DraftKings is winning the sports betting race in New Jersey so far as it made around $8 million in the month of September, a 186 percent increase from the month of August when it made $2.96 million. It’s next closest competitor was FanDuel, which made $2.8 million in the month of September. SugarHouse came in third during the first month of the NFL season with $619,030 in revenue.
DraftKings was the first to partner with a physical casino in New Jersey (Resorts Casino) back in early August, and was subsequently the first to launch an online sportsbook. Being first to market has paid off substantially for DraftKings, and that - combined with the daily fantasy sports infrastructure it had in place - has the company in prime position in the budding sports betting market in the United States.
“Our short-term goals included being the first to launch in New Jersey. We also wanted to have the most compelling digital platform and I think we’ve had great results with what we think is the best product,” DraftKings CRO and co-founder Matt Kalish said in an exclusive interview with MetroBet. “So we’ve already met some of our short-term goals. We’re two-and-a-half months in, and we’re excited to see continued momentum in growing our user-base. We’re now six weeks into the NFL season and we’re really hitting our stride.”
DraftKings’ sportsbook site is as slick as it gets as we highlighted in our MetroBet review, and it mirrors a lot of what made the company’s DFS site so successful.
“We were working on the sportsbook for almost a year ahead of time, well ahead of most” Kalish told MetroBet. “We built things up from scratch with our daily fantasy model. We didn’t copy Europe (which already had online sportsbooks in place). We designed our own sportsbook that’s easy to use for the sports betting beginner. For instance when you first sign in it will literally say, for example, “Do you want the Red Sox or Yankees to win?” The mobile really feels good because it’s built native. We have had a great experience for existing fantasy players crossing over to betting.”
The online sportsbooks in New Jersey are also racing to have the most unique prop bets and parlay options available. Innovation in the online sports betting world, as DraftKings CEO Jason Robins told us in September, is going to be key moving forward.
DraftKings has already installed a feature called, “Cash Out,” which is available for pre-game, live, future and parlay bets. It can be for “more or less than your original wagered amount, depending on how events unfold following your bet placement.” In other words, if you’re afraid you’re going to lose big on a bet – you can cut your losses before the outcome is decided and save some face.
“We have the most sports available to bet on, the most availability, and live in-game betting,” Kalish told MetroBet. “Features like Cash Out – all of these are on the cutting edge. No one is going to have a richer feature set.”
As far as expansion to more states goes, DraftKings says it is taking a patient approach.
“New Jersey was obviously really ambitious with its timeline,” Kalish said. “They wanted to establish themselves as a leader in sports betting that the rest of the country could follow. Within two months they acted quickly and were approving products like our sportsbook. We knew New Jersey would grab the bull by the horns. West Virginia has followed suit, and they’re going with a lot of what New Jersey came up with. With the rest of the country we know it’s going to develop over a few years. The idea of a mobile sportsbook is a relatively new concept in the United States. In some ways it’s good that the process is deliberate to get the regulations right, to get the consumer protection right, and right now we’re seeing these states do their due diligence.”
Kalish is optimistic that DraftKings’ home state of Massachusetts will be among the first states to have sports betting legalization in the United States.
“I think Massachusetts will be one of the earliest states,” Kalish told MetroBet. “A lot of the northeast states will be the fastest moving. We’re based in Mass. We will love to see that market become legal. It would be great for us on several levels, including it will enable us to do the job hiring in our home state. There are a lot of benefits in Mass., and we’re optimistic it will happen in 2019.”