By Ken Edwards, 02 December 2018
Speaking at the ICE Sports Betting USA conference in Manhattan last week, DraftKings co-founder and CEO Jason Robins said its absolutely no surprise to him that the company is powering in its first months of operation in the State of New Jersey. In fact, DraftKings Sportsbook in the Garden State is a success that was carefully planned and is by no means a coincidence.
“We started mobilizing (for sports betting) as soon as the (U.S. Supreme) Court announced that they’d hear the (PASPA) case in late June 2017,” Robins said at last weeks’ industry conference.
“We had to figure out a whole business overnight,” Robins added. “We had never done this before. So, by the time PASPA got repealed, almost a year later, we were way further along than we might have been if we didn’t get ahead of it.”
DraftKings’ educated gamble has paid-off handsomely. The DraftKings CEO explained that sports betting is already more than 20 percent of the total of DraftKings’ business.
With an astonishing statistic, Robins proudly declared, “In New Jersey, it’s over 80 percent,” he said.
The dual-branding has many of Draft Kings Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) players choosing the DraftKings Sportsbook as their sportsbook of choice in New Jersey. In a state where sports bettors may choose up to 8 different mobile sports betting platforms, DraftKings’ brand recognition is assisting in rapidly transforming diehard DFS players into sports-betting-aficionados. Part of that success is down to the casual-and-social nature of playing DFS competitions helping to form a brand loyalty to DraftKings.
As Robins explained; “the casual bettor tends to stick with a brand”. It’s a new technologically-driven business formula ‘less is more’. Thus far, the DraftKings formula in New Jersey appears to be working. However, with the legislative season for sports betting legalization in other states about to open in January 2019, DraftKings Sportsbook will most certainly be looking to expand into the market of other states.
Where will DraftKings Sportsbook pop up next?
- DraftKings is already operating a land-based sports book at Scarlet Pearl Casino Resortin D’Iberville, Mississippi, where it operates three betting windows at this point in time, but is also looking to add an on-premise mobile sports betting app and on-site sports betting kiosks. With that presence, DraftKings is perfectly poised to add its online sportsbook into the Mississippi market as soon as mobile wagering becomes law in the state.
- New Yorkis another state where DraftKings will begin to offer its services. DraftKings announced a partnership with Del Lago Resort in Waterloo, New York in July 2018 that covers both land-based and online DraftKings Sportsbook operations. New York’s state’s gaming commission should eventually allow for land-based wagering at the state’s four commercial casinos, although the status of that regulatory effort is not expected to begin until January 2019 at the earliest. Online sports betting like that available in New Jersey may take longer to eventuate in New York as legislation to authorize mobile and online sports betting failed in the state legislature in 2018.
- More optimistically, Pennsylvania begun offering legal sports betting in November 2018 and ‘New Jersey style’ online sports betting is expected to be introduced to the Keystone State sometime in 2019. DraftKings will also be looking to partner with one or more of the Pennsylvania land-based casinos that have already paid the $10 million license fee.
Other states in the DraftKings Sportsbook mix include Rhode Island, Delaware and perhaps even Nevada. Despite Nevada’s anti-DFS laws, DraftKings opened an office in Las Vegas in 2018 and may be looking to launch as a sports-book-only-operator in the state soon.