Exciting news for daily fantasy football players, because alongside the existing offerings from DraftKings and Mondogoal, it appears that FanDuel, a Scottish-born, United States-based company which has made a major splash in the US and Canada, is launching a United Kingdom-specific product that will focus on the English Premier League beginning in August 2016.
Details are still emerging of what FanDuel intends to offer the UK gaming public, but reports say that the product will take a significantly different shape than those familiar to DraftKings UK and Mondogoal players. In those products, there are differences in how points are awarded and how squads are put together, but the same basic principles apply: notably, fantasy "managers" must build up a team of players from a list of active footballers on a particular day's slate, and make sure that team comes in under the predetermined salary cap.
Daily fantasy football is a fairly new concept in the UK, with the majority of fantasy players having been brought up on season-long contests run by the major UK newspapers and the Premier League itself. The challenge has been to persuade people new to the concept to try entering teams on a one-day basis for cash prizes, as it requires a different skillset to picking players to go through the whole campaign. We have no indication of how FanDuel intends to meet this challenge, but indications are that we can expect a tailored product that is designed to be more accessible to a wider audience than its competitors.
With six million registered users in North America, FanDuel is popular with an audience that plays fantasy American football, baseball and other contests, and it feels confident of repeating that success in a new territory. FanDuel is in the final stages of securing a UK Pool Betting licence, according to Legal Sports Report, and it already has a Gambling Software licence. With controversy in the US focusing on whether daily fantasy sports is gambling or a "game of skill" as its supporters claim, obtaining a gambling licence in the UK circumvents any difficulty there.
To make the FanDuel Premier League experience even more realistic, the company has secured the rights to live statistics from Opta, the Premier League's official data-provider and the place that clubs, fans and broadcasters already rely on for inch-by-inch analysis of player and team performance on the pitch. This will make points-scoring and the data behind player salaries closer than ever to reality.
Stay tuned to FantasyWired as more news develops on the FanDuel UK launch!