DraftKings has no plans of leaving New Jersey anytime soon. The Boston-based company unveiled its new 7,500-square-foot office in Hoboken.
There are more than 50 employees working inside the new digs that feature state-of-the-art technology.
Of course, the New Jersey office does not quite measure up to the corporate headquarters that opened just last month in Boston’s Back Bay section. That one comes in at 105,000 square feet.
But make no mistake: The Garden State is a key player in DraftKings’ current and future growth.
Paul Liberman, COO and co-founder, spoke to media members last Tuesday about the importance of being in New Jersey.
“This is turning into our gaming hub. A lot of our talent here is for our overall sports betting product. It’s not just New Jersey related. As we expand nationwide, New Jersey is going to have a more critical role.”
DraftKings + NJ sports betting
The origins of DraftKings date back to 2012 when Matt Kalish, Jason Robins, and Liberman co-founded the daily fantasy sports company. And it started out of his spare bedroom.
The DFS product is now available in 42 states, with Alabama recently coming onboard.
At the time, the reality of legalized NJ sports betting was still facing a major hurdle: overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).
But expanding into the world of sports betting was indeed on the radar.
After all, DraftKings holds the distinction of being first to launch an NJ sports betting app and the first of its kind outside Nevada.
“I think a lot of people counted us out because we’ve never been in regulated gaming and regulated gaming markets. One thing about the culture of DraftKings is we love challenges and overcoming those types of challenges.”
From upstart to sports betting leader
Looking back at the other mobile online sportsbooks that launched prior to the start of the 2018 football season, the majority of the other players were established casinos or bookmakers. The list includes:
- PlayMGM Sports (Aug. 22)
- PlaySugarHouse NJ (Aug. 23)
- FanDuel Sportsbook (Sept. 1)
- William Hill NJ (Sept. 1)
- Caesars Sportsbook (Sept. 6)
For Liberman and the DraftKings team, it was mission accomplished.
“Believe it or not, about a year and a half ago, we said we wanted to launch our sportsbook on Aug. 1, 2018, assuming PASPA got overturned. The team was able to turn it around on Aug. 1 at 5 p.m.”
Testing began with a soft launch, and the rest is history.
There’s an app for that, too
It’s no secret that mobile apps such as DraftKings are the key to becoming the top sports betting market in the land. And now, it’s no longer just chatter.
Nevada released its revenue figures late last week, and the Silver State enjoyed its best May ever with a handle of $317,380,281.69.
But New Jersey took the sports betting crown with a handle of $318,940,677.
And online sports wagering continues to be a huge contributing factor. In May alone, $263.5 million came via mobile and online devices, accounting for 82.6% of the overall handle.
Jamie Shea, head of digital sportsbook at DraftKings, explained that mobile betting “really lends itself so well to live betting.”
“If you want to bet while the game is going on, it’s such a quick turnaround. You’ve got like 30 seconds to make these wagers. To have mobile betting is really important.”
The concept also lends itself to some great promotional offers. DraftKings, for instance, made May 14 free to bet day, celebrating the one-year anniversary of PASPA’s fall.
Yes, something is in the works for the August anniversary, too. Shea and the DraftKings team are not quite ready to spill the beans just yet.
Crossing the sports betting bridge
It’s highly likely that wherever legal sports betting is accepted, DraftKings will find a way to become a major player in the market
Think about it. The mobile app was just phase one.
In November, DraftKings opened a permanent retail sportsbook in Atlantic City. It’s now one of the more popular places to bet. You also may have heard about the DraftKings Casino, which is integrated with the sportsbook app.
Liberman is certainly pleased with the New Jersey online casino’s performance to date. In fact, he’s quick to point out that a lot of players also like table games. The cross-selling has already garnered headlines as Resorts AC posts ever-growing NJ online gambling revenue.
DraftKings also has sportsbooks in Mississippi at the Scarlet Pearl. And the company hopes to launch online in West Virginia via a licensing agreement with Penn National Gaming.
It’s highly likely that scenic NYC view from Hoboken will be one of many down the road for DraftKings. Indiana, Tennessee, and maybe just maybe New York are now on the radar.
Liberman and the DraftKings team are ready for that next challenge.
“The industry is growing faster than we projected, and it’s been amazing to see. I would say it has passed our own internal projections.”