DraftKings to Soft Launch in Pennsylvania Today

Today, will be the start of new sports betting services online in Pennsylvania. DraftKings is expected to launch their digital sportsbook today to begin the testing phase. The sports betting brand was approved by the Gaming Control Board, receiving their Sports Wagering Operator License on October 30th.

Testing Begins

With the green light provided by regulators, the soft launch phase can begin. The testing portion will be overseen by the Board, and if all goes well, the brand will be fully operational in just a few days. Once they are live, DraftKings will be the 6th operator to be live in the state with online wagering. Slowly but surely, iGaming services are launching in the Keystone State.

Penn National Gaming Deal

For DraftKings to move ahead in the mobile gaming market of Pennsylvania, they needed a partner. During the summer, the brand signed a deal with Penn National Gaming, a local operator. The deal is for ten years and covers not only Pennsylvania but six additional states.

DraftKings quickly got into the sports betting industry after the option became a reality in May 2018. Since then, the operator has launched in four states and was the first to provide a digital sportsbook in New Jersey. The brand also offers services in Indiana and West Virginia.

Entry into Pennsylvania could be a game-changer for the brand. The sports betting industry of the state has huge growth potential and could fare better than even Nevada and New Jersey as the industry matures. Right now, Nevada and New Jersey continue to rotate back and forth as to who is the top state when it comes to monthly sports betting revenues and handle.

Pennsylvania has the population and potential to outshine the two states, but must see their industry mature before the big numbers start rolling in. For their operations in New Jersey, DraftKings quickly rose to the top of the pack. It is expected that they will do the same in Pennsylvania, but only time will tell if they will truly be able to gain the momentum needed to pull ahead of their competitors.

One thing that DraftKings has over other competitors is brand recognition. Players know who they are and will want to place sports bets within their application. They do have stiff competition from FanDuel, their rival going back to the daily fantasy sports days. Already, FanDuel has pulled ahead of the pack.

For September, the state saw over 81% of sports bets placed via online services. Half of those bets went through the FanDuel sportsbook. DraftKings will have to try and capitalize on their online offering and pull some of FanDuels customers if they want to compete.

It will be interesting to see the totals as more operators get started in the state. In September, the betting handle came in at $194.5 million. The term handle is used to describe the wagers placed. Of that number, online handle came in at just over $158 million.


Logan is based in Los Angeles and is an avid poker player having played in tournaments across the globe. He covers both poker & regulatory affairs.