- Daily fantasy company set to open U.K. office later this year
- DraftKings eyeing future moves to Europe, Asia, Latin America
Daily fantasy site DraftKings Inc. has a wide range of plans for its overseas expansion. Opening a sports book isn’t one of them.
“Absolutely not,” Chief Executive Officer Jason Robins said in a telephone interview. “We know what we do, and that’s daily fantasy.”
One of two giants in the rapidly growing daily fantasy industry, where participants pick real-life athletes and compete for money based on their one-day statistical performance, DraftKings said this week that it received a U.K. gaming license. It will open a London office and expects to be begin offering games by the end of the year.
The move is part of even larger overseas ambitions, Robins said, including expansion to other European countries, Asia and Latin America. It will also coincide with wider offerings, including more soccer, cricket and possibly other sports such as tennis.
“Like it is in the U.S., this is a race, and now that race is global,” Robins said.
The expansion was made possible by the company’s most recent round of funding, $300 million in Series D financing led by Fox Sports. Robins said it was too early to tell how much of that would go to the move overseas. The company hired former poker executive Jeffrey Haas to be its chief international officer, and he will assemble a budget in the next few months.
DraftKings had entry fees of $304 million in 2014, less than half of FanDuel Inc.’s $622 million, according to Eilers Research LLC. Robins said DraftKings passed its rivals in mid-June and has been bigger than FanDuel in entry fees, payouts and revenue for the past eight weeks.
Adam Krejcik, the managing director of Digital & Interactive Gaming at Eilers, said that while U.K. fans can legally gamble on sports, there will be an appetite for fantasy games, especially expanded soccer offerings.
“It’s a green field opportunity right now, and an approach that can differentiate DraftKings from its biggest competitor,” Krejcik said.
FanDuel spokeswoman Justine Sacco declined in a telephone interview to comment on whether the company was exploring a similar move. FanDuel announced Wednesday that it was buying analytics platform NumberFire, part of its goal to expand beyond just daily fantasy sports.
DraftKings received a “pool betting” gaming license from the Gambling Commission before announcing its U.K. plan. Robins said he didn’t know all that the license allowed DraftKings to do because the company had no plans to change its business model.
“I haven’t really looked into that, and the reason is, we don’t have any intent to stray outside of what we do,” Robins said.
Founded in 2012, Boston-based DraftKings’ investors also include Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, Madison Square Garden Co. and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.