DraftKings Buys Golden Nugget Online Gaming, Expands iGaming Offerings

DraftKings is boosting its stake in the increasingly popular iGaming market with its acquisition of Golden Nugget Online Gaming.

Jason Robins, DraftKings’ chairman and CEO, said the acquisition gives the Boston-based online bookmaker “meaningful” opportunities for revenue growth.

With this acquisition, DraftKings can save money on advertising spending, vendor services, overhead and more, the company said Thursday in a news release.

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The iGaming acquisition also will allow DraftKings online casino to expand its offerings, including Golden Nugget Online Gaming’s live dealer game. 

Houston-based Golden Nugget Online Gaming was the first mobile platform to offer a live dealer studio, allowing participants to interact with other players and a dealer in a live setting, according to its website. It’s what made Golden Nugget Michigan casino a popular operator in the state.

Golden Nugget Online Gaming operates in New Jersey and Michigan and is attempting to enter iGaming markets in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Virginia and West Virginia.

Golden Nugget Casinos Not Included In Deal

The iGaming acquisition does not include Fertitta Entertainment’s brick-and-mortar Golden Nugget casinos, including the historic resort on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas. 

In addition to the downtown Las Vegas property, Golden Nugget owner Tilman Fertitta plans to build a resort on the east side of the Strip near Planet Hollywood hotel-casino, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Golden Nugget resorts also are located in Louisiana, Mississippi and New Jersey.

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Sportsbooks To Take DraftKings Brand

With this iGaming deal, DraftKings and Fertitta Entertainment plan to brand sportsbooks inside certain Golden Nugget casinos as DraftKings Sportsbooks.

An example of this branding already has occurred in Louisiana. The sportsbook inside the Golden Nugget riverboat casino in Lake Charles carries the DraftKings brand. 

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DraftKings’ Holdings Include Casino App 

In addition to apps for online sports betting and daily fantasy sports, DraftKings has a casino app available to download. The iGaming app includes offerings such as blackjack, slots and poker. 

In the U.S., the DraftKings Casino app is available for players in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Michigan and Connecticut. 

DraftKings also is among the online bookmaking and iGaming companies entering the new commercial gaming market in Ontario, Canada.

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iGaming Revenue Greater Than Sports Betting

For years, some casino executives fought efforts to legalize online casinos, fearing customers would not come onto the property and spend money if they could play slots and table games at home on computers.

However, that resistance could be eroding, as gaming companies explore opportunities to reach a larger number of tech bettors, including those who have little interest in sports wagering.

An example of online gaming’s popularity occurs in Connecticut, where the amount of money wagered on iGaming far outpaces the amount bet on sports.

In February, for instance, Connecticut’s iGaming handle topped $743.8 million, much higher than the $115.6 million wagered on sports.

By mid-March, about 500 online casino games had been approved in Connecticut, including craps, blackjack, slots and poker.

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iGaming Under Consideration In New York

Next door in New York, the nation’s fourth-most populous state, iGaming will be legalized at some point in the near future, state Sen. Joseph Addabbo, D-Queens, told Gambling.com.

The senator said he is “laying the groundwork” for eventual iGaming approval in New York. Addabbo is chairman of the state Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee.

New Yorkers already have shown they like using mobile devices while gambling. 

Since the Jan. 8 launch of online sports betting, New York’s eight authorized commercial bookmakers have accepted about $6 billion in legal bets combined. This betting activity has generated more than $210 million in tax revenue for the state.

If iGaming is approved in New York, the revenue from online games such as slots, poker and roulette is expected to eclipse the money generated from sports betting, Addabbo said.

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