Daily Fantasy Sports Companies Dominate This Week's Headlines
Legal Sports Report

The Week In Sports Betting: FanDuel And DraftKings Making All The Moves

Sports Betting News

In what has become a ritual around here, Friday afternoon is when we sit down and think about what we’ve learned from a week full of sports betting news.

Today’s episode finds us more than two months removed from the US Supreme Court decision that made this weekly summary a necessity. The news hasn’t stopped to take a breath since May 14. New Jersey and Delaware now offer state-regulated sports betting alongside Nevada, and at least four more plan to join the party this year.

This week’s headlines were dominated by the two largest daily fantasy sports companies, FanDuel and DraftKings. Let’s begin there.

Holy cow, FanDuel

If there was any doubt in the past, FanDuel is officially in the gambling space. Under new ownership by Paddy Power Betfair, the DFS silver medalist is morphing into a multi-vertical, omni-channel behemoth.

The first-ever FanDuel Sportsbook welcomed customers at Meadowlands Racetrack this past weekend. The property in East Rutherford is the fourth to open an NJ sportsbook and the first to paint FanDuel logos across the counters. Bettors wagered more than $1 million through the opening two days of operation.

PlayUSA was on location for the launch for a first-hand account.

Not everything was peachy, though. The windows opened with prices that bordered on embarrassing — bad enough to deserve the subsequent beating on Twitter. Lines have since improved, but you have to wonder if a poor first impression will have a long-term impact on bettors.

FanDuel also has deals for WV sports betting at The Greenbrier and NY sports betting at Tioga Downs, and it added a couple more bricks to its foundation this week:

Believe it or not, those two suppliers will carry FanDuel into verticals outside DFS and sports betting.

In a move that shoudn’t be entirely unexpected, FanDuel is preparing to rebrand the current Betfair NJ online casino. The artist formerly known as Betfair US is now the FanDuel Group, and PPB has made no secrets about its intentions to deploy the moniker across all US-facing platforms.

FanDuel roulette, anyone?

DraftKings won’t be left behind

FanDuel jumped out to an early lead in sports betting, but its primary DFS competitor isn’t lagging far behind.

This week, DraftKings announced a partnership with del Lago that includes wagering both on property and across online/mobile channels within New York. Del Lago, if you’re unfamiliar, is an 18-month-old property located in the Finger Lakes town of Waterloo.

It’s obviously huge news for DraftKings, providing an entry point into the second-largest market in the country. The company also has a partnership for NJ sports betting with Resorts Atlantic City, but that’s a skin deal limited to online/mobile. Depending on the timeline, the sportsbook at del Lago could be DraftKings’ first retail location.

This partnership in NY, however, still hinges on some sort of regulatory movement. The state’s existing law authorizes sports betting at del Lago and three other commercial casinos, but state officials have yet to promulgate rules. Who knows when that will happen?

By the way, co-founders also teased the first photos of the DraftKings Sportsbook app late last week. It looks, well, a lot like the DFS app. That’s certainly not a bad thing.

Dispatches from New Jersey

As the most populous state with legal sports betting, NJ continues to serve as the new focal point of US sports betting. In addition to Meadowlands, three other properties are currently booking wagers:

  • Monmouth Park
  • Borgata
  • Ocean Resort Casino

Late last week, regulators imposed a deadline for operators seeking approval in time for football season in late summer. Monday was drop-dead day, and the DGE found five more applications in its mailbox.

In the meantime, we’ve nearly forgotten about the $150 million lawsuit filed by the NJ horse racing industry in May. This week, the defending sports leagues filed a 20-page brief contending that plaintiffs have no grounds to seek damages from the courts. Don’t expect a resolution any time soon.

News from other states

The weekly NFOS train makes brief stops in two more states:

  • Mississippi: Rumors of a July 21 launch were greatly exaggerated. State regulators say Mississippi sports betting won’t launch this weekend, and a timeline is still unclear for the 14 casinos with applications on file.
  • Virginia: … is for bettors? Stakeholders expect a big push to legalize VA sports betting in 2019. The state is historically opposed to gambling, but all the chatter from neighbors is sparking new conversation.

In the meantime, Steve Ruddock runs through some of the other candidates for the second wave of sports betting legislation next year.

Takes and tidbits

Welcome to our favorite section! — if we were inclined to pick favorite sections, that is. This is where we dump all the juicy bits of news and opinion that don’t fit within the rest of our hastily contrived outline.

Get some of this:

  • MLB: Commissioner Rob Manfred had a lot to say about sports betting during his recent All-Star weekend media tour. Some was good, some was bad, and all of it related to the league’s ongoing efforts to capitalize on the industry.
  • Going yard: During the Home Run Derby, eventual-winner Mike Trout seemed to be breaking a tiny rule. That is, tiny until you bring betting into the mix. This trivial little thing raises big questions about the interplay between sports and betting.
  • Uncle Brent: Sports broadcasting legend Brent Musburger is the busiest man in sports betting right now. In addition to his role with VSiN, Musburger has taken new gigs with the Oakland Raiders and Fox Sports 1.
  • FastFantasy: Gaming supplier SportAD will offer a hybrid fantasy sports product under a partnership with Ocean Resort Casino. It appears to be the same FastPick product it launched at Resorts Atlantic City in 2017.
  • Weather fantasy: If you’ve ever wanted to get money down on Mother Nature, here’s your chance. Weather Battle is a new platform that lets you play what amounts to — no joke — daily fantasy weather. In this modern age of gambling, it only seems … ahem… natural.
  • Actual fantasy: In regard to “traditional” fantasy sports, Pennsylvania DFS revenue dipped more than $300,000 during the second month of state regulation. Yahoo DFS actually lost money in PA during June, a clever way to avoid a tax liability to the state.

A few handy links

If you’d rather skip the news, it’s too late. You just read a thousand words of it. But in the future, these pages are the best spots to see (or hear) perpetually updated info at a glance or a listen. Add bookmarks:

Happy Friday, folks! Let’s do it again next week, shall we?

Eric Ramsey
- Eric is a reporter and writer covering regulated US gambling, sports betting, and DFS. He comes from a poker background, formerly on staff at PokerNews and the World Poker Tour.
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