FanDuel Sportsbook

FanDuel, historically a prominent player in the daily fantasy sports market decided, in 2018, to entered the world of sports betting with their sportsbook application.

Design Manager


2 Years


Native & Web


In 2018, the legalisation of sports gambling across various states in the United States marked a significant change in the industry. This regulatory shift prompted a flurry of betting providers to seize the emerging opportunities. Recognising this potential, the Flutter Group—which owns prominent UK betting brands such as Paddy Power, BetFair, and Sky Bet—decided to expand into the American market. They acquired FanDuel, traditionally a daily fantasy sports provider, leveraging its established brand presence in North America.

Initially, FanDuel entered the sports betting market with a white-labelled application from IGT, styled to match its existing online services. Despite a delayed start, the launch in New Jersey was highly successful, quickly regaining market share from competitors. This success was replicated with subsequent launches in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, reinforcing FanDuel’s leadership in the expanding industry.

Sounds great, Why Change?

Although the initial launch of the Sportsbook product was a success, after six months several significant challenges emerged for the team:


App Store Rules

Apple required all gaming applications to transition from wrapped web apps to native applications.


OutSourced Development

The development of the product was handled by IGT's internal team, which limited our control over the code.


EuropEan Focus

The app was primarily designed for the European markets, which did not resonate well with the US market and sports.


Group Power

Without owning the technology of the application, we were unable to fully integrate with the wider group’s technology teams, notably with the Global Betting Platform (GBP). Integration with GBP would enhance our offerings by accessing more markets, stats providers, and promotions.

Faced with an 18-month deadline from the Apple App Store and growing technical limitations impacting the business, it was decided to initiate an internal project, dubbed 'NxtGen', to develop a native Sportsbook application. This new application would better integrate and leverage the capabilities of the wider group.

IGT Web wrapped sportsbook

IGT Web wrapped sportsbook

Defining Scope

The initial stage of the 'NxtGen' project involved defining the priorities and constraints critical to its success. A diverse team comprising product managers, developers, data scientists, researchers, content writers, and designers was assembled to determine the first steps of the project. Given that there was an existing application already in operation, the team had access to a wealth of quantitative and qualitative data which would guide their decisions.

The process began with a detailed analysis of the existing data. This included both moderated and unmoderated research sessions and comprehensive platform analytics, which were presented to the group. The initial phase of these sessions focused on reviewing this existing analytics and research data, with insights provided by the analytics and UX research teams.

The team then prioritised tasks based on business goals and technical feasibility, ensuring alignment with strategic objectives. Following this, they developed a detailed roadmap that outlined the project's starting points, specific requirements, and necessary deadlines, setting a clear direction for the application's development.

⚽️ NXTGEN Goals

For the development of the 'NxtGen' Sportsbook application, our strategy focused on the following key areas:

  1. Incremental Gains: Instead of overhauling the existing white-labelled app completely, we aimed to make incremental improvements that would address known customer pain points effectively.

  1. Going Local: This strategy included localising the application to meet the expectations of North American users in terms of odds formatting, markets, and the sports/competitions offered.

  1. Align with Group: It was crucial to align FanDuel's product more closely with the technology stack of its parent company, Flutter. This alignment was expected to unlock additional features that would further distinguish our product in the competitive market.

  1. Embrace Native: The transition to a fully native React application was planned. This change would enable the integration of capabilities like Apple Pay and Face ID.

  1. Scalable: With more states looking to legalise sports betting, entering these markets early was critical for gaining market share. Therefore, the user interface was designed to be flexible and adaptable to any state-specific regulations that might affect it, such as responsible gaming tools, statements, and tax details.

Workshop session ideating on navigation structures

Workshop session ideating on navigation structures

Initial Design & Validation

The team initiated their efforts by revising the existing European-focused site hierarchy to cater to the US market. This adaptation involved prioritising "Gamelines" markets and the core four US sports: NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL, along with refining our tone of voice. The focus then shifted to optimising the site's navigation, examining several key customer journeys and cross-sell opportunities.

These proposed navigation were quickly sketched out in grayscale and handed over to the research teams. Conducting a series of validation tests, both moderated and unmoderated (maze) sessions, with existing customers to gauge the efficacy of the changes. Based on the feedback, the designs were iteratively refined until all navigational pain points were resolved.

Super low fidelity navigational prototype screens

Super low fidelity navigational prototype screens

Refined prototype screens, with gamelines coupons.

Refined prototype screens, with gamelines coupons.

Formation Design System

Once the core journeys were established in grayscale, the team moved on to develop the designs into higher fidelity. This process was significantly streamlined thanks to FanDuel’s established design system, known as ‘Formation’. Initially, the Formation system primarily catered to the fantasy product, necessitating close collaboration with the Design Operations team to integrate new sports betting-focused components into the system. Throughout this process, the team was committed to maintaining FanDuel’s distinctive branding and visual style whilst creating components that were not only accessible and understandable but also aesthetically pleasing to enhance customer experience.

Example of Formation Design System component documentation

Example of Formation Design System component documentation

Refine, Refine, Refine

The development process involved meticulously breaking down the app's core functionality and addressing each feature through iterative workshopping, crafting low-fidelity designs, and conducting rapid testing for validation. This methodical approach was applied consistently across all feature sets, drawing on insights from analytics and previous research to guide design choices. Designs underwent continuous validation through either moderated or unmoderated testing sessions with customers, using platforms like Maze.

Alternatively, to gauge performance and gather additional insights, A/B testing could be conducted on the live site. Once a design was finalised, it was thoroughly documented, presented to, and handed off to the delivery managers and engineering teams for implementation. Any necessary modifications identified during these discussions were made and subsequently revalidated with customers to ensure the final product met all requirements and expectations.

High fidelity betslip flow with formation components

High fidelity betslip flow with formation components

Hyper realistic prototypes for customer validation testing

Hyper realistic prototypes for customer validation testing

Launch & Outcome

The rollout of the product began cautiously, with an initial launch in West Virginia to ensure there were no significant issues before making it available more broadly. Once the application proved reliable, it was gradually introduced to other states via the NxtGen platform.

Following its release, the new app was well-received, particularly praised for its smooth and user-friendly interface. Comprehensive pre and post-launch testing confirmed that these enhancements significantly improved the user experience. This positive reception was reflected in the App Store rating, which climbed from 4.6 to 4.9 within the first three months of the launch.

Moreover, the improvements enabled FanDuel to accelerate its launch process in new states. As a result, FanDuel has successfully expanded its availability to 18 states, demonstrating the effectiveness of the NxtGen platform in supporting rapid and scalable growth.

Will Loveland 2024

Will Loveland 2024