DraftKings has long been a leader in daily fantasy sports. Now, it is swan-diving into sports betting.
Last week, the DFS giant announced it was partnering with Atlantic City’s Resorts Casino Hotel to offer sports wagering in New Jersey. Per the agreement, DraftKings will enter NJ sports betting under the Resorts land-based casino license.
For months DraftKings has planned on such a coup. Now, according to company CEO Jason Robins, DraftKings is “ready to go” as a prime New Jersey sportsbook.
Why get into NJ sports betting?
DraftKings had its pulse on the potential of sports betting for some time. It made sense for the company to expand into that market.
The customer base is much the same. Daily fantasy sports and sports betting both align with fan behavior. Sports betting was about to become the hottest ticket as acceptance continues to grow among lawmakers and the general public across the country.
And, of course, revenue from sports betting would largely outweigh DFS earnings.
In February, DraftKings hired a “Head of Sportsbook” to run the company’s new office in Hoboken. Why? New Jersey was theoretically on its way to winning its case with the US Supreme Court, which ultimately struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).
DraftKings, like many, was expecting such a ruling. Naturally, the company was looking to get its foot in the door of what should become a booming industry.
However, DraftKings was missing one key factor. In order to offer sports betting, DraftKings needed to partner with a land-based casino.
What’s old is now new
Resorts is the oldest casino on the Boardwalk. Eight years ago, the casino nearly had to close its doors. Now, it is doing something innovative.
In its 40th-anniversary year, Resorts is enjoying a renaissance — even when it was not even considered among the candidates to land DraftKings.
When DraftKings alluded to dipping its toes into the sports betting pool, incoming AC casinos Hard Rock Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino were considered more likely to partner with the DFS company.
To boot, Resorts already had an in-house fantasy sports product called FastPick.
Fast-forward a few months, and Resorts is your partner with DraftKings, which has a database of sports gaming enthusiasts including as many as 10 million players. (How many of those are “active” is a question for another time.)
“We are excited to work with Resorts Hotel Casino to bring our new DraftKings sportsbook to New Jersey,” said Robins. “As a tech savvy and a long-term growth-oriented organization, Resorts Hotel Casino aligns perfectly with our customer-focused, innovation culture.”
Resorts owner Morris Bailey was equally excited about the partnership:
“We are at a pivotal moment in the development of sports betting in the U.S. We are delighted to be able to have DraftKings utilize our gaming license in New Jersey. DraftKings continues to be at the forefront of sports entertainment innovation, and today’s announcement is the first step in being able to offer customers in New Jersey the most dynamic sports betting platform.”
What’s next for Resorts and DraftKings?
Certainly, no wagering can be offered until New Jersey passes legislation regulating sports betting. That said, details are few and far between in terms of how this partnership will work.
It is nearly assured that Resorts will boast a physical sportsbook, which will likely be DraftKings-branded. Still, how will the sportsbook be staffed, and how will risk management be handled?
In terms of mobile, DraftKings said in a release that it would “launch a sports betting app along with a web-based platform.” What technology DraftKings intends to offer has not been announced, nor if it will be offered in-house or if a third-party partnership will be developed. To date, DraftKings has only ever offered DFS contests.
Another sports betting partnership in place
Regardless of the questions, once NJ legislation is passed, which could happen as soon as June 7, it is expected that the first sportsbooks in the Garden State will open its doors.
Currently, Monmouth Park and Ocean Resort are both teamed with British bookmaker William Hill. Golden Nugget appears likely to partner with SBTech, though a deal has not been announced.
Resorts and DraftKings are looking to be among that first group to offer sports betting.