Paddy Power Betfair in merger ‘discussions’ with FanDuel
Paddy Power Betfair, the Ireland-based betting company, is in talks over a possible merger with FanDuel, the US daily fantasy sports platform.
The Irish betting group said it is in discussions with FanDuel about the “combination” of its US business with the fantasy site.
It comes just days after the US Supreme Court effectively gave states the right to legalise sports betting after it ruled that the Professional And Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which prohibits the majority of sports betting outside of the state of Nevada, was not consistent with the US constitution.
In a statement, Paddy Power Betfair, which launched a betting product in USA in 2016, said: “Paddy Power Betfair plc notes the media speculation, and confirms it is in discussions regarding a potential combination of the group’s US business and FanDuel to create a combined business to target the prospective US sports betting market.
“Discussions are ongoing and there is no certainty as to whether agreement will be reached, or as to the terms of timing of any transaction.”
FanDuel is a lucrative target for bookmakers looking to enter the US market as it is already an established gaming brand.
The platform also has a huge database as most of its users play for free. Around 10 million people in USA are said to be registered with a daily fantasy sports site such as FanDuel or rival DraftKings.
DraftKings, which at one time had planned to merge with FanDuel, plans to launch its own sports betting product later this year following the easing of betting regulations.
The Supreme Court's ruling allows states to permit sports betting operations at racetracks or casinos. It is expected that online sports betting will be available if a platform partners with a land-based licence-holder.
Around 19 of the country’s 50 states have recently passed or introduced legislation in anticipation of the decision.
However, states in the ‘bible belt’, namely those with a strong Christian heritage, like Utah, are not expected to implement sports betting.
The question of taxation and the role of major sports leagues remains to be decided.