The United States gambling gold rush is on. Sports betting is now legal in almost half of all states in the USA and online casino gaming isn’t too far behind. In sports betting alone, there are over 40 mobile apps that are currently licensed and operating in the United States. It’s safe to say that the industry is booming.
With markets opening up left, right, and center, competition is fierce as each company looks for its piece of the American pie. And all that competition means one thing—advertising. Lots and lots of advertising.
According to research carried out by MediaRadar, sports gambling companies increased ad spend by 82% year-on-year in 2021. That included $200 million spent by three companies alone—DraftKings, FanDuel, and Bet365.
A large portion of ad spend was used to target people who were unable to visit retail sportsbooks or land-based casinos due to pandemic restrictions and forced closures. This was done mostly through online ads on social platforms and TV commercials.
This rise in advertising saw the global online gambling market grow from $64.13 billion to $72 billion in 2021. With this in mind it should come as no surprise that online casinos in the USA and sports betting providers will continue to invest heavily in something that has worked so very well for them over the past two years.
This is reflected in online gambling ad spend which grew by 62% year-on-year in 2021. Oddly enough, although the online market was the target, the majority of ad spend was on TV commercials. The industry spent $289 million on TV spots in the first ten months of 2021. This was more than double what was spent on digital advertising which amounted to $113 million. Meanwhile, print advertising languished far behind with an ad spend of just $10.8 million.
Incredibly, the United States’ top ten gambling companies accounted for 94% of total ad spend. Here’s what the top two bookmakers in the United States spent on ads and marketing in 2020.
The one-time leader in Daily Fantasy Sports, DraftKings is now considered one of the most reputable sportsbooks in the USA.
Since launching its first online sportsbook in New Jersey back in 2018, the company has invested heavily in marketing and seen its registered users grow to an all-time high. The company recently released its yearly data for 2020 revealing that it had spent almost $500 million on marketing during the year. As a result, monthly unique players rose from 684,000 in 2019 to 883,000 in 2020. At the same time, the average customer’s monthly spend grew by $12 to $51.
While potential customers are often drawn in with promotions such as free spins on slots, risk-free bets at sportsbooks or even no deposit bonuses at online casinos, draftkings has opted to offer new customers $1k in risk free sports bets.
While DraftKings may be making all the big moves in the industry such as purchasing VSiN and taking an interest in acquiring The Athletic, FanDuel has been quietly going about its business. The brand, now owned by Flutter Entertainment, is the market leader and has the most registered active users in the country. According to the company itself, it has an impressive 12 million registered users in the United States. That’s 4 million more than its nearest competitor, DraftKings.
FanDuel has achieved this by spending less than half of $500 million DraftKings spent in all of 2020. That said, in the first half of 2021, as more regulated markets opened up across the states, the company spent $300 million putting it on track for a $600 million ad spend for the entire year.
The chasing pack
Following hot on the heels of DraftKings and FanDuel are the likes of Bet365, Caesars, and Betway in particular. Although it may not have spent as much as the market leaders in 2020, Betway’s 2021 drive to build brand awareness through sports partnership deals could see the European bookmaker top the charts in terms of marketing spend. Although how much of a market share the company can take from the top two is anyone’s guess.
One thing we are sure of though is that DraftKings and FanDuel’s bet on advertising has paid off in a very big way.