Here’s How DraftKings Beat Everyone To Market With Its NJ Online Sportsbook

draftkings sportsbook

It’s been nearly three months since the US Supreme Court ruled PASPA unconstitutional, and suffice it to say, there have been plenty of plot twists and surprises along the way.

One of those surprises was the launch of the first mobile sports betting app in New Jersey. An honor that went to daily fantasy sports titan DraftKings.

DraftKings shocked a lot of people when it became the first sportsbook operator to launch a mobile app outside of Nevada.

It’s interesting that a DFS company with no background in sports betting to speak of beat a number of casinos to the punch, but DraftKings¬†being first to market with a mobile sports betting app shouldn’t be too surprising.

In the works way before the SCOTUS decision

To be clear, DraftKings Sportsbook app didn’t just fall from the clouds, and the company didn’t wait until SCOTUS ruled on PASPA before it started working on it.

DraftKings has been in European markets since its UK launch in February 2016 and has seen plenty of sports betting products and made plenty of connections.

According to Dan Back’s sources (which are sure to be highly placed) DraftKings has been working on an NJ mobile sports betting app for at least a year.

In fact, DraftKings Sportsbook app appears to have been in development long before the company officially signed a deal with sports betting tech provider, Kambi.

According to some European market gurus I spoke with, the DraftKings app is a lot of Kambi with some additional build-out on top. That seems to indicate DraftKings and Kambi have been working together for quite some time.

And don’t lose sight of the fact that DraftKings entire business is built on its online and mobile DFS platform.

Did a clean slate speed up the process?

Another factor that may have worked in DraftKings favor was brought up by a Twitter commenter with a technology background. According to Silent_Bob87891 (a known entity on DFS Twitter), from a tech standpoint, it might be easier to create a new product for a specific market than it is to tailor an existing product to the same market.

DraftKings Sportsbook is a standalone product

In the same vein, DraftKings may have found it easier to receive New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement approval because its online sportsbook is a standalone product.

As such, DraftKings isn’t integrating the sportsbook into an existing NJ online casino. That’s something most of the other operators in the market are doing, and something that requires additional work and testing.

Assuming most of the expected NJ online sports betting operators submitted their products for testing around the same time, approval comes down to readiness.

The DGE didn’t play favorites. It would have tested each product in turn, and the fewer tests an NJ sports betting product has to pass, the fewer tweaks and retests it will need to go through.

In the case of DraftKings, there was no need to put it through the paces to see if it was properly integrated with an existing online casino.

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Steve Ruddock


Steve covers nearly every angle of online poker in his job as a full-time freelance poker writer. His primary focus is the developing legal and legislative picture for regulated US online poker and gambling.