DraftKings Says ‘Up 10’ Promo Still Alive, Didn’t Necessarily Lose Money on It

Posted on: September 21, 2022, 02:47h. 

Last updated on: September 21, 2022, 04:38h.

Contrary to some media reports, DraftKings’ “NFL Up 10” promotion isn’t dead. But the online sportsbook operator admitted the gambit resulted in payouts totaling $75 million through the first two weeks of the NFL season.

Up 10 promo
A DraftKings advertisement, seen above. The company may not be killing the Up 10 promo after all. (Image: Pittsburgh Sports Now)

Citing an unidentified source, a betting-related site published an article on Tuesday saying DraftKings is halting the promotion after taking the aforementioned $75 million drubbing. Earlier today, a spokesman from the Boston-based company told Casino.org that the promo will be available for the Cleveland Browns/Pittsburgh Steelers tilt on Thursday Night Football, and that it will be reassessed thereafter.

We’ll see what we do moving forward — not committing one way or the other,” said the spokesman. “It would be unfair to state that we are canceling the promo. It would also be false to state that we are halting the promo after paying out $75 million, which some reports have indicated.”

The “Up 10” offering pays bettors as long as the team they select goes up by 10 or more points at any point during an NFL game. That’s even though the chosen team doesn’t need to win outright or cover a traditional spread. In a hypothetical example, a DraftKings client who picked the Cleveland Browns to go up by 10 against the New York Jets last Sunday was a winner under the terms of the promo, despite the fact the Browns lost the game in historically epic fashion.

Conversely, although the Jets won the game, they never led by at least 10 points, meaning a bettor who went with that team in “Up 10” would have lost.

With ‘Up 10,’ Devil Is In the Details

For novice bettors and those new to the industry, understanding the proper application of terms such as “handle” and “hold” are important in gaining insight into what may or may not be happening with the “Up 10” promotion.

Handle is the total amount wagered, while hold is what the sportsbook retains after paying out the winners. In the case of the aforementioned $75 million, that is what DraftKings paid. But, as the spokesman told Casino.org, the company is only publicizing what it paid out on the promo — not the overall handle.

“It would be impossible for anyone to know whether we lost money or made money on the promo without knowing what the total handle was. The only thing the $75 million figure represents is that engagement was strong,” said the gaming company representative.

The spokesman added that DraftKings has used similar promotions in the past.

Promotions Still Under Scrutiny

After a dismal 2021 and mostly forgettable run in 2022, publicly traded sportsbook operators such as DraftKings — and casino companies with direct exposure to the business — are under scrutiny from analysts and investors regarding promotional spending.

Recently, there have been encouraging signs on that front, as Caesars Sportsbook curtailed a significant portion of its traditional media buys following March Madness, and with PointsBet and WynnBET opting out of NFL ads this season.

Some analysts see signs of promotion rationalization from DraftKings, as the gaming company is under pressure to stem losses and show investors that there’s a viable path to profitability sooner than later.