Global daily fantasy sports took a big step on Monday when DraftKings announced that the company had been approved for a license to operate in the United Kingdom. To coincide with today’s announcement, DraftKings has also revealed it will be opening up an office in London by the end of the year and has named Jeffrey Haas Chief International Officer to begin growing DraftKing’s non-US business.
DraftKings UK — Live by the End of 2015
DraftKings had applied for the UK license in July. In an official statement, DraftKings said it expects to begin offering games to residents of the United Kingdom by the end of 2015. They also hope to bring their popular daily fantasy sports games to other markets in Europe as well as Asian Pacific and Latin American markets sometime in 2016.
DraftKings CEO Jason Robbins said that new games would be part of the new offering when DraftKings launches in the United Kingdom. “We will add new sports and games to our burgeoning roster of offerings and further connect fans to their favorite teams and players. We also welcome the opportunity to forge new partnerships with leagues, teams and media outlets internationally as we have done with exceptional success in the United States.”
DraftKings already features one of the most varied daily fantasy sports products to players, offering ten major categories of contests including NFL, college football, MLB, NBA, college basketball, PGA, NHL, NASCAR and soccer. DraftKings won’t be offering traditional sports wagers that other UK licensed gambling sites like Bet365 offer.
What is unclear is if DraftKings can mimic the success and momentum in the United States for daily fantasy sports. While the United States has banned sports betting across much of the country, daily fantasy sports has filled a significant hole in the country. By contrast, sports betting in the United Kingdom is ubiquitous, both online and at brick and mortar betting shops.
Over the coming months a major question will be if daily fantasy sports can carve out enough of a niche to compete with sports betting in the United Kingdom.
Jeffrey Haas – an Experienced Gaming Executive
The new DraftKings CIO has plenty of experience in the worldwide online gaming industry. He previously held a position as the Director of Poker BWIN.Party Digital Entertainment, one of the top global online poker conglomerates.
He also worked for BWIN as director of product management for the Ongame Network in 2005-2006 and PokerStars, where he worked in a variety of positions.
Despite the challenges, Haas thinks DraftKings may be able to emulate the success the DraftKings has had across the pond that has yet to spread to international markets.
“DraftKings is well-poised for explosive growth internationally, and I am excited to lead their expansion efforts. Daily Fantasy Sports is a growing category outside North America, and we have a tremendous opportunity to engage sports fans around the world. We will look to maintain our leadership position in the Daily Fantasy Sports industry – creating innovative games across the most sports, providing our players with elite customer service and fostering mutually-beneficial relationships with our partners.”