Can Betr Parlay DFS Game Into NC Sports Betting License?

Online sportsbook operator Betr has launched a daily fantasy sports product in North Carolina in what could be a precursor to applying for a sports betting license.

Betr Picks went live Monday in 23 states, including North Carolina, and the District of Columbia. It follows the controversial path of many new DFS operators in the market. Users can choose two to eight players to exceed or fall below their statistical projections. Users can win up to 100 times their initial entry if they get eight picks correct.

Betr Sportsbook, part of the Betr brand founded by Jake Paul and Joey Levy, is live in Ohio and Massachusetts. It also has plans to launch in neighboring Virginia. Betr Sportsbook and Betr Picks have been combined into a single mobile app – the Betr Fantasy & Sportsbook app.

“Betr Picks represents the first time Betr Gaming is able to more fully capitalize on the nationwide media audience and brand of Betr Media,” Levy said on social media. “You will also notice that our app is no longer positioned as a microbetting-only app, but rather is titled Betr – Fantasy & Sportsbook. This is step one towards building a real money gaming super app. Ultimately, our app will be Betr – Fantasy, Sportsbook, + other real money gaming products.”

NC sports betting licenses

Online sports betting in North Carolina will launch in the first half of 2024. The North Carolina Lottery Commission (NCLC) can issue as many as 12 online betting licenses. The NCLC still must develop the regulations surrounding the industry, including operator licensing.

BetMGM Sportsbook has confirmed it is eyeing a sports betting license in NC. It is almost a certainty industry leaders FanDuel NC and DraftKings NC will launch in the state, along with Caesars NC, which operates retail sportsbooks at two of the state’s three tribal casinos – Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River. A wealth of enticing online sports betting offers in North Carolina are expected to be available post-launch as the various books compete for the attention of state bettors.

How Betr fits into the North Carolina sports betting landscape remains to be seen. Efforts to reach Betr regarding its future plans in North Carolina and what role Betr Picks plays in those plans were unsuccessful.

“To be clear, we plan on continuing to expand our online sports betting business,” Levy said on social media. “V1 of our sportsbook product remains on track to go-live in the first half of next year, which is when we plan on turning on new states and accelerating our investment in that line of our business.”

Betr’s performance in Ohio, Massachusetts

Betr, a live-betting focused sportsbook, has struggled in the Ohio and Massachusetts sports betting markets.

In June, Betr held a 0.13% market share in Ohio, the lowest among the state’s 18 online sportsbooks. Its handle for June was $469,586, and its revenue was $26,301. Only two other books had less revenue. For comparison’s sake, market-leader FanDuel had $120.3 million in handle and $14 million in revenue.

The situation for Betr isn’t better in Massachusetts. After launching May 8 in the state, Betr’s handle in June – its first full month of operation in the Bay State – was $290,650. That amounts to a 0.09% market share, last among the state’s eight online sportsbooks. Its June revenue was $10,829, nearly $211,000 behind its closest competitor, Fanatics ($221,608).

Massachusetts’ market leader, DraftKings, had $159.5 million in handle and $15.1 million in revenue.

DFS scrutiny nationally

Betr Picks’ play model mirrors other operators accused of disguising sports betting as daily fantasy sports. Operators such as PrizePicks and UnderDog feature users-against-the-house contests for real money in games centered on the stat lines for specific athletes. Essentially, users are parlaying player props.

The model has caught the attention of regulators and other operators.

In July, the Wyoming Gaming Commission accused PrizePicks and Underdog of offering illegal, unlicensed sports betting, according to Legal Sports Report. Wyoming’s crackdown followed PrizePicks pulling out of Maryland and West Virginia after state regulators questioned the operator.

Cesar Fernandez, FanDuel’s head of state government relations, told attendees last month at the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States summer conference that these businesses are “posing as fantasy sports operators, and they are running illegal sportsbooks.” FanDuel and DraftKings’ success as sportsbooks is primarily due to their daily fantasy sports business.

The Coalition for Fantasy Sports, comprising PrizePicks, Underdog and Sleeper, defends the operators’ practices by citing the federal Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act’s skill-based carveout for fantasy sports and called criticism from other DFS operators “disingenuous” and “bad for consumers.”

 

Image: Ashley Landis / AP photo

About the Author

Jason Schaumburg

Jason Schaumburg is a content manager for Catena Media with responsibilities for NCSharp, PlayFL and PlayTexas. He has more than 20 years of journalism experience and spent nearly four years as communications director at the Illinois Lottery.