DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG) and FanDuel, two of the largest domestic online sportsbook operators, are reportedly attempting to reenter Nevada. They have pending sports wagering permit applications before the state’s Gaming Control Board (NGCB).
Earlier today, PlayUSA reported that a public records request reveals NGCB’s Division of Investigations received applications from the daily fantasy sports (DFS) and sports wagering behemoths. In the case of DraftKings, that request has been pending for some time — since March 2020. FanDuel’s filing is more recent, dated March 25, 2021.
The two gaming companies departed Nevada in 2015 when the state’s regulations pertaining to DFS were altered. Neither has offered sports wagering services in the state since the 2018 Supreme Court ruling on the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).
Today, FanDuel, a unit of UK-based Flutter Entertainment (OTC:PDYPY), is the largest online sportsbook operator in the US and is operational in 18 states. DraftKings, also live in 18 states, tussles with BetMGM for the second spot in those rankings.
DraftKings Eyes on Nevada for Awhile
As measured by handle, New Jersey tops Nevada in sports wagering, but the latter remains an alluring market for operators, particularly those lacking brick-and-mortar casinos, such as DraftKings and FanDuel.
For its part, DraftKings is overt in its desire to gain Nevada access, and while it doesn’t book bets there, the company already has a presence in the state. Last month, the operator announced it’s moving to a new 90,000-square-foot space in the southwest area of Las Vegas, and that it will employ more than 1,000 people in the region. That makes the Sin City office the second-largest after its Boston headquarters. In March, the company announced the acquisition of Vegas Sports Information Network (VSiN).
As PlayUSA notes, DraftKings last year explored a relationship with Resorts World Las Vegas. That integrated resort — the newest on the Las Vegas Strip — opened in June and has an in-house sportsbook.
DraftKings’ pending acquisition of Golden Nugget Online Gaming (NASDAQ:GNOG) could help the operator get into the US gaming mecca by applying the company’s brand name to Golden Nugget retail sportsbooks in downtown Las Vegas and Laughlin.
How FanDuel Fits In
As measured by market share, FanDuel is by far the largest online sportsbook operator in the US, even without Nevada access. How the company gets into the state remains to be seen. But Flutter has the financial resources to make acquisitions that could pave the way for Nevada entry.
Additionally, Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming (NYSE:BYD) owns five percent of FanDuel, and it’s possible that relationship could be leveraged to ease the online operator into Nevada. But neither company has commented to that effect.
As of October, more than 30 publicly traded companies, including debt and equity, are registered with the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC). But neither DraftKings nor Flutter are on that list.
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