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Sportsbooks Bank Big on Parlays in 2023
With 2023 in the books, numbers are available for the year that can provide insight into sports betting trends, especially when compared year-over-year against similar numbers. If one number jumps out from the 2023 report, it’s the hold percentage – or the amount of the sportsbook’s handle that was ultimately converted into revenue.
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Through October, American online sportsbooks reported a hold of 9.4 percent – a significant bump from their 8.1 percent hold in 2022 and 7.5 percent hold in 2021. Responsibility for that jump in profit has been given to parlay betting, which has become a feature of the sports betting scene.
Online Betting Growth Spurred by Parlays
Peter Jackson, CEO of Flutter Entertainment – the parent company of FanDuel – spoke extensively about the profitability of FanDuel in the United States through 2023. He directly credited same-game parlays and tighter lines with helping the company extend their pricing advantage over the industry in their first-half report. Overall, Flutter reported their gross margins were up 1.7 percentage points in the first half of 2023.
Of course, sports betting – like pundits often call the NFL – is a copycat league. Once the merits of parlay betting became apparent, it became easy to find parlay options at American sportsbooks.
Parlays Thrive at Top Betting Providers
“It’s a great example of a win-win for the customer and the business,” DraftKings CEO Jason Robins said of parlays. The comments were made back in May, at the MoffettNathanson Inaugural Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Conference.
“We’ve seen no decline in demand as we’ve increased [the] hold rate,” Robins continued. “The important thing is we’re not increasing it by making the odds any worse for customers. It’s just by pushing more parlay mix and things like that.”
In November, DraftKings announced they’d take parlay betting a step further, unveiling the DraftKings Professive Parlay. The feature – which is currently live in but requires users to be on a mobile device and version 4.29 or higher of the DraftKings Sportsbook app – allows bettors to place parlays of 3 to 12 legs and still receive a payout if not every leg of the parlay hits.
Most Popular Parlay Bets
Several parlay betting types are available for sports bettors looking to get in on them across the top betting apps. Here’s a sample of the most popular ones:
- Longshot Parlays – the odds of winning a longshot parlay are long, as would be expected, but sportsbooks will run promotions aimed at encouraging players to submit them. Even if the parlay doesn’t hit, bettors can still submit qualifying longshot parlay bets at certain sportsbooks and receive bonus bets or boosted odds.
- Same-Game Parlays – known as SGPs for short, same-game parlays consist of bets made on lines or props offered on a single game. Bettors who feel confident in the outcome of a certain game can load up a parlay bet and potentially walk away with significant winnings if they prove to be right.
- Progressive Parlays – now available at DraftKings, Progressive Parlays allow bettors to bet on a parlay with up to 12 legs and still win if they miss up to 4 legs of it. Exact terms and conditions vary based on the size of the parlay, but it’s a tradeoff that allows players an increased overall chance at winnings in exchange for a reduced payout if they’re lucky enough to win every leg.