DraftKings Gains UK Gaming License

on August 18, 2015
DraftKings UK daily fantasy sports

DraftKings is coming to the UK, meaning British sports fans will soon be able to play daily fantasy games for a variety of sports. (Image: Reuters)

Daily fantasy sports sites have quickly become big business in the United States, earning hundreds of millions in investment, billions in valuations and lucrative partnerships with media companies and sports leagues.

Now, at least one of the largest daily fantasy companies is looking to expand their reach across the Atlantic.

DraftKings announced this week that they have been licensed to operate in the United Kingdom, opening up the possibility of offering their games in the country later this year.

According to DraftKings, the company will open an office in London sometime later this year.

DraftKings Has Worldwide Plans

The expansion, which had been previously suggested by DraftKings officials, could be just the beginning of a push to turn the company into a worldwide enterprise. According to the company, there are plans to expand across Europe, Asia, and Latin America by the end of 2016, with Chief International Officier Jeffrey Haas leading that expansion.

“DraftKings is well-poised for explosive growth internationally, and I am excited to lead their expansion efforts,” Haas said. “Daily fantasy sports is a growing category outside North America, and we have a tremendous opportunity to engage sports fans around the world.”

Engagement seems to be the current buzz word in the daily fantasy sports industry. Media companies and sports leagues alike have pointed to daily fantasy as an opportunity to keep fans tuned into games that they might otherwise have lost interest in, as watchers may remained focused on their daily fantasy players even in a blowout or meaningless contest.

DraftKings is hoping that both fans and potential partners in nations throughout the world will see this increased engagement and jump on board with them as well.

“Our expansion into the United Kingdom markets a milestone moment in the growth of DraftKings as we introduce our world-class product to new audiences,” said DraftKings CEO Jason Robins.

According to Robins, it is likely that new sports (and critically, new partners) may be brought on board as the company expands throughout the world.

“We will add new sports and games to our burgeoning roster of offerings and further connect fans to their favorite teams and players,” Robins said. “We also welcome the opportunity to forge new partnerships with leagues, teams and media outlets internationally.”

Leading DFS Companies Receive Major Financing 

DraftKings and FanDuel have traditionally become the biggest players in the daily fantasy sports sector, which each company enjoying hundreds of millions in financing in recent months.

However, some rather imposing challengers have recently entered the industry, a development that could make DraftKings’ international expansion a critical move to stay ahead of the pack.

In just the last month, both Yahoo Sports and CBS (though its recently relaunched Sportsline website) have launched their own daily fantasy sports products.

Meanwhile, Amaya (parent company of PokerStars) purchased a daily fantasy site of its own, Victiv, and plan to rebrand it as their own product, StarsDraft.

Recent investors in DraftKings include Fox Sports, which reportedly purchased about an 11 percent stake in the company, along with the National Hockey League, Major League Soccer and Madison Square Garden. Meanwhile, FanDuel has received extensive financing itself, including from the National Basketball Association and NBC Sports Ventures.