to $9.1bn, as each cohort of states saw decidedly faster growth on this metric.

States that launched online sports betting in or before 2020, for example, saw GGR jump 39% despite their modest 2% growth in handle.

For states that launched in 2021, GGR was up 40% to $1.7bn, while 2022 states saw revenue almost triple to $2.4bn.

States that launched in 2023 have generated $795m in GGR so far.

Looking again at a more detailed breakdown of each state, established markets like Nevada and New Jersey saw the most modest GGR growth rates at 21.2% and 24.4%, respectively.

Washington, DC, being home to under a million residents and boasting modest GGR of just $8.5m over the trailing 12 months, saw a growth rate of just 14.4%, but the small size of this market leaves it as something of an outlier when compared to other states.

Elsewhere, Oregon posted the most impressive growth rate in terms of GGR, which grew 83.6% to $65.8m.

Not far behind were Illinois, where GGR grew by 57.7%, Wyoming, where it was up 56.4%, and Connecticut, which showed GGR growth of 56%.

Tennessee and New Hampshire also saw GGR growth of over 50% year-on-year, while Iowa, Rhode Island and Virginia all boasted growth of over 40%.

EKG’s monthly report provides a digest of news and data points, including forecasts, for the emerging market for regulated sports betting in the United States. Please contact managing director Chris Krafcik for more information.

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