If there was any remaining doubt, DraftKings is officially a gambling company. The former (and current) daily fantasy sports (DFS) leader has transitioned into an omni-channel, multi-vertical powerhouse with serious ambitions for more.
Just a few months after debuting DraftKings Sportsbook in New Jersey, the company has launched the first phase of its NJ online casino platform. DraftKings Casino is now incorporated into the existing sportsbook app as of Monday.
Blackjack is the only game available on DraftKings Casino at the time of writing, now live on both Android and iOS platforms. More games will become available beginning in early 2019.
While it’s certainly huge news, DraftKings’ entry into casino gambling is not a complete surprise.
NJ sports betting revenue will eventually dwarf online casino gambling, but the former is sensitive to the calendar and runs on the tightest of margins. Neither of those are the case for things like online blackjack.
While there is fair amount of crossover, traditional casino games also appeal to a broader customer base than sports gambling. NJ online casinos pull in around $25 million in combined revenue every month, and there appears to be some ceiling left in the market. What’s more, blackjack is orders of magnitude easier to offer than sports betting, which requires a heavy lift for data and logistics.
As with its sportsbook platform, DraftKings Casino falls under the license of Resorts Atlantic City. Resorts also operates its own NJ online casino and carries the license for both Mohegan Sun and PokerStars.
For now, DraftKings has no apparent plans to offer online poker in NJ or anywhere else.
If you’ve spent any time around DFS during the last decade, you know that the two heavyweights tend to match each other’s offerings.
When DraftKings launched Pick’em last year, for example, FanDuel followed with QuickPick. Both were among the first to debut their NJ sports betting apps, too, with FanDuel Sportsbook lagging slightly behind.
Naturally, one might wonder whether or not a FanDuel Casino could pop up in the market at some point.
The odds look pretty good.
FanDuel is now part of the Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) empire, its European parent striving to expand its US footprint. During the summer acquisition, executives disclosed plans to deploy the FanDuel brand as PPB’s primary identity in the States, drawing no distinction between sportsbook and casino platforms.
According to group COO Kip Levin, rebranding the existing Betfair NJ online casino under FanDuel colors is a distinct possibility — and one that seems to make sense in the US. Betfair isn’t exactly a household name in America, after all, while FanDuel has built a database of millions of customers all throughout the country.
If FanDuel does continue to match DraftKings stride for stride, they’ll find themselves dueling against some major-league casino competition. SugarHouse, PokerStars and 888 also offer multi-vertical NJ gambling apps that include both online sports betting and casino games.