The “King” of daily fantasy sports has made the leap into the world of sports betting. On August 6, 2018, DraftKings Sportsbook became the first full-service online and mobile sports wagering platform to launch in the legal New Jersey market. Its launch was made possible by a May 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision that effectively lifted Nevada’s monopoly on single-game sports wagering.
Going live ahead of the pack certainly carries its advantages, but it doesn’t necessarily mean DraftKings will enjoy the same dominance it does in the DFS sphere. Competition will be fiercer, with rival FanDuel, Monmouth Park, and many Atlantic City casinos having debuted their own online sports betting sites. That said, the brand recognition DraftKings brings to the table, along with its service partnership with Kambi Group, positions the operator for a strong run. A fluid interface, lucrative free bet offer, and account/wallet integration with DraftKings DFS only strengthens its case.
DraftKings Sportsbook is not without its flaws, but if it finds a way to offer pricing that is competitive with other legal (and unfortunately, illegal) sports wagering sites, we expect it to contend for the industry’s crown.
DraftKings Sportsbook bonus offer – March 2019
Both new registrants and existing DraftKings DFS account holders can take advantage of an up to $500 free bet upon making their first wager in the DraftKings Sportsbook. There is no promotional code needed for this offer, simply register for an account using one of the links on this page, if you haven’t created one already.
DraftKings Sportsbook 2019 bonus code and details
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How it works
All bettors have to do to take advantage of this offer is place a bet, any bet, in the DraftKings Sportsbook. If they already have funds in their wallet, they won’t even have to make a deposit to qualify. Upon placing their wager, DraftKings will award bettors a free bet equal to the amount (100% match) of their initial wager, capped at $500.
So for instance, if you plunk down $150 on the New York Giants to beat the Philadelphia Eagles outright, you’ll win a free bet of $150 for use on any other (or the same) contest. Wager $500 or more and unlock the full free bet.
There are a couple of caveats associated with the free bet. First off, it expires in a month. Secondly, only winnings from the free bet can be withdrawn, not the free bet itself. So, if a player wagers $110 on the Giants to win $210, only the winning portion ($100) will be shipped to the bettor’s online wallet in the event the Giants win. Both of these terms are fairly par for the course in the online sports betting world.
DraftKings disclaimer: First bet matched up to $500. Free bet must be used within 30 days of first bet. Free bet amount is not included in any returns or winnings. Free bet is also not redeemable for cash, non-transferable, and non-refundable. Promo ends 1/21/2019.
What’s great about DraftKings online sportsbook?
- DFS integration: The DraftKings Sportsbook shares both account information and to an extent, a wallet, with its popular daily fantasy sports counterpart. This means that active DFS players will be able to start wagering on sports right away. On PC/Mac the daily fantasy and sports sites even share the same interface.
- Beginner friendly: Players new to sports betting will find the plain language used on the site’s homepage welcoming. New customers are also offered a chance to check out the site’s comprehensive “Quick Start Guide” which breaks down complicated subject matter into simplistic terms.
- Bets galore: DraftKings Sportsbook launched with a ton of betting options, including the innovative “Cash Out” feature, “Live In Game” betting, and over a dozen betting markets to choose from. Lines, props, parlays, futures: You name it and DraftKings probably offers it.
- Supported platforms: There are numerous ways to access the DraftKings Sportsbook, including PC/Mac, and Android/iOS powered smartphones and tablets. The mobile experience largely mimics that found on the desktop app, and that’s a good thing.
What’s not so great?
- The vig on select games and formats (not all) is high. In some cases, it’s oppressive.
- Limited, but improving, cashiering options.
- No direct phone support, only call backs.
DraftKings software snapshot
The DK Sportsbook boasts a no-nonsense (and borderline bland) interface that spends the majority of its screen real-estate on what matters most: available bets. The home page was designed with the new player in mind, displaying recommended bets written in plain language. Below that, players can view live in play wagers, and the lines for major sporting markets.
Those looking to dig a bit deeper can use the top navigation bar to examine bets for specific leagues, or to display all available betting markets via the A-Z Sports dropdown. Under each sport, players will be able to view all posted wagers, whether they be simple game lines, parlays, futures, or props. Selecting a bet will cause the Bet Slip to populate (right hand portion of the screen). From there, players only need to enter the amount of their wager, and hit Place Bet. It’s all very laid out and user-friendly.
DraftKings Sportsbook comes equipped with a fair number of account management and customization features, as well as a handy Quickstart Guide for new bettors. There is also one-click access to a bevy of responsible gaming features and the integrated cashier.
As far as stability, we did not experience any crashes or hang-ups on PC, but the site’s geolocation checks did seem to drag on longer than they should have on mobile, at times. Speaking of mobile, the app version of the software largely mimics its desktop counterpart, with the only real difference being that the app is somewhat more compartmentalized, but not oppressively so.
Banking at DraftKings sportsbook
There aren’t too many ways to get money on and off the site, but the situation has improved of late. For deposits, players can use their credit/debit card (MasterCard or Visa only), a checking account, or PayPal, in so long as they have an active PayPal balance or a linked bank account. Minimum deposits are on the low side ($5), while maximums start at $2,000, with players able to request increases.
Currently, withdrawal methods are restrictive, with physical checks, and cash at the Resorts Casino AC cage as the only available options. We do expect PayPal to be available for withdrawals soon, as it would sort of defeat the purpose of having it offered for deposits. In addition, we’re hoping to see a few more of convenient methods, particularly eCheck withdrawals, become available.
On a positive note it’s worth noting that players who play contests on DraftKings DFS can use their winnings to wager at the Sportsbook.
Betting lines at DraftKings online sportsbook
Unfortunately, the one aspect of the DK Sportsbook that lags behind industry standards is also one of the most important: the lines.
Particularly, we’ve noticed that the MLB odds offered were less favorable than those available at Vegas books, with 20-30 cent run lines being the norm. NFL point spreads were more in line with Vegas odds, but money lines suffer from the same ~10 cent upcharge that MLB run lines do. Other sports we observed, including tennis and boxing also touted substandard odds.
Now, at the end of the day, the amount of juice DK charges vs. a Vegas book is hardly a mammoth difference, with DK players probably needing to win 1-2% more of their bets to break even. For casual players looking to plunk down a few bucks on their favorite team, that’s probably not such a big deal. But it may cause more enthusiastic players and sharps to take pause.
The hope is that as the NJ online sports betting marketplace becomes more competitive, the juice will adjust downward. The odds may never quite be Vegas good, but they could come close enough.
Key markets offered at DraftKings
Surprisingly, DraftKings online sportsbook launched with a wide range of betting markets. Does it offer as many markets as an international book? Hardly, but a decent range of American and international markets are covered, and the site’s available offerings appear to be growing all the time.
Key markets offered:
- Rugby Union
DraftKings Sportsbook: Game selection
If there’s one area where DraftKings Sportsbook truly excels, it’s in the sheer wealth of betting options that it offers. From game lines, parlays, player/game props, futures, totals, and a good deal more, there are more than enough betting options to satiate the desires of most bettors.
Just as an example, for an average MLB game, bettors can bet on who will win (run line and money line), the amount of runs the two teams will combine for, who will score first, the last team to score, whether there will be extra innings, and about 20 other betting angles. There’s even a bet for who will hold the lead after a certain number of innings.
In play wagering, where players can place on-the-fly bets on a game or match already in progress, is all the rave of late. Acknowledging this, DraftKings online sportsbook has incorporated a number of in play betting variants into its platform.
Ok, so in play has become common enough these days that we wouldn’t call it a special or unique feature of an online sportsbook. However, DraftKings has gone above and beyond by offering a vast array of in play bets. For instance, while a run-of-the-mill site might just offer in play betting on say, the outcome of a tennis match, DraftKings allows players to bet on who will win the first point of the second game of the match. Action junkies rejoice.
One area where DraftKings Sportsbook does truly innovate, is through its Cash Out feature. This nuance works as a sort of extension of in play betting, allowing bettors to close out their active bet before the outcome is decided, with the cash out amount determined by the in play odds.
Cash Out is available for pre-game, live, future, and parlay bets (selected sports only), and can generally be triggered anytime before the contest comes to a close, or before the event in question occurs. So for instance, let’s say you bet $110 to win $210 on the Yankees winning tonight’s game. After three, five, or however many innings the Bronx Bombers are trailing by a run. You can roll the dice and see if the bats get hot, or choose to take a loss, but not a complete loss by taking the Cash Out option. Same goes if the Yankees are winning, only then, you have the option to book a small win, or go for all the glory.
It’s worth noting that DraftKings does charge a vig in what appears to be in the 5-8% range on cash outs. That’s pretty high, so we suggest players only utilize this option if they really feel nervous about the final outcome.
DraftKings NJ promotions
Beyond the $500 free bet offer for new players, DraftKings Sportsbook doesn’t appear to be doing too much on the promotional side, at least not yet. We suspect this will change in relatively short order, as DraftKings rolls out a lot of promotions for the daily fantasy sports arm of its operation, including its loyalty system, that allows players to exchange earned points (Crowns) for tickets and other goodies, and more.
Types of promotions we may see in the future include:
- Free bets: Free wager of a specified monetary amount to be used in the sports book
- Profit boosts: Tokens that enable bettors to receive a % increase in profits on a winning wager
- Deposit bonuses: Players that make an eligible deposit will see DraftKings match that deposit, up to a certain amount. Bonuses are subject to wagering requirements before they are converted to cash.
- Money back specials: Free matched bet rewarded when a bet loses and a specific condition is met
Also worth noting, is that sports bettors can participate in certain, more generic, DraftKings promotions. A good example would be its Team Pick’Em challenge, where players that wisely select the winners of NFL Week X games are eligible to divvy up a $1 million prize fund.
At present, the DraftKings Sportsbook does not feature a player rewards system. In all likelihood, one is in the works, and it may well very mimic the popular system implemented by DraftKings’ DFS site, DraftKings Rewards.
For DraftKings DFS, players earn Crowns by participating in real-money contests, with the amount of Crowns determined by the entry fee. They can also be earned by completing daily missions, which might take the form of betting on a specific contest, or wagering a certain amount of money for the day. Crowns can be exchanged for a bevy of rewards, including contest tickets, apparel, tickets to exclusive DK events, and tailgate goods.
In addition, as players earn more Crowns they will climb the site’s Daily Rewards Status Tier, unlocking bigger and better opportunities to claim Crowns, contest tickets, and DK Dollars. There are currently six tiers:
- Bronze: 100 Crowns per month
- Silver: 500 Crowns per month
- Gold: 2,000 Crowns per month
- Platinum: 10,000 Crowns per month
- Diamond: 25,000 Crowns per month
- Black: 125,000 Crowns per month
Support is another area where DraftKings Sportsbook is currently lacking. Yes, the Help Section and QuickStart Guides are rife with valuable information, but contacting a representative directly is something of a chore.
Players have the option to either leave a message and hope that a service agent gets back to them in a reasonable time frame (this is sometimes not the case), or they can fill out a form to receive a call back (better option).
On a positive note, customer service is technically available 24/7.
More about DraftKings
DraftKings was founded in 2012, three years after chief rival FanDuel launched its daily fantasy platform. The Boston-based company’s ambitious founders quickly got to work seeking investors, raising $1.4 million that same year, a huge sum for the industry at the time.
In 2013, DraftKings relied on its momentum to secure an additional investment from Major League Baseball, the first professional league to invest in a DFS firm. In November, the cash kept flowing, with a further $24 million being raised from investors like Redpoint Ventures, Accomplice, GGV Capital and BDS Venture Fund. By 2014, industry-leader FanDuel could no longer ignore the threat from DraftKings, which had grown to become the second largest DFS company on the globe. During that year, DraftKings grew its player base substantially through the acquisition of rival DraftStreet.
The company went on to ink a variety of major partnerships, including one with the NHL and MLB. In 2015, DraftKings announced a three year advertising deal with ESPN, worth $250 million. In July of that year, the company announced a massive $300 million funding round led by Fox Sports, the Kraft Group, owners of the New England Patriots and others.
While it has been wildly successful in raising capital, the site has been forced to endure myriad legal fights from opponents questioning the company’s marketing practices and the legality of the DFS industry as a whole. In October 2016, DraftKings agreed to pay $6 million to the state of New York to resolve a dispute over advertising practices. The company paid an additional $1.3 million to the Massachusetts attorney general’s office the following year.
In 2017, DraftKings and FanDuel decided to drop their war of attrition and announced their intent to merge into one entity. The Federal Trade Commission, however, blocked the deal, asserting that the organization would essentially monopolize the industry, controlling more than 90% of the DFS market.
The following year, the Supreme Court made the momentous decision to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, legislation which had effectively blocked sports betting outside of Nevada. The ruling was a major victory for DraftKings, which was uniquely positioned to offer online and mobile sports betting to its millions of sports-loving customers. Impressively, DraftKings beat out its competitors by opening the first mobile sportsbook in the state of New Jersey, which went live in August 2018.
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