DraftKings Reflects On A Robust Start In NJ Sports Betting Since PASPA’s Fall

Today is a day for celebration at DraftKings.

It’s exactly one year to the day that the US Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

The 1992 law was deemed unconstitutional. Once it was out of the way, sports betting got the green light across the US. New Jersey became ground zero for the burgeoning market.

Twelve months later, the DraftKings Sportsbook app has enjoyed some robust business in the Garden State.

DraftKings Sportsbook app since launch

Jamie Shea, DraftKings head of digital sportsbook, shared some mind-blowing numbers with NJ Gambling Sites on Tuesday:

  • Number of bets taken since launch: About 17 million
  • Total payouts since launch: Over a half billion
  • Mobile betting makes up more than 85 percent of NJ revenue

Keep in mind, this first-to-market app didn’t launch until Aug. 6 of last year. And since then, the market has ballooned to 14 apps and 10 retail.

That being said, DraftKings has been the leader, if not No. 2, in NJ online sports betting.

Looking back with DraftKings

So the mood at the Boston-based headquarters is pretty upbeat. Shea explained:

“Last January we were deciding if this is the path we were going to take. We said ‘absolutely yes.’ We wanted to give our customers the best US experience.”

DraftKings, like FanDuel Sportsbook, comes from the daily fantasy sports world. But according to Shea, entering the NJ sports betting market seemed like a “natural flow.”

The company took the best of what the established Nevada and European sports betting markets had to offer.

And once the gates opened, the ball got rolling and has not stopped.

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Celebrating the PASPA decision

New Jersey customers are celebrating with a DraftKings party.

Why? Because this is a historic occasion. Besides being the Garden State’s first mobile sports betting app, it was the first to launch outside of Nevada.

So for DraftKings, this day is known as Free to Bet Day. The free bet amount of $5.14, of course, coincides with the date. But special odds boosts are also part of the celebration.

From Jason Robins, DraftKings co-founder, via a press release:

“The Supreme Court’s decision led to a crucial period of rapid growth and development at DraftKings … but none of our success in this first year of legalized betting would have been possible without our incredible customers.”

Shea said customers are taking advantage of this single-day offer. The most popular pick? The odds boost on the Golden State Warriors to win the NBA title. It was paying -154 and is now boosted to +514.

Shea said as of early afternoon more than $3,000 in bets have come in on the defending champs.

In golf betting, the big question everyone wants to answer is will Tiger Woods win this weekend’s PGA Championship? The odds on that wager have been boosted to +1500.

And speaking of the 2019 Masters champ, DraftKings, like other sportsbook operators, looks forward to rewarding its customers. That includes paying out more than $1.5 million for Woods’ victory at Augusta.

“It’s good for everyone,” Shea said.

“If you get punched in the face three times you are not going to get back in the ring again. We want our customers to have the best time and experience when betting with us.”

And speaking of NJ sports betting revenue

This anniversary celebration just happens to fall on the same day as April revenue numbers release. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement announced the latest figures on Tuesday afternoon.

The numbers made a splash to the tune of a $313 million in handle.

DraftKings sits solidly in the No. 2 spot again. But like the previous months, FanDuel and DraftKings continue to dominate the market, leaving little for everyone else.

Resorts Digital (consisting of DraftKings, BetStars NJ, and Resorts NJ sportsbook) reported $4,766,701 in revenue.

Only Meadowlands Racetrack (FanDuel and PointsBet NJ) fared better.

DraftKings + growth opportunities

So it’s clear DraftKings knows how to succeed in a mobile sports betting world.

But the company is not about to slow down in the growth department. In employees alone, Shea said the company has more than doubled in size. And that’s just in the past year.

With DraftKings Casino integrated into the sportsbook platform, the app has designs on more than just sports. It’s possible it will start taking a larger chunk out of NJ online gambling, too.

But the addition makes sense, said Shea. And you can expect things to remain the same as the app’s one-year anniversary approaches.

Shea said DraftKings will continue pushing what’s working:

  • Really good promotions
  • Listening to customers
  • Offering something exciting

And listening to customers includes making changes.

One that could come as early as next month is eliminating the sign-in process to view the odds. It’s currently the lone platform in NJ that requires a username and password prior to checking out the odds board.

New Jersey + the rest of the US

But what is working in New Jersey may not work in other states, said Shea.

One year later, DraftKings is preparing to enter any and all states that pass legal sports betting legislation and to which they have an invite. It already has a retail book in place in Mississippi and is eyeing a launch in West Virginia.

But who’s on deck?

TennesseeIowaIndiana, and Montana are just a handful of states where the company could launch in the near future.

Shea is not at liberty to discuss those plans just yet. But like creating the DraftKings sports betting app, the company is thinking big.

“We plan to be in every state we can be in.”

And without the Supreme Court overturning PASPA, all of the above would be a dream.

About the Author

Bill Gelman

Bill Gelman is a veteran sports writer based just outside of Philadelphia and not too far from the Jersey Shore. Bill spends time in Atlantic City writing about casino openings and expansions, special events and world championship boxing at Boardwalk Hall. He is now adding NJ sports betting and online gambling to the mix.