DraftKings Casino already thriving in NJ online gambling market

Not Just Sports Betting; DraftKings Scooping Up NJ Online Casino Market Share

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It’s been almost four months since DraftKings Sportsbook opened its online blackjack tables to players in New Jersey.

The launch cemented the company’s transformation into a full-fledged gambling operator offering sports betting, casino games and daily fantasy sports. For now, at least, online poker is the only vertical missing from its platform.

Since the blackjack rollout in mid-December on iOS and Android devices, more table games, slot titles, and video poker machines have been added to the mix.

In Februrary, DraftKings introduced a live-dealer casino powered by Evolution Gaming, offering games like blackjack, roulette, and baccarat. Live-dealer games are also available on DraftKings Casino starting at 11 a.m. daily.

The early success of DraftKings across both sports betting and online casino games has sparked immediate growth in the total liquidity of the NJ online gambling market.

DraftKings Casino makes immediate impact

DraftKings Casino operates under the license of Resorts Atlantic City, alongside three other brands:

New Jersey regulators don’t itemize revenue for individual brands under the same land-based licensee. Total online gaming revenue for the Resorts network in February, however, came to $6,657,591. The split was $6.1 million for casino games and about $565,000 for online poker.

Removing NJ online poker revenue, it’s clear that DraftKings Casino has had a pronounced effect on Resorts’ numbers.

Resorts recorded online casino revenue of about $3 million in November, the month before the DraftKings launch. That number climbed to $3.8 million in December, then rocketed 53.7% to $5.8 million in January.

A contender among NJ online gambling sites

Resorts’s average monthly online casino revenue in 2018 was $3,111,969. The monthly average in 2019, meanwhile, is already almost double that at $5,935,380. It’s fair to assume that DraftKings Casino is pulling in around $3 million in monthly revenue.

To put it another way, DraftKings is generating monthly revenue roughly equal to the combined total of the other three brands under the Resorts license.

The boost has propelled Resorts up the pecking order and into the clear second spot behind market leader Golden Nugget. It has also helped put daylight (around $2 million a month) between Resorts and the chase pack led by Borgata and Caesars.

In January, Resorts became the first operator other than Golden Nugget to eclipse $6 million in online gambling revenue for a single month. Look how the group’s market share has grown since the DraftKings Casino launch:

DK Casino impact

Pulling power of the DraftKings brand

According to research by analysts Eilers & Krejcik Gaming (E&KG), DraftKings has already seized a 9% share of New Jersey online casino revenue.

What makes the early growth even more impressive is that DraftKings entered the online casino market five years after launch in NJ. Additionally, it doesn’t yet have the sort of comprehensive product suite found at the sites of the established incumbents.

DraftKings Casino only boasts a handful of current games, including slot offerings in the single digits. Its portfolio is dwarfed, for example, by the 500-plus titles at Golden Nugget.

Deploying live-dealer games was a sharp play that helps close the gap between DraftKings and the leading NJ sites. Once its offerings grow to match the competition, the young operator figures to grab an even larger market share.

Being able to cross-sell a large database of sports bettors into a fully-stocked online casino will only strengthen the position of DraftKings Casino further.

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New Jersey online gambling getting crowded

With DraftKings throwing its hat into the ring, there are now 20 online casino brands competing for share of wallet in New Jersey. The move may have irked rivals, but DraftKings Casino revenue has been more additive than cannibalizing so far.

Total revenue for casino and poker hit a record-breaking $33,594,391 in January — up from $29 million in December and $26.9 million in November. Revenue did slip back to $31.5 million in February, although that month has three fewer days than January.

DraftKings’ arch rival, FanDuel Sportsbook, also offers casino games within its platform via Betfair Casino NJ. London-listed gambling giant Paddy Power Betfair is the parent company of both brands, allowing customers to use a shared wallet.

E&KG estimates that DraftKings and FanDuel/Betfair have a combined 22% share of the NJ online casino sector.

DraftKings and FanDuel have been the big success stories in NJ online sports betting, and they’re poised for an encore in the online casino space. That should be a big concern for the competition in NJ — and in other markets with legal online gambling and a point of entry for DraftKings Casino.

- Julian is a freelance journalist who has covered the ins and outs of the global online and offline gambling industry since 2011.
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