In a surprise move, and one that is clearly calculated, Draft Kings today announced that their mobile sports betting app is now available for download in New Jersey. Despite other sportsbooks having opened in the state over the last few weeks, this is the first mobile app available on the market. This move trumps the planned launch of MGM International’s app, which was due to take a bet by the end of this week. Don’t cry for MGM though; their news this week of a joint venture with GVC Holdings and a marketing deal with the NBA is more than enough to keep them in the spotlight.
Although the app is currently only available by invitation at the moment, it is very much live and approved by the state regulator. On Wednesday night, the first online sports bet in the United States made legally outside the state of Nevada happened on the Draft Kings app, in partnership with Resorts World Casino of Atlantic City. This is a historic moment, as it now opens the door to other operations launching online, and this is where many see the huge potential for growth in the regulated sports betting market.
The app features the same color scheme as the Draft Kings Daily Fantasy App, which is a nice way to draw in players from their database of millions. Early reports indicate that there will be a significant amount of bet types and options available in the app, giving players the full gaming experience. Not only that, but sources say that the smallest bet amount available on the app is a mere 10 cents! Now, we aren’t sure who would be making such a small wager, but the company is clearly drawing on the experience it games on player behavior running one of the largest gaming operations in the U.S. over the last few years.
Another interesting piece of the mobile betting platform is the number of in-play bets that are being offered by the Draft Kings sportsbook. In-play betting is expected to be a huge boom in the U.S. market, especially for sports like baseball and football. We can see a large group of new bettors coming into the market with the opportunity to bet on the next hit, the next pass or a missed field goal attempt while the game is taking place.
This is a huge step forward for Draft Kings, who along with their DFS rival FanDuel have clearly pivoted their model towards the fledgling sports betting market. While FanDuel sold their company to Paddy Power and remain the U.S.-facing brand, Draft Kings decided to keep the company in-house by raising more capital. It remains to be seen which decision will prove more lucrative, but the real question is how this news impacts the fate of the Daily Fantasy Sports industry. Both companies have alluded to the idea that DFS will be in decline when real sports betting becomes available in more states. However, there is still a lot of money to be made in fantasy, so we assume that both companies will continue to drive traffic, although perhaps not with as much vigor as past years.
With football season around the corner, it is anticipated that the Draft Kings Sportsbook app will come out of soft launch and be available for all New Jersey residents to access. For now, this is the first approved online sports betting app in the market, and we will watch closely to see what figures are reported on the betting handle and hold via the app.