DraftKings continues to show it will not rest on its laurels. The DFS and online sportsbook giant just became a publicly traded company on Friday. On May 1, DraftKings will be going live with its online casino product in Pennsylvania.
At the PGCB meeting Wednesday morning, DraftKings petitioned for an Interactive Gaming Operator License. A DraftKings representative confirmed to PlayPA they received approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and are now ready to go, pending a successful soft launch.
Tim Dent, Chief Compliance Officer of DraftKings provided the following statement:
“DraftKings appreciates the collaborative working relationship we have established with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and thanks them for their thoughtful leadership in creating a consumer-focused, competitive iGaming market. We look forward to successfully completing the soft launch phase of the process and receiving our iGaming license so that we can be fully operational in Pennsylvania on May 1.”
The soft launch is planned for Wednesday from 2-10 p.m. and Thursday from 1-11 p.m., a DraftKings representative told PlayPA.
DraftKings already has a robust online casino in New Jersey, under the Resorts Atlantic City license. That launched back in December 2018, a few months after its online sportsbook went live in the Garden State.
In New Jersey, the casino is integrated with the online sportsbook app. Whether that will be the case in Pennsylvania remains to be seen.
A Penn National land-based partner
In Pennsylvania, online gambling products need a land-based casino partner with an online gaming license. DraftKings’ sportsbook partner, Meadows Racetrack & Casino, did not apply for an online casino license when it had the chance.
That was likely because the owner, Penn National, also owns Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, which does have an online casino license.
Because PA gaming law allows for multiple online casino skins under a single operator license, Penn would only need the one. Penn was the first to launch an online casino in PA, with Hollywood Casino going live in July 2019.
Penn also has a market-access agreement with DraftKings, making them the obvious partner of choice. With nine online casinos now live in PA, DraftKings will throw its hat into the ring and likely operate under Hollywood’s license.
Unlike the two skins of Rivers Casino Philadelphia – PlaySugarHouse and BetRivers – Hollywood’s two casinos aren’t likely to be clones of each other.
What to expect from DraftKings Casino PA
What Pennsylvanians can expect from the new DraftKings Casino is a high quality product and generous promotions to go with strong brand recognition.
If the NJ version is any indication, DraftKings Casino PA will offer a wide array of online slots, as well as video poker and table games like blackjack and roulette. DraftKings also has a robust offering of live dealer games in the Garden State, which will likely be replicated eventually in PA.
The other DFS leader, FanDuel, successfully followed its sportsbook launch with an online casino in PA at the end of January. The brand recognition and built-in sportsbook customer base proved fruitful for FanDuel, which was the leading operator in total play and revenue in its first full month in operation.
DraftKings has remained the No. 2 behind sportsbook leader FanDuel, which typically brings in around twice the amount of handle.
Still, with online casino continuing its ascent, and total play and revenue peaking in March, there’s no reason that DraftKings couldn’t make a big splash in the iGaming scene immediately. Competition for market share is on the rise though in the Keystone State.
Already this year, BetRivers, BetAmerica, FanDuel, and most recently Caesars Casino, all joined the PA market. So DraftKings will have its work cut out for it in that respect.
Solidifying a strong position in the PA market
Also on the PGCB docket for April 29, DraftKings is applying for a Sports Wagering Operator License. This may seem out of place as DraftKings has been operating a sportsbook in PA since early November, 2019.
But the initial approval that allowed DraftKings to enter the market was conditional. With Wednesday’s PGCB approval, DraftKings has approval to operate for five more years.
DraftKings may be joining a crowded online casino market in PA, but the joint sportsbook-iGaming offering should prove beneficial for the company as it has for its DFS counterpart.
The strengthened competition should also benefit online casino patrons in PA, who had quite limited iGaming options mere months ago. That is far from the case now, and even more so once DraftKings launches on Friday.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated on April 29 with new information following the PGCB approval of DraftKings’ online casino license petition.