After two years of virtual conferences due to COVID-19, the gaming industry is gradually returning to its pre-pandemic form, as top industry leaders become less reluctant to come together for large-scale in-person events .

A host of senior executives, lobbyists and industry strategists gathered this week in Midtown Manhattan for the EGR North America East Coast Briefing, the first time the event has been held in person in more than 16 months. A block from the Empire State Building, Tuesday’s briefing was predictably dominated by a discussion of the rapid rise of the New York sports betting market.

As of April 22, bettors in New York had wagered $5.6 billion on legal sportsbooks in the state since the Empire State launched mobile sportsbooks in January. New York has already generated $191.7 million in tax revenue from online sports betting, shattering initial expectations. The EGR event occurred on 11and floor of the Midtown Loft & Terrace on Fifth Avenue, an area that has become the sports betting capital of New York largely because of its high concentration of sports bars.

There has been little customer loyalty for any particular brand in the crowded market. In the first three months of legal sports betting in New York, the average bettor placed bets on at least three separate apps, said Jeff Laniado, senior account manager at Optimove.

Laniado cited Betting Hero research that found New York customers used an average of 3.3 mobile sports betting apps statewide during this period, well above the average of 2.8 applications in neighboring New Jersey. While 23% of respondents used four apps during the period, only 6% of surveyors used six, according to Betting Hero. Only 4% of all respondents used seven apps, while 17% used just one app.

FanDuel and DraftKings step out of the pack

Two industry heavyweights, FanDuel and DraftKings, seem to have separated themselves from the rest of the pack. Among respondents, 29% of respondents chose DraftKings as their favorite brand, slightly surpassing FanDuel, which came in second with 28%. BetMGM, which placed third among New York’s eight licensees, received 12% of the vote.

FanDuel and DraftKings also distanced themselves from the field in terms of functionality and ease of use, with FanDuel ranking first among parlay bettors and DraftKings leading the way in single bets, according to Ernie Ropas, research director at Betting Hero.

As Caesars promotional spending dwindles, FanDuel and DraftKings have become the obvious beneficiaries. Last week, for example, the two sports betting operators were the only ones to report gross gaming revenue above $5 million. After setting a weekly record with $22.1 million in GGR for the week ended April 22, FanDuel has generated $110 million in revenue since its launch in January, translating into a whopping 29% market share. .2%.

Last Friday, eight of the nine mobile sportsbook licensees in New York went live, with Bally Bet the only holdout. Currently, BetRivers, PointsBet, WynnBET and Resorts World also offer mobile sports betting in New York.

Fanatics “the elephant in the room”

Sports betting stocks have suffered something of a retracement over the past six months, with some big names dropping more than 50% from their previous highs. One factor in the downward trajectory involves questions about the long-term profitability of the industry’s top sportsbooks, as companies engage in a costly marketing war to acquire customers. As stocks remain at depressed levels, the industry is eagerly awaiting the sports betting debut of Fanatics.

The launch of Fanatics’ sports betting division, Laniado said, is “the big elephant in the room” for the rest of the industry. Valued at $27 billion in its last funding round, Fanatics is diverse enough that it doesn’t need to be profitable with its sports betting arm right away, he noted. In 2018, Fanatics signed a 10-year agreement with the NFL that gave the company exclusive rights to distribute all Nike NFL jerseys.

Eilers & Krejcik Gaming reported this month that Fanatics began development of a sports betting platform after acquiring source code from Amelco. While multiple outlets confirmed the story, Fanatics denied having made a deal regarding the acquisition. Amelco has sold numerous copies of its source code to major US carriers including Hard Rock, Fubo, FOX Bet, and PlayUp.

Typically, under such agreements, a bookmaker will enter into a revenue sharing agreement and pay an upfront fee to Amelco for a copy of the code. Then, gradually, an operator such as Fanatics will put its own brand on the product as the company develops its in-house product.

Lloyd Danzig, founder and CEO of Sharp Alpha Advisors, drew parallels between rumors of the Fanatics deal and the acquisition of SBTech by DraftKings several years ago. Much like DraftKings’ handling of SBTech’s integration, Fanatics can “rip” source code acquired from a company such as Amelco and then build on it, Danzig explained.

“This process of extracting source code and building from scratch is quite a long process,” Danzig said. Sports handle.

As a result, it may come as a surprise that Fanatics kicks off sports betting at the start of the NFL regular season, Danzig said.

Reaction to Ridley’s suspension

While representatives from several major sportsbooks and the NBA attended the conference, the NFL did not send any executives. Last month, the NFL suspended Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley until the end of the 2022 season after the wide receiver placed a series of NFL bets in violation of league gambling policy. Sports handle later learned that Ridley had made several additional bets on top of the bets originally reported.

During a panel on Tuesday, NBA executive Scott Kaufman-Ross was asked about his reaction to Ridley’s suspension. Although Kaufman-Ross did not comment specifically on the suspension, he did note that the NBA had significantly increased training for its players on the game as part of its rookie onboarding process.

“We are making it very clear that not only players — but coaches, coaches, team employees and league employees — are not allowed to bet on the NBA,” said Kaufman-Ross, vice-president. senior president, head of fantasy and games for the NBA.

Kaufman-Ross also appeared on a panel with Lindsay Vellines, senior director, league and team marketing at FanDuel. Vellines addressed the pervasive nature of sports betting advertising, an issue that society faces every day. The problem became particularly acute in New York during the NFL playoffs, when fledgling sports betting operators flooded the airwaves with advertisements.

“It’s important that we’re here 20 years from now,” Vellines said. “We learned the lessons that other markets learned for us.”

Ifrah Pitch Award

Last year, Pittsburgh-based Hedge won the inaugural Ifrah Pitch competition, an award given annually to a promising startup in the gaming industry. Hedge bills itself as the “acorns of DFS” thanks to its alternative investment concept.

At Tuesday’s conference call, Hedge CEO Jackson Fitzgerald provided the audience with an update on the company’s upward trajectory. Ifrah Law Founder Jeff Ifrah also presented Skrmiish, a peer-to-peer esports gaming platform, with the 2022 Ifrah Pitch Award. crypto payments, and Gambless, a mobile app that helps gamblers recover from gambling addiction.

After the conference, Rush Street Interactive won Operator of the Year 2022 honors at the EGR North America Awards banquet. Rush Street is the parent company of BetRivers and PlaySugarHouse.com. BetRivers, which is live in 13 US states, launched this month in Ontario.

“It is an honor and particularly meaningful for RSI to be recognized by top leaders in the gaming industry for our passion for developing innovative and intuitive betting experiences and for always prioritizing winning and retaining the confidence of our players,” said Rush Street Interactive CEO Richard Schwartz. A declaration.