DraftKings Casino up for approval in PA on Wednesday
Online Poker Report

Going Green: DraftKings Casino Racing Into Pennsylvania This Week

DraftKings Casino PA approval

DraftKings Casino is officially on its way to Pennsylvania.

During its monthly tele-meeting on Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) approved a soft launch for DraftKings’ young online casino platform. The newly public company with roots in fantasy sports has been operating its online sportsbook in PA since November.

Chief Compliance Officer Tim Dent told PlayPennsylvania that he doesn’t anticipate any hiccups during the three-day testing period.

DraftKings appreciates the collaborative working relationship we have established with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and thanks them for their thoughtful leadership in creating a consumer-focused, competitive iGaming market. We look forward to successfully completing the soft launch phase of the process and receiving our iGaming license so that we can be fully operational in Pennsylvania on May 1.

Presuming all goes according to plan, the launch of DraftKings Casino will bring the number of active PA online casinos into double digits.

The market, which initially got off to a slower start than expected, is suddenly getting quite crowded. Three new products have already launched this year, including Caesars Casino just last week.

DraftKings Casino ready to race in PA

DraftKings’ land-based casino partner is one of the few in Pennsylvania that did not apply for an online casino license. The Meadows owner Penn National also owns Hollywood Casino at the other end of the state and prioritizes the latter brand in the digital realm.

Penn did obtain interactive permits for that property, and Hollywood was in fact the state’s first online casino to launch last July.

Under PA online gambling law, each land-based casino can have multiple interactive partners acting as skins. DraftKings Casino will therefore operate under Hollywood’s license per the terms of their national market-access agreement formed in 2019.

Also on the same docket was a Sports Wagering Operator License for DraftKings, an upgrade from the conditional permit it initially received to expedite launch. With PCBG approval, the company now holds a full license to operate DraftKings Sportsbook PA for the next five years.

Early FanDuel returns set a promising precedent

To predict how DraftKings Casino might fare in Pennsylvania, we can look at FanDuel’s trend since it launched online casino games at the end of January. The two companies have similar origins in the daily fantasy sports space and equally recognizable brands due to their extensive national advertising campaigns.

FanDuel Casino PA was the highest-earning online casino in Pennsylvania during February, its first full month of operation, before falling behind PokerStars/Fox Bet and BetRivers. Its lack of desktop support has become a hinderance with more people now playing from home during the coronavirus outbreak.

FanDuel Sportsbook is also the largest in the state, and by a wider margin. DraftKings is currently in second place in the sports category with about half as much handle as its main competitor.

If DraftKings Casino likewise gets about half the action that FanDuel Casino does, that suggests roughly $2.5 million in monthly gross revenue — or about as much as Penn already generates through Hollywood.

Doubling Penn’s monthly revenue to $5 million wouldn’t quite move it into the lead, but it would put it on par with FanDuel and not far behind PokerStars/Fox Bet.

Such competition would no doubt be good for the PA online gambling market, putting four of the seven land-based license holders in contention for the pole position.

Alex Weldon
- Alex is a freelance writer and artist living in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. He has been doing data-based analysis of the online gaming industry since 2016.
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