When it comes to promos at Pennsylvania online sportsbooks, DraftKings is one of the most generous. So far in FY 2020/2021, the sportsbook doled out $16.8 million in promo credits, the second-most of any operator in the state.
Giving out freebies isn’t as easy as it seems. With twelve online sportsbooks available in PA, there is plenty of competition and an array of options for customers to choose from.
Even though sports betting in Pennsylvania is still in its infancy, there are some promos that bettors are already familiar with due to their popularity. DraftKings’ “Hammer the Over” promo and the “No Brainer bet” are likely crowned the most popular by DraftKings’ users. But the sportsbook also has had plenty of other promos like mystery profit boosts, 25% profit boost on any college basketball game and a regular refresh of sign-up offers.
Lexi Janson, director of sportsbook promotions at DraftKings, and her team are the “brains” behind the “No Brainer Bet” and DraftKings’ kingdom of promos.
Sights set on post-PAPSA USA
Janson, who hails from Melbourne, Australia, grew up with two older brothers and always loved sports. Sports betting is ubiquitous in Australia and when she reached the legal age, she started to consider it as a possible career.
When Janson attended the University of Melbourne, she worked at horse racing tracks for BetFair encouraging racegoers to sign-up. She studied economics and finance and developed a deeper understanding of how the betting exchanges worked.
Once she graduated, through her experience and network, she started working at Racing Victoria. As a strategic planner, Janson worked with bookmakers on betting structures and adapting the racing products to improve the user experience.
Janson always had ambitions to live in a different country. She took a role in the United Kingdom in 2014 with the British Horseracing Authority and then worked at Playtech BGT Sports, a sports betting tech provider.
While in London she attended various NFL games and her eyes started to wander stateside.
“The whole concept of sports betting really interests me. Once I saw the post-PAPSA being cleared in the United States, combined with my love of American sports, I had my sights set on the United States.”
A new world for sports betting
In 2019, she landed at DraftKings in New York. Janson answered questions from PlayPennsylvania about her role as director of sportsbook promotions, football fans in different countries, the early stages of legalized sports betting in the states, and other features of the DraftKings app.
Before it was a career for you, you were a fan. Can you touch on some of the differences of fandom in Australia versus the United States?
Janson: The biggest difference is there’s a lot of teams in the same cities in Australia, but in the US, everyone in a city is crazy into the one team so it’s way more of a community. You can walk around a tailgate and people are high-fiving pumping each other up.
Australians love sport and gambling. We even have two public holidays for big sports events (like if Super Bowl Monday was a holiday), but it’s still a different feel in America.
Also, the people in the United States are way friendlier to opposing teams compared to soccer in Europe and other places. I watched a Titans fan celebrating beating the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium and expected people to hurl abuse but the worst anyone said to the guy was “Hey Titans, you ruined my day.”
What was it like to come to a country where sports betting outside of Las Vegas was just starting?
Janson: To come to the US from very mature sports betting markets has been interesting because you can take some of your knowledge of what works in those mature markets. But ultimately, the US is so different. Each state is different. We can have sports that customers love in Pennsylvania and certain promotions they enjoy but it won’t necessarily fit in a different state.
It’s an exciting time filled with testing and learning about what customers in each state like. You have to take customers on more of an educational path. A lot of them don’t understand some basic parts of sports betting like odds and point spreads. You can really see the customer base mature through the educational journey.
DraftKings sportsbook promos and info inside the app
DraftKings has a trove of information in the app. You can click on a game and it has lots of stats on each team and betting information. (Like ATS record/total points line record/point spread movement). Not every sportsbook offers that. Why has DraftKings prioritized this?
Janson: My team has customer service experience and that’s a big focus for us at DraftKings. Through making sure customers have as much information as possible, the product is easy to use. When we design promotions, we try to make it as easy as possible for people to get the information they need and understand what’s needed to make and complete their wager. DraftKings is very customer centric. Every product is designed around how we can make the best customer experience. We want to give them as much betting knowledge as possible.
What is the process that goes into coming up with a promotion?
Janson: We are very data driven and customer centric. We have a general idea of potential events and products we want to promote. Our team is very diverse and we all have sports we love and we open it up to the rest of the company to submit ideas. Then our team sits, brainstorms and bounces ideas off each other. We think about if the customer will understand it, we incorporate past learnings, do a lot of research, try things out and continue to learn.
“Hammer the Over” is a social promotion. Do they generally tend to have better success?
Janson: We are always trying to innovate and get customers talking about the product. It includes being relevant to a sporting event or doing something relevant to what’s topical in the news. Some of the socially-driven ones like “Hammer the Over” is something customers really like.
The most recent “Hammer the Over” promo was super popular with customers and it was hammered to zero in 48 hours. Sports betting is actually quite social by nature where everyone loves to share their wins with friends. “Hammer the Over” allows customers to help each other make the odds of winning better.
Live betting is a popular feature. DraftKings is the only sportsbook I’ve noticed that offers boosted live bets. Why?
Janson: In game and live betting is a massive part of sports. Having something you can continue to choose to wager on is important and we put a lot of effort making sure our live product and our promotions give customers something to continue to be interested in. It’s the game within a game. We have a really good live betting product and I want to continue to promote it.
What is it like to work at DraftKings?
Johnny Avello praised you and your team’s work. Being at a place like DraftKings as it breaks into sports betting across the country must be exciting for you. Can you give us insight on what it’s like to work there?
Janson: It’s awesome. I made the best decision ever when I came here. When I meet people and tell them I work here they say, “That’s so cool.” And it really is.
Everything is so exciting and new and we do have the liberty to try different things as long as we are learning from those things. We get to unleash our creativity and it’s so much fun. The team around me, not only just my direct team, is very creative and fun to be around. The overall culture of DraftKings attracts super smart people. Even our developers, I think they have superpowers. They deliver things so fast. It’s a great time to be here and super exciting. It’s only going to get better.
Lead image credit: AP Photo/Charles Krupa