DraftKings to bring US fantasy sports market to UK?

DraftKings to bring US fantasy sports market to UK?

Thursday, June 18, 2015 Totally Gaming
Chief executive Jason Robins has spoken of global expansion

DraftKings has applied for a gambling licence in the UK, according to documents seen by TotallyGaming.com.

The US daily fantasy sports operator looks set to launch in the UK after taking initial steps to gain licences for gambling software and pool betting.

Both applications, which are in the name of DraftKings, giving the company’s Boston, US address and the domain Draftkings.co.uk, are deemed “in progress” by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).

Neither DraftKings - valued at $1bn (€880m) after a recent funding drive - nor Jeffrey Green Russell, the London-based commercial law firm believed to be aiding the operator, would today respond to TotallyGaming.com on the development.

The UK application is the first evidence of DraftKings’ attempt at global expansion, following comments made by chief executive Jason Robins to website The Street last December.

“We have an international road map we’re working on,” Robins said. “Overseas expansion is one of the most compelling long-term opportunities for us.”

Evidence of DraftKings’ growth was shown last year when it stated that entry fees were $45m in 2013 but rose to $304m in 2014.

It is not clear whether DraftKings is seeking to boost the pools of its US-based games or, more likely, launch games based on sports more popular in the UK such as football.

It already features games on the English Premier League and UEFA Champions League for its US customers, although its main focus is the major North American team sports such as American football, baseball, basketball and ice hockey.

Mondogoal is the most noteworthy daily fantasy sports operator in the UK at present and has pool betting, gambling software and betting intermediary licences to operate in the UK. It has already established links with major European football clubs such as Barcelona, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Roma, with DraftKings certainly having to play catch up if it attempts to sign the kind of partnerships that it has sought to make with major sports franchises in the US.

Mondogoal is clear that it believes football has a much greater reach than US sports, noting that around 115 million viewers watched the Super Bowl in 2013 compared to more than three billion tuning into the FIFA World Cup.

A Mondogoal spokesman said: “Until Mondogoal, no site had emerged as a leader in the daily fantasy market for world football – the world’s largest sport was a completely untapped daily fantasy market.”

Jeffrey Green Russell has a specialist licensing department and claims to be among the most successful companies in the UK in such applications.

A statement read: “It is our role to ensure that our clients have the very best advice and therefore the optimum competitive advantage in whatever sector of the licensing or leisure industry they are operating in.”

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