DraftKings, FanDuel Lead May Tripling of Sports Betting App Downloads

Posted on: June 6, 2020, 04:23h. 

Last updated on: June 7, 2020, 10:58h.

Downloads of mobile sports wagering applications, including those offered by DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG) and FanDuel, more than tripled in May. That’s despite limited offerings on the US sports slate, according to new research from Morgan Stanley.

Mobile Sports Betting Apps Triple
Even with limited sports to bet on, wagering app downloads spiked in May. (Image: NBC Washington)

In March, the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament and postponements of the NBA and NHL seasons, among other scheduling quirks. But new users of betting apps increased 18 percent. By April, the limited sports menu sank in, prompting a 12 percent drop in app downloads. But that gave way to a massive 212 percent increase in May, notes Morgan Stanley analyst Thomas Allen.

Allen points out that DraftKings and FanDuel maintain dominant perches in the sports wagering app market. Other players in the arena include Fox Bet, MGM/GVC, and William Hill. Smarkets, another contender in this segment, just launched in Colorado, and could live in Indiana later this year.

The analyst called DraftKings, Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ:PENN), and William Hill (OTC:WIMHY) his “favored plays on US sports betting.”

App Boom Likely to Continue

With Major League Baseball (MLB) delayed, the surge in betting app downloads in May is being attributed to gamblers’ interest in charity golf matches, some NASCAR races, UFC events, and international sports, such as German soccer and Korean baseball.

Another contributing factor was Colorado joining the US legal and operational sports betting party on May 1. Although sports wagering opportunities were limited last month, the Centennial State reportedly booked $25.5 million in bets.

Allen forecast more strength in app download figures this month as the PGA Tour gets back to regular competition on June 11. July could be even brisker for online sports wagering companies, with Formula 1 racing restarting on July 5 and the NBA and NHL returning later in the month.

Uncertainty With America’s Pastime

A cloud of uncertainty hangs over MLB and when the league may finally start its 2020 season. There was talk that the league could resume play on July 1 with no fans in stadiums. But owners and players are at an impasse regarding how many regular season games will be played and the prorated levels of player compensation.

The contentious talks between the two sides are stoking speculation the season could be delayed until August, meaning fewer games and lower salaries.

The outlook for MLB resuming is more uncertain due to ongoing player-owner negotiations. But the return of MLB and NBA would be the most significant positive catalysts,” said Allen of the impact those leagues could have on sports wagering apps.

There’s something to that sentiment. In a traditional, non-coronavirus year, the NBA and NHL playoffs wrap up in June, leaving MLB as the preferred choice among bettors until college football and the NFL start around Labor Day weekend.

In the US, baseball is the third-most wagered-on sport after football and basketball. Assuming MLB starts a 2020 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees are the betting favorites to win the World Series.