The app basically serves as a customer referral engine. In states where sports betting isn’t legal, it will identify possible new users for SuperDraft’s paid fantasy contests, according to CEO Steve Wang. In states where sports betting is legal, it will be used to refer potential real-money bettors to Caesars.
In addition, the app’s prizes will include Caesars Rewards, like vacation packages, dining and golf outings, a way for Caesars to more directly integrate itself.
“The first step is to get our product out there to see what kind of traction we can get,” Wang said in an interview. “The next thing is to figure out whether the free-to-play customers have a propensity to wager in some capacity.”
Established sports betting operators have increasingly turned to fantasy companies to enhance their product offerings and to identify future gamblers. On the same day that Caesars announced its minority investment in SuperDraft, a deal with an option to increase its stake to 100% over time, Bally’s announced it was buying another fantasy site, Monkey Knife Fight, in an all-stock deal worth $90 million.
Fantasy games are allowed in many more places than legal sports betting, meaning SuperDraft can reach sports fans in states like Texas, California and Florida, while Caesars’ sportsbook sits on the sidelines. SuperDraft operates in 35 states, compared to just 15 for Caesars and William Hill (which Caesars is in the process of buying).
SuperDraft, which has about 110,000 registered users, started working on the free sportsbook app in late 2019. Back then, the company wanted a product that could grow a loyal following and eventually turn into a real-money sportsbook once SuperDraft acquired regulation and licensing.
While that’s still on the table, Wang said the number of sportsbooks already operating—and the money needed to compete with them—will likely alter that plan. The investment from Caesars is a new factor as well.
“We’re not sure whether we’re going to get affiliate fees, it’s yet undefined,” Wang said. “Caesars made a big investment in us to help them build their customer base, and our job is to promote our DFS product and hopefully acquire new users with a sports betting app of some sort.”
The free sportsbook, which will be separate from SuperDraft’s fantasy app, was developed alongside France-based Sportnco. Players will be able to “wager” on all major U.S. sports using a currency called SuperCoin, which can be replenished if a bankroll runs out. Users who earn enough SuperCoin will be able to redeem it for prizes, such as gift cards, electronics and Caesars Rewards.