FastPick launched in New Jersey on July 17th, 2017. See our FastPick review!
Bad timing can sometimes generate positive results—just ask online gaming entrepreneur Joe Brennan.
His former daily fantasy sports (DFS) operation Fast Fantasy – which offered an innovative contest model consisting of point-based head-to-head matchups between athletes – is reemerging in May as FastPick, an exclusive partnership between Brennan’s rebranded company SportAD and New Jersey casino Resorts AC.
Timing Is Everything
After playing a pivotal role of the Garden State’s online gaming legalization efforts for several years, Brennan began to seriously consider delving into Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), noting that amid discussions about sports betting and casinos, state politicians also often brought up paid-entry fantasy sports.
“They basically said, this is something we’re eventually going to tax and regulate,” remarked Brennan.
That was enough to eventually send Brennan on the path of rounding up funding for a daily fantasy sports venture he’d go on to christen Fast Fantasy. The time was early-to-mid 2015, an era in which the DFS industry was seemingly on the fast track to another record-breaking year of revenue.
Caught Up in DFS Fallout
The train began derailing in October 2015 with the revelation that a DraftKings employee had possibly gained access to player ownership percentages prior to winning six figures in an NFL DFS contest on rival site FanDuel. The situation grew exponentially worse when New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent cease-and-desist letters to both DFS giants in November, setting up what would become a months-long legal battle and immediately creating a toxic landscape for any new companies trying to make headway in the industry.
Fast Fantasy was one of the unfortunate victims of the new DFS landscape. Having launched the very month that Schneiderman touched off the aforementioned legal maelstrom, the nascent operator immediately encountered what Brennan termed “a pretty hostile environment.” Never mind that Fast Fantasy had placed New York on its list of states it did not serve; payment processors and venture capital firms alike were bailing fast.
“The investment market [for DFS companies]didn’t just chill overnight, it practically froze,” recalls Brennan.
Pivoting to B2B
Fast Fantasy persisted for about six months, going through three payment processors and seeing marketing deals with affiliate networks that had been arranged prior to the legal firestorm go by the wayside. The company had always intended to pursue a secondary business-to-business (B2B) model, and when the consumer-facing paradigm was developing too slowly, Brennan and his partners decided to cut the cord.
“Almost immediately, we had a barrage of knocks on our door,” Brennan said, in reference to the move to an exclusively B2B approach.
Bringing DFS Closer to Traditional Casino Gambling
That transition eventually led to the Resorts AC deal that Brennan says will introduce DFS to a new audience, while simultaneously attracting consumers who already enjoy the activity, an attractive demographic for casinos.
“Casinos are intrigued by the audience that gravitates to DFS—young males with disposable income,” opines Brennan. “They’re trying to capture that audience for their brick-and-mortar establishments.”
The newly-announced venture is the first of what Brennan is expecting to be multiple similar partnerships with other casino establishments located in states where the legality of DFS isn’t an issue. According to Brennan, they’ll soon be moving to plant their flag in New York, with more states not far behind.
Simplicity, Casino Partner Keys to Success
The simple format of FastPick – one that eliminates traditional DFS components such as a salary cap, multi-player roster and competition against other entrants – is also a vital part of its potential appeal, feels Brennan.
“As has been proven by studies, the number one reason people stop playing DFS is that it’s too time-consuming. Our platform has a very low level of complexity.”
Gameplay will consist of selecting up to 20 head-to-head matchups between athletes for the slate of games that a contest is based on. A minimum of three head-to-head matchups will constitute what is termed a “live card,” and players will determine the entry fee of their game. Resorts AC will allow entry fees up to $10,000, ensuring that the game will appeal to virtually any size bankroll.
Considering the platform’s user-friendly format and Resorts’ stronghold within the NJ online gambling industry, Brennan is bullish on FastPick’s trajectory.
Resorts’ Online Gaming Operation Already on the Rise
While the partnership between SportAD and Resorts represents a new move in the industry, Resorts has also been climbing in traditional metrics. In March 2017, Resorts Online Casino, along with partners PokerStars and Mohegan Sun, brought in $4.2 million, growing their earnings by more than $1 million over the previous month. The Resorts brand alone increased its earnings by 58 percent.
Legality of FastPick
Another vital component of FastPick’s coming NJ presence is its apparent solid footing in terms of legality. A 2012 law paved the way for casinos within New Jersey to offer paid fantasy sports contests. The game’s format also stays strictly within the confines of the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, meaning no cash prizes are awarded based on the outcome of a single game, the production of a single player or any individual statistical category.
Where Can I Play FastPick?
Players will be able to enjoy FastPick within Resorts’ 30,000-plus square feet of casino space, and anyone within the physical confines of New Jersey will have full access to the platform on Resorts’ website and mobile app. For now, New Jersey is the only state where you can play FastPick.