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Riccardo Mittiga – Sportito – The DFS Dilemma

Italian DFS operator Sportito is focused on conquering the European market. The company believes there is a possibility for daily fantasy sports to take off throughout Europe, as it did in the States, and it has started its conquest by focusing on the UK market. 

SBC News Riccardo Mittiga - Sportito - The DFS Dilemma
Riccardo Mittiga, Sportito

Sportito is the Official DFS Partner of both Fulham FC and Burnley FC. The company is looking to show bookmakers why they should look to DFS as a customer retention and engagement tool, and CEO Riccardo Mittiga will speak on just that topic at the upcoming Betting on Football Conference in London in May (3-5).

Prior to that we caught up with him for an interview about DFS, its growth and its potential in various regions globally.

SBC: Why in 2017 are bookmakers increasingly looking to DFS products and why didn’t this happen last year?

Riccardo: Most bookmakers do not have the ability for software development to devote to side projects such as DFS. The few bookmakers that have these internal resources dedicate them to the main channels such as betting, live betting or casino.

Towards the end of 2016, some of the most innovative bookmakers found an agency or company to provide the DFS products to be installed on their platform. They opted to put it out and then see how their user-bases responded. Once this was underway, other bookmakers followed suit.

Between the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 DFS also enjoyed much greater visibility thanks to the entry of several new players in Europe, other small players in Africa and South America, and especially the announcement of the merger between two of the main players, DraftKings and FanDuel.

All of this is clearly positive to make the phenomenon of DFS known globally as well as it is in the United States.

SBC:  BetStars recently announced a significant investment into DFS with its $1 million jackpot game…it seems a more ‘basic’ version of DFS than most products – is this what it takes to appeal to a mass market? And how important is such a sizable jackpot pool to gain attention?

Riccardo: It’s normal that when there are major brands like BetStars (aka PokerStars) there are also marketing campaigns of this level.

In my opinion, only offering the big prizes is not enough, you also need a dedicated product which is well oriented to the preferences of the DFS players. This is something a major brand like PokerStars must also learn.

SBC: DFS is known in North America and it’s growing in Europe, but Latin America is regarded as a potentially highly lucrative region. Thoughts on LatAM for Sportito?

Riccardo: Most of the Latin American countries have a huge interest in online gambling and most of them are regulating their outdated gambling laws. Many of the big names in the industry are already eyeing the Latin American market. It is a great opportunity for Sportito to expand the business into this region.

Whilst it is starting to grow there, I think it will be a slow and gradual growth process when compared with Europe and North America. That said, there is definitely a potential user-base for DFS in that region.

SBC: How important is it for DFS to be recognised as a game of skill away from sports betting? Do you think the new Maltese licence will be replicated elsewhere?

Riccardo: DFS and sports betting are often mistakenly seen as the same concept and there are many arguments as to why they differ. Many argue that it’s a form of gambling which involves an element of skill and others argue the opposite.

It is important for DFS to be recognised as a game of skill in times when the legislation of some countries maintain restrictions against sports betting. Recognising DFS as sports betting is sometimes difficult for the operators to handle when implementation occurs in a new market.

When there are positive effects with the Maltese licence, usually they are also adopted in other countries.

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