Draftkings expands in the East

Pennsylvania is hoping for a massive Vegas casino sports betting industry while New Hampshire’s expectations are more modest.  Either way, sports betting is moving full speed ahead in both states as DraftKings enters both markets.

Mobile Sports Betting App Launches in Pennsylvania

The DraftKings Sportsbook made its Pennsylvania debut last month as the state’s sixth online sportsbook. Days after the Pennsylvania Gaming Control board approved DraftKings PA sports betting license, the company announced that its app will be up and running in the coming days.

“DraftKings is excited to receive our sports wagering operator license, moving us one step closer to bringing our top-rated online and mobile Sportsbook app to sports fans in Pennsylvania,” said Tim Dent, Chief Compliance Officer of DraftKings. “Working in partnership with the outstanding team at Penn National Gaming, we expect the mandatory soft-play period to begin on Nov. 4 toward the goal of an official public launch a few days later.”

DraftKings Expansion

With its PA app, DraftKings sportsbook has four apps in four states. DraftKings presently runs apps in West Virginia, New Jersey and Indiana and hopes to launch in New Hampshire by the end of this year. However, it’s the Pennsylvania market that excites DraftKings which believes that the Keystone State will eventually eclipse New Jersey and Nevada in sports betting handle income.

In September, NFL games pushed revenue to about $195 million which was up 78.4% over August. FanDuel, DraftKings’ biggest competitor, has been running its own app in Pennsylvania for the last 4 months and presently it controls the market. The FanDuel app took in more than half of the state’s September online handle and the company says that it’s ready to meet the DraftKings competition.

DraftKings entered into two partnerships that have made their Pennsylvania sports betting launch possible.  The first is with Penn National, owners of Hollywood and Meadows casinos. That agreement gives DraftKings market access. In addition, DraftKings signed an extension with Kambi, a sportsbook platform, which gives Draftkings Pennsylvania and seven additional states in which to operate.

The seventh sportsbook to open an app in Pennsylvania is Unibet which also opened this month. Unibet will operate both a casino and a sportsbook. Unibet will partner with Mohegan Sun to operate both an online sports betting app as well as a retail sports betting operation. Unibet will run the iGaming operations at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Unibet has already opened in New Jersey at the Hard Rock Atlantic City casino which makes Pennsylvania Unibet’s second state.

Unibet signed two important partnerships in Pennsylvania -- one with the Philadelphia Union, Philly’s Major League Soccer team, and a second with the NJL’s New Jersey Devils as a sponsor with in-arena and digital marketing opportunities.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire’s sports betting industry will kick off with a DraftKings mobile sportsbook. New Hampshire finalized legalization of sports betting this July and supporters hope to see the DraftKings sportsbook up and running as early as December 2019.

DraftKings edged out 12 other operators, including Kambi and MGM Resorts/GVC’s Roar Digital, to win the go-ahead to provide NH bettors with a DraftKings mobile app in time for this year’s NFL season.

A DraftKings spokesperson commented, “DraftKings is proud to be selected to offer mobile and retail sports betting in New Hampshire. We look forward to soon providing sports fans in the Granite State with our best-in-class mobile and online Sportsbook product, and welcoming them into our dynamic retail sportsbooks. DraftKings will continue to collaborate closely with the New Hampshire Lottery Commission towards our mutual goal of bringing fun, safe and responsible sports betting to New Hampshire.”

DraftKings also competed to operate the New Hampshire lottery but Intralot won that channel. Intralot will supply the New Hampshire Lottery gaming system through June 2025.

Other operators might soon join DraftKings in the New Hampshire market. According to New Hampshire law, up to five retail operators and 10 mobile operators will be allowed to run in the state. According to the DraftKings agreement with the state, if it remains the sole mobile operator in the Granite State, it will share 51% of its revenue with the state treasury. (ROAR offered 20% and Kambi offered 12%).  If two or three operators are allowed to operate, the revenue share will drop to 21% and if four or five operators run sportsbooks, the DraftKings revenue-share will drop to 16%.

Regarding retail sportsbooks, DraftKings will share 40% of the sports betting revenue, regardless of the number of sportsbooks that are allowed to operate.

Chris Sununu, New Hampshire governor, has been a big supporter of bringing sports betting to his state. He told a radio show that legalizing NH sports betting is a “no-brainer” and claims that he’s “baffled” by how neighbor Massachusetts has not yet legalized sports betting.

“We’re going gangbusters up here,” Sununu said. “… we’re going to be announcing the first contracts in the next few weeks here.”

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