Boom Fantasy Blowing Up the Competition

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NEW YORK -- Ka-boom!  - While many of the dozens of fantasy sports operations that have sprung up over the past few years have died or are dying, one such operation is exploding in popularity.

You could even say business is booming.

Boom Fantasy (www.boomfantasy.com) is more than 10 times larger than it was just a year ago, and the reason is simple: the fantasy sports wagering it offers is similar to legal sports wagering in Las Vegas.

In fact, Boom Fantasy's product is as close to real sports betting as one can find among fantasy sports ops.

In a match-up between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants, which quarterback will pass for more yards, the Pats' Tom Brady or the Giants' Eli Manning?

That's the kind of proposition or "prop" bet that Las Vegas sportsbooks regularly offer for the Super Bowl.

Boom Fantasy offers that type of wager for every NFL game of the season.

And 36 states have deemed that this type of betting is legal!

So how did Boom Fantasy get started and why is it thriving while so many competitors have died on the vine?

Gambling 911 last week journeyed to the heart of Manhattan in New York City to visit the headquarters of Boom Fantasy and interview head honcho Stephen A. Murphy, who is the CEO and co-founder of the booming company.

Here is a transcript of that interview:

Gambling 911: How does your fantasy sports operation work and how is it different from the many other fantasy leagues out there? What states and countries are you legal in and how do you stop players who are not in those locations from joining? And what is the age limit to join and how do you verify that?

Steve Murphy: Boom Fantasy is the largest pick 'em daily fantasy site in the U.S. While most sites offer complicated salary-cap formats that allow professionals to fleece casual players, Boom Fantasy offers a much more accessible format that puts true fans on a level playing field with sharks. On Boom Fantasy, players answer simple questions like 'Which player will have more passing yards -- Tom Brady or Eli Manning?' We are legal in 36 U.S. states and have successfully been granted permits in a variety of states, including New York. We use sophisticated geo-location and KYC software to ensure we know the identity and location of our players at all times. Players must be at least 18 years or older to participate in real-money contests.

G9: How much does it cost to join and what do you get for your money?

SM: It's free to join and play. If you choose to deposit, you can play real-money contests for larger prizes. We'll run a $250,000 prize pool contest this NFL season and we have given out millions of dollars in prizes since we launched.

G9: Why is your operation legal and why isn't it considered gambling? Is there really any difference between guessing which team will have a good day and win a game, which is gambling, and guessing which players will have good days, which is legal fantasy play?

SM: Boom Fantasy operates in accordance with all Federal and state laws. In the Federal law's Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), fantasy sports were specifically carved out as a game of skill and separate from gambling.

G9: How did you get into the fantasy sports business? Can you tell us about your personal background?

SM: I have been involved in real-money gaming most of my career. Prior to founding Boom Fantasy, I consulted MGM Resorts on social and online gaming, served as vice-president of business development for High 5 Games and worked as the managing editor of Card Player Media.

G9: How are you preparing to go up against your big-name, commercially successful competitors?

SM: We have raised over $3 million from top investors and are well-capitalized to continue to grow our business. We are focused on building the best possible product. Boom Fantasy offers a very different product than DraftKings and we are confident it will appeal to a different segment of the population.

G9: What has been the growth rate of your business since last year?  What is the driving force behind that growth?  Has the media coverage fantasy is getting this season translated into a boost for your own business? And how many paying customers do you have right now?

SM: Boom Fantasy has grown 12 times year-over-year in revenue and 22 times year-over-year in deposits. The product is organically growing because players love it and because they are sharing it with their friends. The media coverage on fantasy sports has certainly been a big boost to our business.

G9: Can you compete with the likes of ESPN and Yahoo in fantasy sports?

SM: We have no interest in offering season-long fantasy sports at this time.

G9: Would it make sense for a fantasy company like yours to team up with an online sportsbook partner? Such a partnership would give you a ready-made customer base of sports-betting fanatics, so have any such companies approached you or vice-versa?

SM: We have been approached by a variety of online gaming companies. We are evaluating the merits of various partnerships.

G9: Where are you based?

SM: We are based in New York City.

G9: Where do you expect fantasy in general and your company in particular to be a year from now? Do you expect legal sports wagering to become more widespread in the U.S. in the coming years? If you do, how would that affect fantasy?

SM: I think it is very likely the U.S. will have more legal sports wagering options in the coming years. I view the sports betting market as very complementary to daily fantasy sports and I think generally that consumers having more freedom to spend their money as they choose is a good thing.

By Tom Somach

Gambling 911 Staff Writer


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