Daily fantasy operator heads to its third different continent
Legal Sports Report

DraftKings Heading Down Under, Will Launch In Australia In Q2

Australia fantasy sports

DraftKings continued its plan to take daily fantasy sports to more markets, announcing on Tuesday its plans to launch in Australia in the near future.

The question remains whether its international expansion will eventually pay off.

DraftKings + Australia…

The launch in Australia will happen sometime during this quarter, DraftKings announced. The DFS company said it has been granted a government license by the Northern Territory Racing Commission under which it is permitted to offer daily fantasy sports in much of Australia.

The product will be offered around the country, but not in the state of South Australia, which has a separate gaming regime. The population that DraftKings can serve in the rest of the country is in excess of 20 million.

At least a couple of smaller fantasy sports sites serve the country, including Draftstars (recently acquired by PlayUP), PlayON and Moneyball. The NTRC lists the latter two companies as “sports bookmakers” or “betting exchange operators” on its website. DraftKings operates in much of the US as a game of skill either under existing gaming laws or laws specifically addressing paid-entry fantasy sports.

Fantasy sports in Australia?

DraftKings did not immediately announce plans to offer DFS based on the most popular sports in Australia, such as rugby, cricket and Australian rules football. The company has said in the past it would like to offer some of those sports.

Beyond that, the most attractive sports for Australians to play are likely NBA (pro basketball is popular and the country has produced seceral stars) and golf (the PGA and European tours).

DraftKings cited a report in the release that pegs the number of fantasy sports players in the country in excess of 1.6 million.

Where DraftKings is active

The list of countries that DraftKings serves is becoming a longer list. Where once it only served much of the US and Canada, its customer base also includes:

  • The UK
  • Ireland
  • Germany
  • Austria
  • Malta

More from DraftKings

Here is what CEO Jason Robins said in a press release about the launch:

“Within the last few years, Australia’s burgeoning fantasy sports market has dramatically evolved, adding a variety of daily fantasy sports platforms, feeding the appetite of the many passionate sports fans who love getting closer to the teams, athletes and sports they love.

“Australia is an important market for DraftKings, as it combines devoted sports fans with sophisticated, tech-savvy consumers – exactly the kind of people who love competing on DraftKings.”

DraftKings told Legal Sports Report it does not have immediate plans to attempt to offer sports betting in Australia, although it is aiming to do so in the US.

That would happen via New Jersey, should the state win its case in the US Supreme Court, and should DraftKings procure a land-based gaming partner in the state. The former could happen as soon as this week; the latter is reportedly getting close.

Going it alone…

The rest of the daily fantasy sports industry — at least as it is situated in North America — is unwilling or unable to match DraftKings’ global aspirations.

FanDuel has pulled back on expanding internationally and no longer serves the UK market. (Yahoo DFS joined them on Monday in leaving the UK.)

That leaves DraftKings to test the waters abroad relatively unchallenged. (PlayON, despite being in Australia and other regulated markets for some time, remains a relatively niche product.)

Which strategy is right? DraftKings is obviously expending money and resources to go into new jurisdictions, with an unknown payoff. Although its addressable potential audience has grown by more than a hundred million via its expansion, it hasn’t exactly resulted in a groundswell of new customers (although DraftKings might disagree with that analysis). In large part, that’s because DraftKings’ entry into new markets has not been accompanied by large marketing campaigns, something that’s likely needed to introduce and attract users to the product.

FanDuel, meanwhile, is attempting to keep its numbers in the black ahead of what many believe will be a sale or reverse merger.

Which strategy will work out best? Can they both succeed, or might they both fail? That’s a question that is awaiting an answer, for now.

Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.