DraftKings‘ long-awaited launch in the United Kingdom is finally here. The daily fantasy sports site went live with its UK platform in February, offering a product that parallels its offering in the United States.
New players at DraftKings UK are eligible for both a deposit match bonus (£400, see terms) and a free contest entry (no terms or playthrough attached, must create a valid account to claim). Follow our link to have the bonus and entry automatically added to your account.
No DraftKings UK promo code is needed to claim the above offers. When DraftKings UK first launched, they did ask users for a promo code, but that part of the signup process has been removed.
As a result, players simply need to visit DraftKings and create an account to claim the welcome bonuses detailed above.
Although relatively unknown in the UK, DraftKings offers a perfect entry level Daily Fantasy Sports site for UK customers. By accessing the same games as US and Canadian based customers, UK customers can access a wide range of daily games and play for outstanding prizes immediately.
The bonuses offered are excellent and the number of players in each game make it easy to find a Fantasy Game to try out if you are not sure. As the UK market grows, so should the number of sports offered that would appeal to the UK-based market in particular and as a VIP program member, if you play regularly on the site you can receive rewards in the form of free contest entries or even receive DraftKings own brand of merchandise.
DraftKings UK is essentially, the same site as the one that US players have been using for many years now. Since its inception over three years ago, DraftKings has developed into the second largest provider of Daily Fantasy Sports in the world and the company offers this rapidly developing and increasingly popular form of gaming/betting to customers in the United States, Canada as well as the UK.
Player pools in the U.K. will be shared with North America.
Currently, DraftKings UK is only available via mobile app, for both iOS and Android. A web interface is in development.
Of the two options, the iOS version does seem to offer a better experience when playing DraftKings than the Android version, which is a little more simplistic and not quite as responsive.
In truth however, the differences are negligible and the fact that the DraftKings client software is one of most mature in the industry, makes it very easy to play using either mobile device.
All the contests DraftKings offers in the U.S. will also be available in the UK. There is not much in the way of product differentiation for the UK launch.
You can play each of these types of games across a range of eight different sports.
Most of these are US-based sports, although of most interest to UK customers will likely be the Soccer games available. The sports you can play DFS at DraftKings UK are:
Previously, DraftKings had said it would like to eventually offer more UK-centric sports, like cricket or rugby.
The DraftKings UK cashier indicates that you can use both PayPal and Credit/Debit Cards to make payments to your DraftSports account as a UK customer, although when we tested the site (on 7/2/2016), the Credit/Debit card payment option was not yet operational, so we made our initial deposit through PayPal.
When you make a deposit, you must agree to the conversion rate stated by DraftKings to convert your British Pound balance into a US Dollar balance (as all markets on the DraftKings site use US Dollars as the base currency). Once agreed, your balance will be automatically converted into US Dollars.
When you make a withdrawal, then any funds you want transferred back to you are done so via the same method you made a deposit in, so in the case above, any withdrawals would be made back to the PayPal account used to fund the account initially.
Signing for for DraftKings UK is relatively simple. You cannot sign up via the website just yet, so the only way to do this at present is to download the available app for Android or iOS devices and install it onto your mobile device.
Once downloaded, load up the device and click on the green Sign Up button to proceed.
All you need to then do is enter your chosen Username, a valid Email address, a password, your date of birth and (if you have one) a promotional code (remember, you can use the code MEGA to get a fantastic starter bonus). Agree to the terms and conditions and indicate if you want to receive promotions and other materials from DraftKings and then click the Create Account button.
After a few seconds the registration process will complete and the home page on the app will load up. It is now time to make your first deposit and claim your new member offer.
Deposit Bonus at DraftKings UK
As a UK customer, when you make your first deposit as outlined above with DraftKings UK, then you are eligible to two different bonuses:
First up, you get a free tournament entry to the value of $3 to try out any eligible Daily Fantasy Sports game on DraftKings. This means you get one ‘free shot’ at a tournament to grasp how it works before you start wagering your own cash.
Secondly, you also get a 100% deposit bonus based on your first deposit up to a maximum of £400. However this money isn’t available immediately and is released as the individual earns DraftKings Frequent Player Points (FPPs) by playing in real cash contests.
For every 100 FPP’s you earn, you will release $1 of your bonus (remember, your UK pound deposit is converted to a US Dollar balance) and you have 120 days within which to earn the full bonus, which unless you are playing DFS regularly each day, can be a tough ask for players to earn their bonus in full.
However, you can use any FPP’s you earn on the DratKings Rewards program which allows you to exchange your FPP’s for a variety of tickets for entry into different types of Daily Fantasy Sports games.
Currently, you can only play DraftKings in most states in the United States, across Canada and in the UK, which comprises of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Players from Ireland or other European countries cannot yet play at DraftKings.
DraftKings received a license to operate in the UK in August. Here’s our original story covering that license:
DraftKings announced that it has received a gaming license to operate in the United Kingdom, the first major U.S.-based daily fantasy sports site that will operate in a regulated market in Europe.
The license can be viewed here; DraftKings is now licensed for “Gambling Software” and “Pool Betting,” according to the license. The domain DraftKings.co.uk is now active, with the message “DraftKings is launching in your country soon.”
The release also notes that:
DraftKings CEO Jason Robins, from the release:
“Our expansion into the United Kingdom marks a milestone moment in the growth of DraftKings as we introduce our world-class product to new audiences. We will add new sports and games to our burgeoning roster of offerings and further connect fans to their favorite teams and players. We also welcome the opportunity to forge new partnerships with leagues, teams and media outlets internationally as we have done with exceptional success in the United States.”
“DraftKings is well-poised for explosive growth internationally, and I am excited to lead their expansion efforts. Daily Fantasy Sports is a growing category outside North America, and we have a tremendous opportunity to engage sports fans around the world. We will look to maintain our leadership position in the Daily Fantasy Sports industry – creating innovative games across the most sports, providing our players with elite customer service and fostering mutually-beneficial relationships with our partners.”
Not even FanDuel, which has offices in Scotland, has a U.K. license, from the world of DFS. Mondogoal, which is based in the Isle of Man, also has a U.K. gaming license. That site offers only daily fantasy soccer.
Amaya, which announced its purchase of the DFS site Victiv last week — with an intent to rebrand it as StarsDraft — also holds a U.K. gaming license, in addition to licenses in a variety of other jurisdictions. The expectation is that Amaya will leverage the StarsDraft platform in the U.K. and elsewhere, eventually.
The press release also notes that DraftKings is planning “launches in additional markets, including Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America, planned for 2016.” Which jurisdictions it is planning to apply for licenses for is unknown.
DraftKings UK was originally slated to launch in fall of 2015. Here’s our original story covering why DraftKings UK was delayed.
DraftKings will not launch a daily fantasy sports product in the United Kingdom until 2016, according to multiple media reports, a delay of months from a planned roll-out in October.
Bloomberg broke the news of DraftKings’ delayed launch on Wednesday. According to that report, the launch has been delayed to “early next year.”
The Boston Globe also reported on the delay, talking to an executive who said that DraftKings would enter the UK once some “minor issues are resolved.”
The biggest sport in the UK is soccer’s English Premier League; that organization’s schedule continues through the middle of May. So it appears conceivable that DraftKings could go live for the tail-end of the season.
DraftKings had earlier said that its UK product would go live sometime in the fourth quarter of this year. But after pushing back a stated launch at least twice, the DFS operator apparently is willing to take its time in entering the UK market.
Here’s the timeline of how we got here:
Beyond what DraftKings has said via the media, the reasons for the delay are a matter of speculation. It’s reasonable to conclude that time spent on matters in the U.S. — namely the court battle in New York and lobbying efforts in a variety of states — are likely pulling the company’s attention away from the core business and the international expansion effort.
The UK launch for DraftKings is also not a direct port of the North American product, so there are likely complications in creating the UK platform that could have been unforeseen.
In October, some politicians questioned how DraftKings received a license given the news that had broken across the Atlantic Ocean, but there has been no more chatter via UK media on that front.
The market for DFS in the UK is still in its infancy. Soccer-only DFS site Mondogoal, leads the market and has experienced growth in 2015, but it is still a fairly niche endeavor.
FanDuel has also applied for a UK gaming license, but its application is still showing as “pending” at the UK Gambling Commission website.
Generally, DFS sites only operate in the U.S. and Canada, as a gaming license is understood to be needed to operate in most jurisdictions around the world.
While focusing efforts overseas during the current turmoil in the U.S. might seem to some to be a less-than-ideal strategy on its face, it could also make a lot of sense.
As DFS operators face the possibility of regulation in a number of states and an uncertain future in jurisdictions throughout the U.S., DFS sites — or at least DraftKings and FanDuel — can pursue licenses in jurisdictions where they can have legal clarity. DraftKings has expressed its interest the Asian and Australian markets just a few months ago, but before controversy in the industry erupted.
Of course, getting gaming licenses and developing a market for daily fantasy sports in other countries is an expensive proposition, and FanDuel and DraftKings are having to pour a lot of capital into their efforts stateside.
And the capital needed for international expansion could be impacted by short-term concerns. Sites are facing falling numbers in their NFL contests, although they have seen solid numbers for the NBA. The NFL season is also rapidly coming to a close, meaning revenue at every DFS site will take a hit once the calendar turns to 2016. And further venture capital for the DFS industry is likely difficult to come by in the current environment.
The success of international expansion is far from a given, but it also stands as a possible path forward for operators. It will be interesting to see how sites approach the possibilities of international markets given the uncertainty they face at home.