Under the agreement, DraftKings will enter the NJ market — and the sports betting industry as a whole — under Resorts’ land-based casino license. The two parties confirmed the deal this morning, as first reported by The Associated Press.
CEO Jason Robins said DraftKings is “ready to go” pending final approval from state regulators.
We are excited to work with Resorts Hotel Casino to bring our new DraftKings sportsbook to New Jersey. As a tech savvy and a long-term growth oriented organization, Resorts Hotel Casino aligns perfectly with our customer-focused, innovation culture.
PlayNJ had previously reported that the DFS operator was close to signing a deal with a land-based casino, a necessity to offer wagering in NJ.
DraftKings finds NJ partner
DraftKings has been hinting at its entry into the market for months, hiring sportsbook staff even before the US Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on single-game wagering. It opened an office in Hoboken to house the team, and several new positions have appeared on the jobs page in recent weeks.
A sudden NJ marketing blitz started in May, in which DraftKings began advertising its sportsbook that did not yet exist. It exists now, apparently — or it will very soon. In a recent chat on Facebook, co-founder Matt Kalish said DraftKings will look to enter the market “on day one,” though that seems unlikely if NJ goes live next week.
DraftKings does have one key asset in place, a database of 10 million sports gamers. A fair percentage of its existing customers are likely (or potential) sports bettors. “We have a well-known brand that’s very closely identified with winning money on sports,” Robins said. Time will tell whether or not DFS and sports betting are as complementary as they may seem.
Primary DFS competitor FanDuel is also charging headlong into the new industry. Just days after the SCOTUS ruing, European bookmaker Paddy Power Betfair announced plans to acquire FanDuel and enter the US market.
A few loose ends to tie up
What’s still unknown is the “how” of DraftKings’ coming sportsbook.
The press release mentions both a mobile app and web-based platform for sports gambling. But DraftKings still hasn’t announced anything around the technology it intends to offer. It’s not even clear if it’s built an in-house solution or formed a partnership with a third-party provider. DraftKings has only ever offered DFS contests to date.
There is also no official word that the company has been licensed as a gaming entity in NJ, which would be a first in a US market. DraftKings does currently hold a gaming license in the UK.
When will NJ sports betting launch? Gaming entities in the state are waiting for legislation to pass a new law to regulate and tax the industry. That could happen as soon as June 7, and the first sportsbooks will open almost immediately thereafter.
NJ sports betting landscape taking shape
With launch now imminent, we’re starting to get a feel for the early days of NJ sports betting.
Borgata made its plans public back in December, when MGM’s Jay Rood let on to the $7 million investment. The property intends to take bets in a temporary sportsbook on day one, assuming a legislative hiccup doesn’t spoil those plans. Being under MGM’s umbrella, Borgata would also have a quick solution for mobile and online betting.
The Ocean Resort Casino will have sports betting, too. Last week, principals announced a partnership with bookmaker William Hill to handle operations. Owner Bruce Deifik has spoken ambitiously about sports betting since he bought the property, and he’s found a top-tier partner to help facilitate his vision. Ocean Resort aims to have a 7,500-squre-foot sportsbook fully finished when the doors open on June 28.
There will be sports betting on Resorts’ license, and that seems to indicate it will build a sportsbook, too. Under proposed legislation, licensees are required to operate an in-person “sports wagering lounge” to offer online betting. DraftKings is unlikely to be ready on launch day, but it’s paved a path to market, at least.
Monmouth Park will be ready for launch. It’s had a William Hill partnership in its pocket for a while now, anticipating this day would eventually come. The horse racing track will almost certainly be the site of the state’s first legal sports wager in the coming weeks.