FanDuel Lands in Sin City

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Visitors walk by the Fremont Hotel & Casino under the Viva Vision canopy attraction at the Fremont Street Experience. Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP

FanDuel has been conspicuously absent from Las Vegas but that will soon change as Boyd Gaming intends to use the FanDuel brand name at its downtown sportsbook located in the Fremont Hotel Casino. 

What’s In a Name? 

There is a reason why companies pay millions for celebrity endorsers. They attract an entirely new audience to a product or service that would otherwise either be unaware of the company or unlikely to purchase from it. 

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And that’s precisely what is happening in Las Vegas where Boyd Gaming, a five-percent stakeholder in FanDuel, will use the FanDuel brand name to attract attention to its downtown sportsbook. It is really nothing more than a marketing device, as it will be business as usual at the Boyd Gaming sportsbook with its employees continuing in their current capacities.  

The Real Change

While the big change is the name, the only subtle change will be FanDuel odds being used at the sportsbook. The FanDuel mobile betting app will not launch under Boyd Gaming as it is not technically tethered to the casino and does not own a Nevada casino where people can register for the app.

The in-person registration requirement has been a highly criticized piece of the mobile sports betting legislation but it appears it won’t be going away anytime soon. 

Boyd Sports is the online platform used by Boyd Gaming in Nevada but in eight of its other states, it has partnered with FanDuel. This latest collaboration is likely an entrée into rolling out FanDuel’s online platform in the Silver State under the Boyd Gaming umbrella. 

Looking Ahead  

With more and more states adopting online sports betting legislation, Boyd CEO Keith Smith is focusing on the Kansas and Ohio markets as they prepare to launch sometime next year. 

“We also continue to expand our presence in sports betting and online gaming. Kansas and Ohio recently passed sports betting legislation and with our partner FanDuel we plan to offer retail and mobile sports betting in both states,” said Smith during the company’s second-quarter earnings conference in July.  

“Subject to regulatory approvals, we expect to launch sports betting in Kansas in the fall and Ohio around the first of the year, expanding our FanDuel partnership to eight of our nine regional states.,” he added. 

FanDuel Promotes Executives  

The announcement coincided with a pair of promotions within the FanDuel family. Christian Genetski has been named as FanDuel’s president while Mike Raffensperger will assume the reins as the chief commercial officer. 

Genetski previously served as the company’s chief legal officer while Raffensperger was the brand’s chief marketing officer. Amy Howe, recently named the company’s CEO, had glowing remarks for both men. 

Top Executive-Level Talent

“Keeping Christian’s deep institutional knowledge within FanDuel was critically important to me,” Howe said. “In his expanded role, Christian’s expert voice will impact decisions that are vital to creating a sustainable long-term business while providing critical continuity for FanDuel to thrive in the future.” 

“Mike’s leadership of our revenue-producing commercial units and marketing is a structure we believe best positions us for growth and reflects how important his performance has been to our success,” Howe said. 

FanDuel is the largest online sportsbook operator in the nation with a whopping 46 percent market share and also operates one of the largest DFS platforms. The promotions serve a dual purpose for the company as they retain executive-level talent and will continue to capitalize on the connections and relationships both Genetski and Raffensperger have cultivated in the industry.