DraftKings Moving Ahead with Games, Business Plans Amid COVID-19 Outbreak, Offering Free Contest Sunday on Democratic Debate

Posted on: March 15, 2020, 01:22h. 

Last updated on: March 16, 2020, 09:00h.

Even with an extremely limited sports menu on the docket because of the COVID-19 pandemic, DraftKings told Casino.org on Friday that it still plans to offer all of its products to its customers across the country.

US Sen. Bernie Sanders (left) and former Vice President Joe Biden will hopefully practice better social distancing during Sunday’s debate. DraftKings is offering a free-to-play nationwide game based on the debate, with $10,000 up for grabs. (Image: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Proof of that is on the company’s sportsbook page, where it’s offering a free-to-play game on Sunday night’s Democratic Debate between US Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Vice President Joe Biden. DraftKings is guaranteeing $10,000 for a game that’s open for anyone to play, even if they’re located in states where sports betting is illegal.

As of 3:30 pm ET Sunday, more than 22,000 people had signed up for the game, which limits entries to one per person. Entrants must answer 12 questions, and the contestant with the highest score wins $5,000. Second and third place winners will earn $3,000 and $2,000, respectively.

By 4:15 pm, the number of entrants grew to more than 32,500.

The two-hour debate will start at 8 p.m. ET and will air on CNN. It’s the first time that only the top two Democrats candidates will be on the stage, and it’s the last debate before Arizona, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio are scheduled to hold their primary elections on Tuesday.

Just as the coronavirus pandemic has drastically altered the sports landscape in America, it’s also affected the debate. It’s been moved to Washington, DC from Phoenix and there will be no studio audience.

Some Sports Still Available

Current sports available for betting at DraftKings include Russian KHL ice hockey, upcoming MMA and boxing matches, Australian rugby, and Australian rules football. Aussie rules football is scheduled to start its regular season early Thursday morning (US time).

DraftKings had offered Mexican Liga MX soccer.  But that league announced Sunday it would suspend play because of the COVID-19 virus.

The sportsbook also has a select list of 26 college football games available for betting. The available games begin with Notre Dame’s Aug. 29 game against the Naval Academy. The Fighting Irish are a 14.5-point favorite over the visiting Midshipmen, and go through Nov. 28, the final week of the regular season.

Right now, games offered for the final week of the season include: Alabama-Auburn, where the Crimson Tide are a 9.5-point favorite over visiting Auburn; Ohio State-Michigan, where the Buckeyes are is a 7.5-point favorite over visiting Michigan; and Wisconsin-Iowa, where the visiting Badgers are a 2.5-point road favorite at Iowa.

DraftKings currently offers sportsbook gambling in eight states. It offers mobile sports betting in Iowa, Indiana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. It also has retail sportsbooks in Iowa, Mississippi, New Jersey and New York.

Business Plan Still on Track

The coronavirus pandemic is also not affecting the company’s business plans, a DraftKings spokesperson to Casino.org.

We remain on track to become a public company through our business combination with Diamond Eagle (Acquisition Corp.) and SBTech, and closed out 2019 having achieved $323 million in net revenue, a 43% increase over 2018,” they said. “When games resume in the sports and leagues impacted by COVID-19, DraftKings will be right where we’ve always been–in the middle of the action with our millions of players.”

In December, DraftKings announced its intention to become a publicly traded company through a deal with Diamond Eagle. Diamond Eagle is a special purchase acquisition corporation traded on NASDAQ. It would assume DraftKings’ name, reincorporate in Nevada, and change its stock ticker abbreviation. The plan at the time was for the transaction to close sometime in the first half of this year.

SBTech is a European company that offers back-end sports betting technology solutions, including oddsmaking.