Daily Fantasy Sports making its way to Asia

Following the trend of the international expansion of Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) outside of its birthplace, the USA, many believe that this is the next sensation in online gaming. Since Asian markets are poised to pick up DFS in the near future, DFS is expected to be one of the main topics at this year’s Global Gaming Expo Asia (G2E Asia) in Macau (May 16 – 18).

DFS games enable players to create fantasy teams made up of professional athletes, join or create leagues/contests, and earn points based on the actual statistical performance of the professional athletes in real-world competitions. Players pay an entry fee in order to participate, which funds monetary prizes and creates revenue for DFS providers.

The number of DFS players is expected to grow exponentially over the next few years, with around 50 percent of them forecast to come from the millennials’ market by 2020. How will the gaming and sports sector adapt its offerings and how are regulations in Asia evolving to take this product into account? This is one of the questions that will be discussed by Valery Bollier, CEO at Oulala, in a panel entitled ”Growth of fantasy sports and its impact on other industries”. The session, which will be part of the iGaming Summit, is scheduled to take place on Thursday, May 18th at 9:10am (UTC+8) at the Venetian Macau.

”G2E Asia is a key event, especially for European companies because it is the door to Asia, a growing market offering numerous stimulating perspectives for the future,” said Bollier prior to the conference. ”In Oulala’s case, it is even more important. We are the first company to successfully adapt Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), an American concept, to meet the international demand.”

Daily Fantasy Football in particular has a bright future in Asian markets, with special reference to China. Since its president, Xi Jinping, has made it clear that he is hoping to start the country’s rise as a football power, the country has great potential to become the biggest market for fantasy sports in the world.

Massive investments have already contributed to an increasingly growing interest for not just domestic football, but also for other national and international competitions. Interestingly enough, European international football tournaments are some of the most watched sporting events in China. More than half of Chinese football fans claim to support the British football competitions and some 350 million of them watch the games on a regular basis.

Moreover, football fans in China prefer to watch the games on TV rather than in football stadiums. This means that they are more inclined to use second-screen devices (mobile phones) which goes hand in hand with an advent of skill-based gaming and new games. As part of the ”Online Casino Trends and Developments” panel (Thursday at 10:20am), Valery’s colleague Benjamin Carlotti, Managing Director at Oulala, will be explaining this in more detail.

”The younger generations (millennials) now expect to play in a very different way from previous generations,” said Carlotti. ”Attempting to adapt the old success to their needs may seem like a suitable option, but we believe that we need to start from a blank page to develop games built around their exact needs. Since millennials have grown up playing the same skill games on their game consoles and having the same type of social interactions on social media, they expect our sector to become a natural extension of the video gaming industry. They want us to offer monetized skilled games that are structurally social games. Skill is already present in Asia, particularly in eSports because Asian millennials are precursors. It is therefore evident that, in the near future, some of the major changes in our sector will come from Asia. We are therefore very interested to come and speak at the G2E, and to meet local operators, because we believe that our B2B solution fits their exact needs.”