DraftKings Adds Same-Game Parlays, Chasing FanDuel In Illinois Sports Betting Revenue Race

Posted By Joe Boozell on August 6, 2021

DraftKings Sportsbook has added same-game parlays to its menu of sports betting options. This wager that has been a major component of chief competitor FanDuel’s marketing strategy over the last few years.

draftkings same game parlays

What is a same game parlay bet?

A same-game parlay is when you can combine multiple bets from the same game or team into one parlay to maximize winnings. For example, you might be able to bet on Justin Fields throwing for more than 300 yards and a Bears win.

Since Fields’ passing numbers theoretically influence whether or not the Bears win, it’s often an attractive betting option. Plus, if you’re a Bears fan, bets like that are fun! Still, parlay bets drive revenue for sportsbooks.

FanDuel is a prime example. Let’s dive into why it makes sense for DraftKings to offer same-game parlays.

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FanDuel is the sports betting revenue leader in Illinois

FanDuel in Illinois is king when it comes to revenue. It profited $20.3 million in June, the second straight month it has cleared the lofty $20 million bar.

DraftKings profited a healthy $14 million in Illinois in June. However, it led all online Illinois sportsbooks in handle yet didn’t lead in revenue. That’s consistent with the trends we’ve seen in the Land of Lincoln ever since sports betting became legal.

The contrast was even more striking in May. FanDuel made $20.2 million in revenue that month in comparison to DraftKings’ $7.2 million figure.

When asked about its tendency to outperform other IL sportsbooks in hold rate, FanDuel director of publicity Kevin Hennessy told PlayIllinois:

“We are thrilled with our trajectory in the state of Illinois. We are now the clear leader in revenue following a strong performance of our NBA offerings and our industry leading same game parlay product. Illinois customers can expect more market leading promotions like risk-free same game parlay as we head into the summer.”

And, as we know, parlays are significant revenue drivers for sportsbooks.

According to the Illinois Gaming Board report, basketball betting was the most popular wager in June. It generated $126.9 million in handle and $8.6 million in revenue.

Parlays, meanwhile, accounted for $101.1 million of the state’s handle. Yet they generated a whopping $22.8 million in revenue.

While DraftKings is the most popular sportsbook in Illinois by total handle, Illinoisans generally head to FanDuel to place their parlay bets.

In June, FanDuel’s parlay handle was $50.9 million. No other sportsbook cracked $30 million, and that has also been consistent with trends in previous months.

We don’t have the data to tell us how much a same-game parlay affects hold rate in comparison to a normal parlay. But even if it’s a bit more advantageous to the player (which is an assumption, not a fact), it’s still a winning proposition from the operator’s side.

If this reminds anyone of when Instagram Stories popped up after Snapchat had pioneered the concept, you’re not alone.

Illinois falls to No. 3 in June US sports betting handle

IL registered $476.5 million in June sports betting handle. That was down more than $30 million from May, and Nevada leapfrogged the Prairie State in the process.

It’s worth noting that in June, the COVID-19 situation was looking rosier in the US than it is now, and there were likely more Las Vegas trips happening than in prior months. Regardless, it looks like Illinois’ in-person registration policy is starting to show up in the revenue numbers.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker ended online registration in April, but the April revenue report was solid. May and June haven’t been quite as strong, and we are now months into the state not being able to add new users remotely.

Come football season, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Illinois fall back into the No. 4 spot behind Pennsylvania. Either way, Illinois has a robust sports betting market, and it will be fascinating to see how same-game parlays affect DraftKings’ future revenue numbers.

Photo by Nam Y. Huh / AP
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Joe Boozell

Joe Boozell has also been a college sports writer for NCAA.com since 2015. His work has also appeared in Bleacher Report, FoxSports.com and NBA.com. Growing up, Boozell squared off against both Anthony Davis and Frank Kaminsky in the Chicagoland basketball scene ... you can imagine how that went.

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