What DraftKings Hiring New Federal Lobbying Firm Could Mean

Posted on March 18, 2020

DraftKings recently hired Washington lobbying firm Ballard Partners to help the sportsbook operator achieve its federal regulatory and legislative goals.

DraftKings declined to comment on exactly what those goals were, but the hire signals a desire to be involved in federal decision-making at an important time for the sector.

Who are Ballard Partners?

DraftKings previously worked with Ballard on DFS legislation in Florida, starting way back in 2015. Ballard also counts Major League Baseball among its clients.

Ballard describes itself as a bi-partisan advocate, although chief lobbyist Brian Ballard is known to have close links with Florida Man.

A list of Ballard’s clients shows retainer fees starting at $60,000 per quarter, suggesting the operator is paying good money to have its voice heard in Washington.

What does DraftKings want?

While it’s not new for DraftKings to employ federal lobbyists, the timing of the Ballard announcement is interesting given the current lack of sports and potentially corresponding hit to revenues.

The operator could be interested in a federal sports betting bill. Now-retired Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah introduced one of those last year, although it never made any real progress.

DraftKings might also like to have its say on the Wire Act, which is still hindering sports betting operations for the sector.

Business as usual for DraftKings (sort of)

Away from the lobbying hire, DraftKings continues to look for alternative sources of revenue. It has run a variety of novel contests recently, including contests on Jeopardy! and the Democratic Presidential primary debates.

The operator’s acquisition of SBTech is still on track to close in Q2. That deal appears targeted toward the daily fantasy sports giant streamlining its sports betting operations. The tech stack of SBTech will allow the company to move on from third-party provider Kambi running its trading operation upon completion of the deal.

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Brad Allen

Brad has been covering the online gambling industry in Europe and the US for more than four years, most recently as the news editor at EGR Global.

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