Fantasy sports brands are about to cash in big on the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling that has declared a federal law against sports betting unconstitutional. New Jersey today won a challenge against the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA) which previously restricted sports wagering outside Nevada and three other states.
PAPSA prevented the remaining 46 states from allowing sports betting, meaning today’s decision could have a domino effect as it now falls on the states to decide whether to allow live sports betting.
Fantasy sports brand DraftKings has been waiting to swoop in and grab a share of the market. “We’ve been building our sports betting platform since July ,” said Jason Robins, co-founder and CEO. “There’s going to be a big push by states to be ready for the NFL season.” Robins added the site could be ready to launch its betting platform even sooner than September.
The ability to institute sports betting is however dependent on the company partnering with a New Jersey-based casino. DraftKings doesn’t have any news regarding partnerships at this time, but Robins said it will likely be making an announcement on that front soon.
Regarding its plans for New Jersey, competing web-based fantasy sports company, FanDuel, is “exploring all avenues,” said a company spokesperson. The company’s goal is also to be ready to launch sports betting by the NFL season, he noted.
But DraftKings is already looking well beyond New Jersey. “We have been talking to legislators in Massachusetts as well,” said Robins. “Several states are still in session to legalize sports betting and more states will likely allow it by the fall.”
“We have lobbyists in many states which will be a big plus for us,” he added.
In terms of the DraftKings brand, the executive said this move won’t make daily fantasy sports any less important. “Fantasy sports is still our anchor and it attracts millions of people,” he said. “The product will only grow because sports betting will bring new customers to the platform.”
As sports betting makes its debut, the web-based fantasy brands will face competition not only from each other, but also from brick and mortar casinos’ own sports fantasy products, like Resorts Casino Atlantic City’s FastPick, which allows users to pick players head-to-head instead of filling out fantasy lineups.
The rest of the major casinos do not have their own fantasy sports products though, and could be ripe for partnerships. MGM Resorts International, which owns the Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey is pleased with the court’s decision, said a company spokesperson, though she declined to comment on partnership opportunities.
“We look forward to working with legislators and policy makers to achieve a regulatory outcome that benefits states and consumers alike while ensuring the integrity of sports,” the company said in a statement. “Having spent decades building trust with regulators, successfully operating sports books in Nevada, and hosting the world’s leading sporting events, MGM Resorts International is extremely well positioned for a post-PASPA environment.”
Robins said his company is confident in its current market share and not concerned about competition. “This is a new market that’s about to emerge,” he said. “The tide will lift all boats.”
“In the same way we revolutionized fantasy sports, we will bring innovation to the sports betting space,” said the FanDuel spokesperson.