DraftKings Plants Sportsbook Flag In New Jersey With Resorts AC Partnership

Written By Juan Blanco on June 4, 2018

Between the two daily fantasy sports industry leaders, DraftKings has traditionally shown much more of a willingness to explore uncharted waters than FanDuel.

Last Friday’s announcement of a first-of-its-kind partnership with Resorts Atlantic City casino is just the latest example.

Momentum for DraftKings New Jersey sportsbook has been building

After months of laying the groundwork for a future sportsbook – including the hiring of a division head back in February – DK began picking up the pace even before the Supreme Court struck down the Professional Amateur and Sports Protection Act (PASPA) on May 14:

  • Rumblings of a possible DK-casino partnership in New Jersey began to surface in mid-April.
  • And in late May – post SCOTUS decision — DK began a marketing blitz for its sportsbook that included numerous billboards and electronic signs, including on roads heading into Atlantic City and at Newark Airport.

Partnership could be mutually beneficial

Under the just-announced partnership, DraftKings will utilize Resorts AC’s casino license in order to launch online wagering. That will put it in compliance with what’s expected to be a regulatory requirement that any entity offering mobile sports betting be tied in to a brick-and-mortar entity.

In forging a connection with Resorts AC, DK has aligned itself with the longest-tenured gambling establishment in New Jersey. Resorts became the first legal casino outside of Nevada when it opened its doors on May 26, 1978.

The partnership will afford DK an opportunity to cash in on what it believes gives it a formidable running start – an existing database of 10 million-plus real-money gaming enthusiasts who are already familiar with their brand, as well as the concept of putting cash at stake on a variety of sports contests. It could also serve as a boost to Resorts’ standing, considering it checked in last in revenue among Atlantic City casinos in 2017.

DK co-founder voices company’s optimistic vision

DK co-founder Matt Kalish voiced the company’s enthusiasm for its entry into the sports betting realm in a recent Facebook Live chat. When the conversation turned to the company’s sportsbook aspirations, Kalish offered the following observations:

  • DK actually started to consider a sportsbook last summer, so it’s put in an extensive amount of time into preparing for what’s about to transpire.
  • DK’s goal is to be ready to launch its sportsbook operations in every state as soon as regulatory requirements are set and sports betting is launched.
  • The “compliance technology stack” that DK has implemented – i.e. “know your customer” technology, geolocation capabilities, etc. — as a result of DFS regulatory requirements is directly transferable to sports betting.
  • Kalish reiterated that DK feels it’s “uniquely positioned” to succeed due to its aforementioned 10 million-player database.

Sportsbook marketing campaign likely to be aggressive

How large a share of New Jersey’s sports betting market DK will be able to claim at the onset naturally remains an open question. However, if its marketing history with its DFS product is any indication, the company isn’t likely to be very shy about making its presence known.

It’s important to note that prior to the legal scandal stemming from a contest data leak that enveloped the DFS industry in fall 2015 , DK participated in a full-court marketing blitz that resulted in a whopping $82 million ad spend in 2015.

While that level of visibility ultimately resulted in a level of unwanted scrutiny from legislators, DK will have no such concerns this time around.

Its previous advertising push served to shine an incandescent light on an activity – daily fantasy sports — that essentially existed in a legal gray area at best in almost every state; the opposite will now be true in any state that DK launches its sportsbook operations, leaving it unencumbered in terms of how aggressively it can publicize its newest sports-based gaming product.

Given Kalish’s proclamation that the company “doesn’t see any reason why it can’t be number on in sportsbook from Day 1”, expect a full-court press anywhere it looks to establish a sports betting foothold.

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