FanDuel CEO Amy Howe: 'There's a huge opportunity' for more women sports bettors

FanDuel CEO Amy Howe sits down with Yahoo Finance Live to talk about the volume and type of Super Bowl bets that will be seen on the sports betting platform, women participating in sports betting, and regulating gambling in California.

Video Transcript


BRAIN CHEUNG: You know, with sports gambling going online in so many new states between last year and this year, there could be a record amount of bets placed on this year's match, the American Gaming Association forecasting over $7.6 billion to be bet on Sunday's game. Let's bring in Yahoo Finance's Josh Schafer who's got the breakdown of what to expect in terms of the gaming volume, Josh.

JOSH SCHAFER: Yeah, Brian, so the American Gaming Association, as you said, expecting $7.6 billion this year. That's up more than $3 billion from last year, so a big uptick. And they're expecting 31.4 million Americans to bet on the game, that's up 35% from last year.

I spoke earlier this week with the American Gaming Association CEO Bill Miller about the increase in betting interest from last year. And he really cited legalization and the genuine interest from bettors to bet by legal means. Part of this is because they like the marketing deals, the promotions, the apps they're seeing from these companies, and the way that they're able to use that in an easier way than maybe the illegal means that they're used to.

And more states in general are just opening up legal gambling. We can see on the map here that we now have 31 markets that are going to be available for some level of sports betting on Sunday. That's 10 more states than were available last year. So it's growing and growing, and Miller predicts it's going to grow more this year leading to next year's Super Bowl.

Three states right now are legal but not active, and seven states have legislation filed where it might change in 2022. He said some big states to watch moving forward are Florida and California, those major big states with huge populations. We just saw last month with New York $1.6 billion in about three weeks of gambling when New York opened up. So those big markets have been huge for these gambling companies.

And I did want to hit on some other more fun numbers at the end here, just, kind of, what's going on with the game and the gambling. So we saw Action Network release some numbers that we have about where the money lies for the game, who's betting where. Seems like more people so far are betting on the Rams. The Rams are 4 and 1/2 point favorites. That seems to be where people are, kind of, hedging their bets.

And then we have some other more fun ones, the MVP. I know a lot of folks here on the show are fans of Joe Burrow. He's at plus 230 odds to be the MVP, and then Rams receiver Cooper Kupp comes in at plus 550 odds. These are odds out on the FanDuel. And a final fun bet for you guys that I personally love, I think it's great, the Gatorade. You can bet now-- this is how these gambling companies are growing so much, guys. You can bet on pretty much everything. You can bet on the Gatorade, what Gatorade is going to be dumped on the winning coach?

You can see you got orange and blue in there. And then if you're really looking for that value play, way to make a quick buck, you can go purple Gatorade at plus 1,180. That's $10 to win $118, not bad if you ask me.

BRAIN CHEUNG: Yeah, but at the same time, Josh purple is absolutely the worst Gatorade flavor. But thanks for breaking all that down for us. Yahoo Finance's, Josh Schafer. Well, let's bring in one of the sportsbooks in the middle of it all. Amy Howe is CEO of FanDuel, actually joining us live from the Radio Row at the Super Bowl and also Yahoo Finance's Dave Briggs also back in the stream for this conversation.

Amy, it's great to have you on Yahoo Finance Live. I want to ask you just about the broad expectations as Josh was laying out. A lot of volume could be coming in. Do you have any projections, expectations for usage of your app on Sunday?

AMY HOWE: Yeah, we sure do. Listen, this Super Bowl is going to be the single biggest sports betting event in history. So that just gives you a sense of the magnitude of what we're coming into. On our platform at FanDuel, we're expecting upwards of 7 million bets. We think 50% of those are going to be playoff props. You just talked about some of those.

And it just makes for a much more engaging experience, right? It's not just about the outcome of the game but you have skin in the game on, who's going to be the MVP, and who's going to score that first touchdown? So it's just going to be unprecedented volume, and we saw that during the playoffs too. Our playoff volumes four times what we saw last year. So it's going to be a banger weekend for the business for sure.

DAVE BRIGGS: Amy, Dave Briggs here. It looks like Pat McAfee is having a good time behind you. Not sure what he is drinking there.

AMY HOWE: Pat is having a good time. He's drinking iced tea, just to be clear.

DAVE BRIGGS: How big is the female demographic in sports betting? And I saw a study that actually suggests women are far more successful than men when it comes to sports betting. What do the numbers show?

AMY HOWE: Yeah, well, as you can imagine, this is a topic that I care deeply about. If you look at the statistics, 50% of sports fans are women. If you look at the sports betting population, it's actually much lower than that. It's really, you're showing 33%, our numbers would suggest it's even lower than that.

But there's a huge opportunity, right? When you see just how much the sports fans over index, it's a big priority for us. But listen, we talk about the fact that online sports betting is in the early innings. On this topic, I think we're on the pre-game show, but there's a lot that we're doing to really try to own this.

One is we're supporting female athletes. We were the first to support the WNBA. We have a great relationship with the Women's Tennis Association. So I believe it starts with fundamentally supporting that female athlete.

And then in terms of reaching the consumer, we've done some great things and partnered up with just trying to find ways to make sports betting less intimidating to the female consumer. So lots more runway there, but I think this is a really exciting untapped opportunity that we can go after as an industry and as a company.

AKIKO FUJITA: Amy, let's talk about where you are in the state of California because online betting or sports betting, I should say, is not legal yet. There is a push to try and get it on the ballot come November. And you had three California tribes come out this week attempting to block that initiative, saying they'd set aside $100 million for it. Talk to me about the potential you see in California, how significant that market is and the road, the challenges you see to legalizing online sports betting there.

AMY HOWE: Yeah, California represents a huge market, and the American Gaming Association just put out a study that said that 80% of Americans want sports betting to be legalized and regulated. And that's exactly what the residents of California want. We've been working very closely with the Native American tribes. FanDuel, along with a number of other operators, are supporting California for solutions and that money is going to homelessness and mental health.

And we're very busy collecting the number of signatures that we need to get that on the ballot for November 22, so cautiously optimistic, but that's exactly what the residents want. They want to be participating in a very safe and legal and regulated way as you're seeing in the 14 other states right now, so optimistic.

DAVE BRIGGS: Amy, Dave here again, so sports betting apps are going all out to lure new customers. And FanDuel's promotion has really got some attention. Several friends have reached down to me. I am a proud user of FanDuel and said, explain to me this 56 to 1 odds that can't be real. It must be too good to be true. Can you explain how that works?

AMY HOWE: I can. It's a great promotion. You have to remember that NFL, and Super Bowl specifically, is our biggest acquisition event of the year. And so we're going to be more generous for this event. But basically, if you spend a $5 bet and your team wins, we're going to boost that odds 56 to 1, and you're going to win $280 if you pick the right team. So that's for new users that sign up.

But we also have a great risk-free Same Game Parlay promotion that any user on the platform can get. So there's lots of ways to participate. And candidly, even if you're not in one of the 14 states that are legalized, you can participate in fantasy sports and other great bingo events. So there's opportunities for everyone to really elevate that sports experience in the Super Bowl specifically.

BRAIN CHEUNG: Amy, and last question here, once you onboard people, perhaps through your promotion, how do you keep people on the app? Because it seems like loyalty is going to be an issue with so many competitors out there. How do you keep people coming back to FanDuel after those promotions are no longer around?

AMY HOWE: So we're laser focused on making sure that we have the best product in the marketplace. We have been the home of Same Game Parlay for now several years. For NFL this year, we had 80% of our NFL actives try to either parlay or Same Game Parlay, so we're going to give them the most innovative product, and that's what keeps them coming back for more.

And at the end of the day, we also need to make sure that we have a safe platform that's easy to use. And we're incredibly proud we've made it through the NFL where we had record volumes that surpassed last year's Super Bowl and the stability of the product is really terrific. So it's all about a great product and a seamless experience.

AKIKO FUJITA: Amy Howe, FanDuel CEO racing for a very busy week. Enjoy the game. Wishing you the best of luck this weekend.

AMY HOWE: Thank you so much.