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US sportsbooks compete for dominance ahead of NFL season kickoff


With the 2023 NFL regular season commencing on September 7, US sportsbooks are in a fierce battle to capture the market’s attention before the football frenzy begins. The NFL season launch is a pivotal event for US sportsbooks, considering that it generates more bets and revenue than any other sport.

How US sportsbooks have been preparing before the NFL season

Caesars Sportsbook is sticking with its ongoing “Go Full Caesars” campaign, featuring actor-comedian JB Smoove embodying a fictional Caesars persona. In response, DraftKings has unveiled its new campaign, aiming to convey that its sports betting app is the industry leader.

Starting August 21, DraftKings will roll out a new tagline, “The Crown is Yours,” in its commercials. Comedian Kevin Hart will once again be the face of the campaign, highlighting DraftKings’ latest promotion that rewards new players with $200 in bonus bets after their initial bet of at least $5.

In one previewed commercial, Hart humorously reacts to the generous offer, saying, “Instantly? DraftKings, you spoil me now with these big payouts.” Former NFL quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick also makes an appearance in the spot, explaining the promotion’s details to Hart.

While there’s excitement, many US sportsbooks are facing a decline

Amidst this marketing spectacle, the US sports betting industry is experiencing significant shifts. The US Supreme Court’s 2018 decision to lift the federal ban on sports betting outside of Nevada opened the doors to a potential multibillion-dollar market. However, the industry’s small profit margins and the burden of high taxes and fees have tempered its growth.

US sportsbooks compete for dominance ahead of NFL season kickoff

Recent developments include WynnBet’s withdrawal from eight states and Penn Entertainment discontinuing its Barstool Sportsbook due to regulatory concerns stemming from the founder’s reputation. Instead, Penn Entertainment is partnering with ESPN to establish ESPN Bet, a $1.5 billion venture. Yet, industry experts doubt that Penn Entertainment will significantly impact the sports betting landscape, with DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars Sportsbook, and BetMGM maintaining their dominance.

Related: NFL has thrown down the gauntlet and suspended players of the upcoming 2023-24 season

What’s ahead of the NFL season

Industry insiders anticipate that the US sportsbooks sector will consolidate in the coming years, with DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars Sportsbook, and BetMGM leading the way. While FanDuel and DraftKings declined ESPN’s terms for a partnership, Penn Entertainment stepped up, agreeing to pay $150 million annually to leverage ESPN’s brand for its US sportsbook venture.

This decision has led to ESPN severing marketing agreements with future competitors, potentially benefiting DraftKings and Caesars Sportsbook, which established multiyear commercial deals with ESPN in 2020. Despite this, DraftKings’ new advertising campaign won’t be featured on ESPN. Instead, it will be broadcasted on other major sports networks like Fox Sports, NBC Sports, FS1, the Big Ten Network, and SEC Network.

As the NFL season approaches and US sportsbooks vie for consumer attention, the industry’s landscape is shifting, with key players maneuvering to secure their positions in the competitive market. The strategies employed during this high-stakes showdown will significantly impact their future standing in the dynamic world of sports betting.

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