Here’s what we know: DraftKings is hoping to enter the international market. That much is made clear by the DFS site’s application for a UK remote gambling license.
Here’s what we don’t know: Pretty much anything else.
Is DraftKings preparing for a push into English Premiere League soccer? Is it planning to launch more traditional gaming operations? When might licensure be granted? Upon approval, when might DraftKings launch its new plans? How will this affect the company’s relationships with existing partners in the United States? What about its perception among US lawmakers?
For now, DraftKings is maintaining silence, but industry insiders and analysts weighed in with divergent opinions in an article published today on TheDailyPayoff.com.
Adam Krejick, who follows the DFS sector for Eilers Research, pointed out that the move “might seem hypocritical since (sites) have maintained DFS is not gambling.”
Others, like attorney and Forbes columnist Darren Heitner, are more bullish.
“It (makes sense) for multiple reasons,” Heitner told TheDailyPayoff. “The chief justification being that DraftKings can test out a proprietary gambling platform that is ready to be implemented in the United States should the federal law preventing widespread gambling (PASPA) be amended or revoked. Furthermore, it will allow for an extension of the brand on a worldwide scale, which could open doors for the proliferation of its fantasy-related offerings. Additionally, it may believe that there is market share to grab — making sense from the most basic premise that it has a platform that could generate additional revenue at a reasonable cost.”
In an email with DailyFantasyTalk, Heitner said DraftKings’ precise plans remain unclear, “but it can be safely assumed that DraftKings is interested and believes itself to be ready for international expansion. Furthermore, it appears to feel confident that its platform is suitable for a more expansive offering (i.e. gambling).”
One potential competitor in the UK, Mondogoal CEO Shegul Arshad, expressed surprise at DraftKings’ potential move, but added that he hopes it will prove fruitful. (Note: Mondogoal holds licenses from the UK Gambling Commission for Pool Betting, Gambling Software and Betting Intermediary; DraftKings has applied only for Pool Betting and Gambling Software.)
“It’s certainly a strange move, if you ask me,” said Arshad, who rolled out his soccer-centric site in the UK in 2014. “For a US-based company to go over there, it’s a strange move given the fact so many states and jurisdictions are being looked at.”
But, “If the pie grows, we are all taking slices of the pie.”
For now, DraftKings, looks like the solitary mover among U.S.-based companies into the U.K. market. FanDuel has no plans to apply for a similar license, and a search for other major DFS companies on the UK Gambling Commission website turned up no hits.