FanDuel ‘focused on growth’ ahead of UK launch

FanDuel chief executive Nigel Eccles. Picture: Contributed

FanDuel chief executive Nigel Eccles. Picture: Contributed

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Fantasy sports firm FanDuel has brushed off concerns over its finances as it gears up to launch its offering in the UK for the first time this year.

Chief executive Nigel Eccles said the company’s recently reported $94.9 million (£65m) loss has not deterred the US-focused firm from entering the UK market.

He said: “It’s not unusual for a company that’s growing fast to show a loss. We’re focused on growth and the board is happy with that.

“We’ve wanted to go international for some time and we’ll be launching in time for the new Premier League season. There are five million people that play fantasy sports in the UK, and there are even more who will be willing to play.”

Valued at more than $1 billion, Edinburgh-based FanDuel is backed by the likes of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Google Capital and NBC Sports Ventures. It is a major player in the US fantasy sports market, where players pick teams and compete against others for cash prizes.

However, the firm has come up against regulatory hurdles in the country because some states claim it is in fact a gambling site and falls foul of gaming laws.

READ MORE: FanDuel faces ‘significant’ doubts amid legal clampdown

But despite legal battles, Eccles is confident the firm can emerge victorious.

“The regulatory situation has improved over the last six months, more and more states like Indiana and Virginia are coming around to our view that it’s a game of skill, so we’re not worried about that,” he said.

Despite its legal challenges, FanDuel generated record revenues of $87.7m for the 18 months to 30 June 2015.

Eccles added that the approach in the UK will not be “copy and paste” as the British market plays fantasy sports differently.

READ MORE: FanDuel moving HQ to £50m Quartermile site

In the UK, players will pay an entry fee of as little as £1 to scrap it out over the season, with 90 per cent of the fees going towards prizes and the remaining 10 per cent going to FanDuel.

The company will also look to expand into Europe, depending on how successful the UK is.

“The UK football market is a test, Europe would be the obvious next step but we need to see how the UK performs first,” Eccles said.

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