Leading daily fantasy sports (DFS) provider DraftKings today revealed a partnership with Atlantic City’s Resorts Casino to offer sports betting inside the Garden State.
The announcement comes just a few weeks after the Supreme Court overturned a law prohibiting the activity throughout most of the US. The decision has sent New Jersey casinos and gambling-related brands into a mad scramble to get their sportsbook operations ready to launch as soon as the law permits.
DraftKings will offer its platform on an array of Internet connected devices, such as desktop computers and mobile apps.
CEO Jason Robbins told the Associated Press that the site was ready to switch on its sports betting product as soon as it gets the green light from regulators. It’s unclear if the company will use in-house technology or partner with a more established provider.
The DraftKings brand will resonate in NJ
DraftKings owns a huge chunk of the DFS market, and has been operating daily fantasy games inside New Jersey for years. The site won’t have any trouble marketing sports betting to its large database of NJ customers, many of which are likely eager for the chance to place the types of sports wagers previously only possible in Nevada.
“We have a well-known brand that’s very closely identified with winning money on sports,” said Robbins.
In anticipation of a favorable Supreme Court ruling, DraftKings has been staffing up a sportsbook operation for several months in the state. In February, the company opened a new office in Hoboken, hiring Sean Hurley as its new “head of sportsbook.”
Known, or rather infamous, for its aggressive marketing, DraftKings even began advertising its yet-to-exist sportsbook on billboards peppered throughout the Garden State, just a short time after the May 14 Supreme Court decision.
Resorts lands another big fish
Resorts has been quite successful at wooing top gaming brands. The casino, which operates its own online gambling site powered by the SG Digital platform, also serves as the umbrella for online poker behemoth PokerStars.
Internationally, the poker site is top dog, and quickly became the market leader in New Jersey when it opened up shop in 2016. In general, the poker vertical has been a big disappointment in New Jersey, due to the ring-fenced nature of US online gambling. PokerStars’ dominance in NJ is also being tested by competitor WSOP/888 due to the new liquidity sharing agreement between New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada.
With DraftKings, the casino has found another premier partner in a vertical which could be much more profitable than the online poker side of its business.
“The market is huge,” Resorts owner Morris Bailey told the AP. “It’s how much of that market we’ll be able to get.”
It’s worth mentioning that Resorts isn’t totally new to DFS-style products. Last year, its online casino launched FastPick, a hybrid daily fantasy game which somewhat skirts the line between DFS and sports betting.
Who else is teaming up?
The DraftKings/Resorts partnership is just the latest in several sports betting alliances we have seen come together as of late. Its main rival in the DFS space, FanDuel, was recently acquired by Paddy Power Betfair, which already runs its own NJ online casino licensed through Golden Nugget.
Here’s who else has been inking deals:
- Monmouth Park: Monmouth announced a partnership with bookmaker William Hill way back in 2013. It preemptively built its own million-dollar sports lounge in anticipation of the SCOTUS ruling.
- Churchill Downs: The brand well-known for horse racing and casino gambling forged a deal with Golden Nugget to offer its own online casino and sports betting through software provider SBTech. Churchill should began offering sports betting in early 2019.
- Ocean Casino: Ocean is set to open its doors on June 28, the same day as Hard Rock AC. Ocean also plans to partner with William Hill and will build a 7500 square-foot sportsbook facility on its casino gaming floor.
Legislation a mere formality at this point
Legislation explicitly legalizing sports betting has not yet been approved by the NJ state assembly, however Senate President Stephen Sweeney is confident that a bill will be passed on June 7. Lawmakers are eager to get the industry up and running, which could serve to revitalize the horse racing industry and bring in a new source of tax revenue.
There are two bills in circulation, one introduced by Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey, and another by Sweeney himself. Both bills provide a mechanism for regulation and taxation and allow for both online and live sports betting.
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