DraftKings targets Canada with Toronto partnership

DraftKings targets Canada with Toronto partnership

Thursday, October 8, 2015 Totally Gaming
The daily fantasy operator will work with two of Canada's biggest sports teams

DraftKings said it hopes to raise its returns in Canada after signing a partnership with two of the country’s major sports teams.

The daily fantasy sports operator – which has endured a difficult week following accusations that one of its employees used restricted data to win $350,000 (€310,800) with rival FanDuel - has signed a four-year partnership with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), owner of the Toronto Raptors NBA basketball team and Toronto Maple Leafs NHL ice hockey franchise.

The deal is the first partnership signed by one of Canada’s major teams with a DFS operator, although Canada has no law that prohibits online gambling and its criminal code targets games of pure chance rather than those that mix chance and skill.

DraftKings’ terms of use states that ‘legal residents of Canada are eligible to open an account and participate in contests offered by the website’.

Jeremy Elbaum, DraftKings’ vice-president of business development, said the company was eager to grow its presence in Canada, as part of its recently-announced push for international growth.

“It wouldn't warrant a deal like this if we weren't already seeing some good results from people signing up in the Toronto area,” Elbaum said.

Under the deal, DraftKings will be promoted through signage at the Air Canada Centre, a new ‘interactive zone’ and contests and prizes offered to Leafs and Raptors fans.

DraftKings became a partner and official daily fantasy game of the NHL in 2014 in a multi-year deal, and has a number of agreements with teams across major sports leagues in the US.

While discussions continue in the US as to whether DFS should be considered as gambling, and New Jersey representative Frank Pallone recently called for a congressional hearing into the “murky” legality of fantasy sports, MLSE chief commercial officer David Hopkinson said the company is confident that DraftKings does not meet the legal definition of gambling in Canada.

Hopkinson added: “We've certainly done our homework. This market is still going to grow in Canada. I don't think it's anywhere near what it's going to become.”
 

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