Fantasy sports are not new to Yahoo. After all, they have been hosting fantasy sports games for the past 16 years. But daily fantasy sports are different and Yahoo did not enter that arena till 2015 when they started hosting the daily games for real money, starting with Major League Baseball. They had a wide audience in the U.S. and Canada, but shortly after their foray into the online sports betting market, legality issues started popping up all across the U.S. Attorneys general started presenting cease and desist orders for their individual states. Yahoo backed away from the market and let DraftKings and FanDuel lead the expensive legal effort for individual state regulation.
Now that states are approving legalization, Yahoo is back in. But during the time Yahoo was on the sidelines saving money that would have been spent on legal battles, the two industry leaders grabbed most of the market share. Yahoo finds itself in a distant third behind DraftKings and FanDuel. And it’s not just in the U.S. that Yahoo will face an uphill climb for some of that market share. The UK has a fledging daily fantasy sports market and the UK Gambling Commission awarded licenses to FanDuel and DraftKings earlier this year.
Not to be outdone, Yahoo has announced that it is now also in the UK daily fantasy sports market. The UK Gambling Commission has granted them a license as well, making them the third legal DFS operator to set up shop in the UK. The license can be viewed on the UK Gambling Commission website. Yahoos’ UK website will host daily fantasy sports encompassing soccer and currency for the site will be in British pounds. Yahoos’ UK DFS players will also have access to Yahoos’ DFS sites in Canada and the U.S.
Mondogoal, a daily fantasy soccer site in the UK and former partner with Yahoo, closed its consumer-facing product just as Yahoo receives its new gambling license. Mondogoal and other DFS operators such as Global Daily Fantasy Spoerts see the future of DFS being a business-to-business proposition, teaming up with already established online sportsbooks, rather than continuing as a consumer-facing operation. Mondogoal has already linked up with an Italian sportsbook.
On a separate note, FanDuel and DraftKings announced that they would complete their merger in the latter half of 2017. Financial details weren’t disclosed, but cost savings and operational efficiencies are expected to be realized, affording the new company a clear path to profitability after a costly year of legal battles with attorneys general across the U.S.