FanDuel Chief Draws Line On Gambling Advertising In College Sports

July 14, 2022
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FanDuel will continue to take bets on March Madness and college football, but CEO Amy Howe on Wednesday said she opposes gambling logos on the uniforms of college athletes.

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FanDuel will continue to take bets on March Madness and college football, but CEO Amy Howe on Wednesday (July 13) said she opposes gambling logos on the uniforms of college athletes.

“I don’t want the FanDuel … name [to] show up on a jersey or being plastered all over a college stadium,” Howe said during the SBC North America Summit at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Seacaucus, New Jersey, just outside New York City.

FanDuel, owned by Flutter Entertainment, is adopting a “nuanced” approach on college athletics because, “by definition, a lot of those consumers are underage,’’ she said.

Howe, 47, acknowledged that college football and March Madness — the men’s college basketball tournament — produce massive revenue every year for sportsbooks like FanDuel.

“But we’re doing all of that within a regulated framework,” she said during an interview on stage with CNBC gaming correspondent Contessa Brewer.

College sports are in flux with big conferences becoming more powerful and the National Collegiate Athletic Association losing its once-iron grip over universities and their athletes.

“When it comes to sponsorship deals along the lines of what we would do with the NFL or the NBA we’re going to be much more cautious about that [with college sports],” Howe said.

The upcoming pair of referendums this November on online and retail sports betting in California came up frequently during Wednesday’s SBC sessions and some panelists did not even want to talk about it.

“I’m not going to try to predict [the outcome], to be honest,” said Matt Prevost, chief revenue officer for BetMGM.

After receiving evasive replies from his panel, Playtech vice president Jonathan Doubilet said the California election affects “sensitive” interests.

FanDuel and DraftKings are sponsoring a referendum to authorize online sports betting, while California gaming tribes are pushing another referendum to limit wagers to their land-based tribal casinos and state-licensed racetracks.

Both measures will be on the California ballot on November 8 in what is set to be the all-time most expensive state ballot campaign in U.S. history.

Howe, who lives in the Los Angeles suburb of Brentwood, recited the talking points of the FanDuel and DraftKings referendum, especially the money it would produce to address California’s homeless problem, and said she was “very cautiously optimistic” it will pass.

Legal and regulated sports betting in California also would cut into the illegal offshore gambling market, she said.

But Brewer, the CNBC correspondent, said many gamblers have told her they prefer the illegal offshore sports-betting operators because they offer better odds and higher betting limits.

“That’s kind of an absurd way to look at the landscape right now,” Howe said.

Illegal offshore sports-betting operators are able to offer better odds and higher limits because they are not paying taxes or investing in responsible gaming and compliance programs, she said.

Howe joined FanDuel as its president in February 2021 and became its permanent CEO last October.

Before that, she was the global chief operating officer of Ticketmaster.

Howe made headlines last year when she said a race to grab a share of the U.S. sports-betting market is unsustainable and will result in the failure of many companies.

The current economic doldrums are likely to produce many mergers and acquisitions as the market consolidates, she said.

But it is too soon to know what, if any, impact economic inflation will have on the U.S. sports-betting market, and as for FanDuel, “the current fundamentals of our business are very strong.”

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