God Save The DraftKing – Daily Fantasy Sports Operator Applies For UK Remote Gambling License

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Leading daily fantasy sports site DraftKings appears to be preparing for a leap across the pond.

That’s after news of DraftKings’ application with the UKGC for the necessary licenses to operate in the United Kingdom.

The application was first noted by Bigo1_ on Twitter. DraftKings had not responded to a request for comment as of writing.

The UKGC website makes linking to application records tricky. You can view the application in the image at the end of the article or visit the UKGC search page and search for DraftKings to view the application.

DraftKings originally broadcasted their plans for international expansion in December 2014.

No set window for approval or launch

DraftKings has applied for a “Gambling Software” and “Pool Betting” license for remote betting.

While the application is a necessary precursor to operating in the United Kingdom, it does not start any ticking clock that allows us to project when DraftKings might receive approval.

With that said, DraftKings has been eyeing the market for some time and the UKGC has been relatively expeditious on the licensing front. Within that context, approval could come in weeks as opposed to months.

Following approval, DraftKings would have to make a strategic decision about when to launch in the market, a complex decision that must consider not only the best window for launch in the UK market, but also contemplate how a push in the UK would potentially pull resources from efforts in the U.S. market.

FanDuel not making the trip

Complication for US gambling conversation?

One interesting sub-story of the application is how the UK license might impact the ongoing conversation in the U.S. regarding whether or not daily fantasy sports constitute gambling.

After all, it becomes trickier to claim a product isn’t gambling when you’re required by a relatively parallel jurisdiction to apply for a gambling license in order to operate in said jurisdiction.

Alun Bowden summed the point well on Twitter:


The application could also impact the ongoing conversation in the U.S. regarding the intersection of DFS and governmental regulation. If operators are willing to submit to licensing from gaming authorities in the UK, why not the US?

How big is the opportunity?

The big unknown: how much of an impact would the UK market have on DraftKings’ fate (or the fate of any DFS operator)?

On one hand, a move into the UK ahead of FanDuel would continue DraftKings’ successful strategy of asymmetrical competition with FanDuel.

On the other, there are questions about the inherent potential of DFS in a market already neck-deep in sports wagering options.

But there’s a reasonable chance the UK will play out like the US in at least one regard: operators will be motivated to make a massive spending push by the sheer potential of the market on face, and will, at least for a time, be willing to disconnect investment from return:

View the application

DraftKings UK Application