Opening a sportsbook won’t be part of daily fantasy site DraftKings broad range of overseas expansion plans according to its Chief Executive Officer Jason Robins who said, “We know what we do, and that’s daily fantasy.”
Part of a rapidly expanding fantasy sports industry, DraftKings customers choose actual athletes at various positions depending on the sport, who are competing that day. Participants win money if their player’s daily stats outperform other competitor’s picks. The company expects to open a London office and begin offering games sometime this year after it received a U.K. gaming license this week.
Part of a larger vision for its overseas expansion, the company would like to bring the daily fantasy game to other European countries such as, Asia and Latin America. Robins said, “Like it is in the U.S., this is a race, and now that race is global.” Adding to the expansion would be a wider variety of sports such as tennis and expand on soccer and cricket. Approximately $300 million in funding by Series D financing led by Fox Sports made the overseas expansion possible. Robins said he didn’t know how much of that would be used for the move. Assembling the budget for DraftKings in the next few months, Jeffrey Haas, a former poker executive, was hired by the company as its chief international officer.
According to Eilers Research LLC, in 2014 FanDuel’s entry fees exceeded those of DraftKings by half. Robins added that it passed FanDuel’s entry fees in mid-June and has exceeded its rivals revenue and payouts for the past eight weeks. The company expects there to be a demand for fantasy games, especially more soccer, by fans in the U.K. where it is legal to bet on sports, according to the managing director of Digital & Interactive Gaming at Eilers, Adam Krejcik. The managing director added that, “It’s a green field opportunity right now, and an approach that can differentiate DraftKings from its biggest competitor.” In addition to competing with each other, the two leaders can now add Yahoo Fantasy Sports, who has entered the daily fantasy game, to their competition.
FanDuel had no comment on whether or not it had similar expansion plan, but Wednesday it did announce a plan to purchase analytics platform NumberFire, to aid in expanding beyond their daily fantasy sports platform.
Investors of Boston-based DraftKings founded in 2012 include, New England Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, Madison Square Garden Co., Major League Soccer, the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball.