With New Jersey set to start offering legal wagering on sports this Thursday, DraftKings is scrambling to get in on the action.
The daily fantasy sports (DFS) operator took another step towards that goal this week, as it applied for a key sports betting license in New Jersey. The Casino Service Industry Enterprise License is one of the requirements needed to offer sports betting in the state, and the New Jersey Division of Gaming and Entertainment (DGE) says it now has that DraftKings application in hand.
It’s the latest in months of maneuvering by the company to take advantage of the new sports betting landscape in the US. After telegraphing its intentions to enter the market once it was legalized, DraftKings then struck a deal with Resorts Atlantic City in early June to offer sports betting games under that casino’s land-based license.
With this latest license application, the company’s effort to be a major player in the sports betting scene in New Jersey just went from “possible” to “pending.”
Ready to Roll
Last month, the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) struck down a federal law that banned wagering on sports in all but four US states. That opened the door for individual states to decide to legalize — and to create their own regulations — for sports wagering inside their own borders.
New Jersey, which had filed the original challenge to the sports betting block with SCOTUS, quickly finalized new laws which would allow its residents to legally bet on sports, and Governor Phil Murphy signed the bill . While Delaware beat everyone to the punch, the Garden State isn’t far behind.
Now, one month after the Supreme Court ruling, bettors will lineup on Thursday morning to place the first sports wagers under New Jersey’s new regulatory framework.
One of the first in line is expected to be retired State Senator Ray Lesniak, a key proponent of legal sports betting in New Jersey.
“Fifty dollars on France to win the World Cup,” Lesniak said via ESPN. “That’s big-time for me.”
For now, betting will be limited to New Jersey’s Monmouth Park racetrack. But more of the state’s racetracks and casinos are expected to follow suit over the summer.
That includes DraftKings, assuming that the license application is quickly approved by state regulators. And the company appears to be going all out as it jumps into the sports betting business.
Launching such a major new initiative isn’t cheap, and according to one report, the DFS operator is attempting to load up on capital to make sure this latest venture is done right.
Earlier this week, business news site Axios detailed a recent meeting between DraftKings and its investors. The company is reportedly trying to raise between $150 million and $200 million to beef up its sports betting operations.
DraftKings’ goal is to be fully licensed and operational in time for the kickoff of the NFL season in September.
Investors have been told that the daily fantasy sports (DFS) side of the operation will continue to generate the bulk of revenue in coming years. That could change eventually, however, once more states have their own sports betting regulations in place.
DraftKings could use the new funding for a variety of upgrades, but hasn’t yet made that direction public. Additions to the company’s existing DFS mobile apps to expand its sports betting options seems like one obvious possibility, at least.