DraftKings launches online betting in New Jersey

2 August 2018

DraftKings has beaten its rivals to become the first operator to accept legal online sports bets in New Jersey.

The company was given a waiver by the state’s authorities for a soft launch on Wednesday at 6pm EST, with the condition it was initially done on an invite-only basis.

Under terms laid out by New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement, the hours of operation and number of customers is currently restricted. To play, DraftKings customers in New Jersey must download the iOS or Android app and wait for an invitation before they can bet.

iGamingBusiness.com can reveal that the first legal mobile bet to be placed on American soil outside of Nevada was a modest $5 punt on the St. Louis Cardinals run line, with a potential $12 win on the MLB game.

Speaking to iGamingBusiness.com, a DraftKings spokesperson said: “This invite-only period allows us to stress test the product and ensure it meets the high standards of the DGE, and ours. While there is no official date set for a public launch, this is one of the final steps required before we would be permitted to publicly launch the DraftKings Sportsbook in New Jersey.”

DraftKings’ staff held a launch party at their Boston headquarters, while CEO Jason Robbins celebrated their market entry via Twitter.

DraftKings is partnered with Resorts Atlantic City casino, but the pair are yet to open the sportsbook in the property. Four of Atlantic City's nine casinos are now offering over-the-counter sports betting after Bally's and Harrah's this week joined the Borgata and Ocean Resorts.

DraftKings' mobile platform is provided by Kambi, under the terms of a deal signed just six weeks ago. The app has the company’s crowned-D logo and black and green colour scheme, and offers the in-play and cash out features that have dominated European mobile betting over the last decade. DraftKings Sportsbook is aimed at mass market so features a clean, uncluttered home screen and simplified terms such as ‘Who will win?’ rather than ‘moneylines’.

A delighted Kambi CEO Kristian Nylen said in a statement: “Today marks the start of an exciting new chapter for Kambi, creating history with our partner DraftKings by processing the first online wager outside of Nevada following the repeal of PASPA.

“To be the first, and so far and only, sports betting supplier to receive a Transactional Waiver to operate online in New Jersey only strengthens our position as the secure and quality choice for operators seeking a sportsbook partner.”

The launch came a day after MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren said his company would be launching online betting before the end of the week.

In a further development in the US, MGM accepted the first legal sports bets in Mississippi on Wednesday at its Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi and Gold Strike Casino Resort in Tunica.

"MGM Resorts is proud to once again assume the leadership position in the hospitality industry," said Murren in a statement. "Sports wagering is a rapidly growing, exciting new entertainment opportunity for our company.

"We were proud to take the first sports wager in Atlantic City in June and today the first legal sports wager in two locations in Mississippi."