DraftKings announced yesterday that it had inked a deal with three premier soccer clubs, and that it will open its UK site to real-money betting sometime this week. The Boston-based company’s foray overseas will mark the first time that anyone outside of the US and Canada have played contests at the site.
Focus on ‘proper football’
While has built its business on the NFL (American football), the focus on the UK platform will be what the company calls “proper football” (I.e. soccer). To entice fans, the site has partnered with Liverpool FC, Arsenal FC and Watford, and plans to offer special prizes which will connect fans with their favorite clubs through one-of-a-kind experiences.
“We’re delighted to be leading the way in becoming one of DraftKings’ first football partnerships and we look forward to a long and successful relationship,” Liverpool said in a release.
DraftKings CEO Jason Robins expressed a similar sentiment on the company’s new partnership with Arsenal. “DraftKings are proud to be partnering with Arsenal, they are one of the world’s most recognized football clubs and are hugely popular in North America,” he said.
Setbacks at home
With activity buzzing over at DraftKings UK, the announcements come at a time when the company is taking fire on multiple fronts from lawmakers and law-enforcement officials in the US. Some see the UK launch as a way for the Boston-based site to diversify its portfolio and avoid the risk of going all in on the American market.
The company made clear, however, that the coming launch had nothing to do with the recent scrutiny it has endured, and that the move was already a year in the 翻墙 making. Of course, creating new revenue streams certainly wouldn’t hurt. “When we are looking to increase revenues around the world, we also recognize the fact that our bottom line may shift in other markets,” said company CIO Jeffrey Haas.
Untapped market for DFS
In the UK, daily fantasy operators are required to procure a gambling license in order to operate in the region. While it doesn’t like to refer to DFS as gambling, DraftKings to offer “gambling software” and “pool betting” last August.
While in most US states, DFS sites don’t need a gaming license, there are a variety of lawmakers looking to change their state laws and require them. The fact that DraftKings has successfully passed scrutiny by UK regulators is a good sign, and could be pointed to for those who think the site is involved in something nefarious.
DFS options for those inside the UK are limited, so it isn’t clear the amount of popularity the game will enjoy. Some analysts believe that bettors will pass on daily fantasy, and instead wager directly on the outcomes of sporting events at any one of Europe’s many legal sports betting sites.
DraftKings revealed that it would first focus its marketing on the basics, teaching players who may have never heard of daily fantasy exactly how the contests work. For now they will work closely with their new partner clubs to help educate fans at team events or during games, and will likely increase their ad spend in August, when the new Premier League season begins.