DraftKings Sportsbook Plans To Expand Its Casino Games In A Big Way

We all know that Atlantic City casinos never close. And as of now, neither does DraftKings Casino.

The Boston-based company is the newest NJ online gambling operator to offer live dealer games 24/7. Farewell, 15-hour days.

But that’s not all. AC is the new home to the DraftKings-branded live dealer studio. Call it the latest advantage of partnering with Evolution Gaming.

Seats are open at five new blackjack tables. Plus, a high-speed version of baccarat is coming next week.

But the live dealer studio is just one piece of an ever-growing online puzzle for DraftKings.

DraftKings Casino responding to customer demand

So, why make such big moves like these?

Jason March, head of gaming for DraftKings, said the new offerings provide players with the games that are in high demand.

“Our customers really enjoyed the Evolution live dealer product,” he said in an interview. “And we felt we had a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on that and carry over our brand that we developed with our retail sportsbook at Resorts in Atlantic City.

“It has the same look and feel. It allows us greater control of the brand, the images and look and feel of the game play.”

Games are still being played the same way, and March notes the company will have better control of the table limits.

But one of the bigger changes is that players will now see screens behind the dealer. DraftKings will use them to display images and promotions.

In fact, said March, “We plan on running multiple promotions in live dealer, which hasn’t been done yet in New Jersey.” The previously shared table setting did not permit it.

But with a brand like DraftKings, it’s hard not to think beyond just digital promotions. After all, DraftKings Sportsbook is the No. 2 app in New Jersey.

AC casinos are constantly showing live sporting events on the gaming floor. What if an online operator found a way to do the same thing? After all, the DraftKings online casino platform is built into the sportsbook app.

The company needs to get broadcast rights before considering such a move, said March. But “that is something we are going to look into.”

For now, it will be DK-branded content. Say goodbye to staring at a static wall while you’re dealt a hand of blackjack.

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The faster version of baccarat

Visit any high-limit room, and it’s not hard to notice the blackjack tables far outnumber the baccarat offerings.

But there are still players who like the game. The demand caught the attention of DraftKings.

March said the new table will open on Monday. He notes the biggest difference is the cards are dealt face up. The game is typically played with the cards being dealt face down then turned face up.

“This will allow for a much quicker game and more hands per hour for the players,” March said.

Plus, the table limits will be lower than those being offered at the DraftKings-branded blackjack tables. The latter ranged from $15 to $250 on a Friday morning.

Is DraftKings building its own casino games?

There are currently more than 40 games at DraftKings online casino. Compared to some of the bigger sites, it is a small library. But March notes there’s a reason for that:

“We want to make sure we are offering exactly what our players want on a regular basis. Now we are doing weekly game releases and that will continue to get 100 games out by the first week of the NFL season.”

The goal is to release the new games in batches. That may seem like a stretch to get to 100 in the next month, but DraftKings has something up its sleeves.

The company is currently building some of its own games. Details are in the works on that front, but other partners will be providing games at the site as well.

What can players expect from all this? Well to start, a progressive slot offering and Halloween roulette (yes, you are reading correctly) are a couple of games in the works by DraftKings.

A ‘methodical’ approach

Many of us are familiar with DraftKings daily fantasy sports and NJ sports betting offerings.

The addition of online casino gambling, however, caught many by surprise. It brought the DFS company into a robust NJ online casino world.

Instead of rolling out everything at once, the company continues to take a “methodical, launch in small phases approach.”

Here is a brief look back at how DraftKings Casino got to where it is today:

  • Dec 17, 2018: DraftKings adds blackjack as a test to its online sportsbook.
  • First week of January: Four more games are added (roulette, video poker, and two slot titles).
  • Feb. 5: Live dealer games are rolled out via a partnership with Evolution.
  • Summer: A DraftKings-branded live dealer studio opens.

The approach is quite different from competitors who prefer going with a full library of slot and table offerings from the start.

Being a tech company, DraftKings starts by doing a lot of analytics “to make sure it’s a stable environment,” said March. “We are not going to just throw up 500 games and see what sticks.”

Gaining ground in the online casino market

The monthly online casino revenue numbers from the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement continue to paint a picture of how well the DraftKings Casino/Sportsbook model is working.

It falls under the Resorts Digital umbrella (the online arm of Resorts Atlantic City).

Yes, there are other brands operating under the license, but the spike in earnings coincides with the DraftKings Casino launch.

In January, Resorts reported an internet gaming win of $6,446,599. For comparison purposes, the previous month’s number came in at $4,353,648.

Fast-forward to June, and Resorts Digital was a key contributor to NJ online casinos hitting $38 million in revenue. The company reported $6,927,140 — an eye-opening 106.3% increase year over year.

Year-to-date, the number comes in at $43,612,874 — a 93.9% increase. It’s good enough for second behind Golden Nugget ($78,641,276).

Now with live dealer tables open around the clock, and more games to come, DraftKings Casino revenue will likely see another upswing.

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.