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February 25, 2019

DraftKings Expands Sportsbook Access To 13 Potential States With Caesars’ Deal

Marc Meltzer February 25, 2019
DraftKings Caesars

Caesars Entertainment and DraftKings announced a multi-state partnership on Monday that will allow the DraftKings Sportsbook access to states where Caesars Entertainment already has existing land-based casinos.

In return, Caesars Entertainment will receive an ownership stake in DraftKings and access to its customer database.

DraftKings has access to operate in 12 states

DraftKings will now have the ability to offer online gaming products like sports betting and casino games in states that have legalized those games and products. The company currently operates an online sportsbook and casino in just one state — New Jersey — while also running a retail sportsbook in Mississippi. Meanwhile, Caesars Entertainment operates casinos in the following 13 states across the U.S. Unfortunately for DraftKings, they’ll only have accee to 12 states.

DraftKings already operates in New Jersey with Resorts Casino. The deal with Caesars is very new, so there’s no word if it will change affiliation in the Garden State.

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New states for DraftKings

DraftKings will have to apply for an online gaming license in states that Caesars operates and where sports betting and online gaming are legal. Caesars operates a casino in Chester, PA, which would have given DraftKings access to the 12 million residents in the Keystone State. Unfortunately, this deal doesn’t include access to Pennsylvania. That’s most likely because casinos may only be allowed a single skin when mobile betting becomes legal in PA.

DraftKings has a sordid past with Nevada. They’re part of the reason that Nevada residents can’t play traditional daily fantasy sports (DFS) contests. The Nevada Gaming Control Board requires DFS operators to have a gaming license.

The future in Nevada for DraftKings is currently unclear since the state doesn’t allow new customers to sign up for sports wagering accounts unless they do so in person at a casino sportsbook.

Iowa and Illinois are currently discussing plans to legalize sports betting. Depending on the legislation, those could be the next states to see DraftKings’ online sportsbook and casino games.

The Caesars side of the deal

While DraftKings will gain access to new markets, there’s another side to this deal. Caesars Entertainment now has an equity stake in DraftKings. Caesars Entertainment will earn a piece of DraftKings’ gaming revenue in states where the partnership is active.

Additionally, DraftKings will promote Caesars Entertainment as its official casino resort partner in the states where the companies work together. This will provide marketing opportunities for Caesars Entertainment to potential new customers that might not be in the existing Caesars Rewards database of more than 50 million people.

Caesars Entertainment will continue to offer their own branded sports betting and online casino apps in each of the states where they have casinos. This will continue to maintain their primary access in each state.

On an earnings call last week, Caesars Entertainment’s CEO Mark Frissora said they are upgrading their New Jersey retain sportsbooks. They will be taking The Book concept that debuted at The Linq in Las Vegas to New Jersey later this year.

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NFL Draft Odds: Sportsbooks Expect Kyler Murray To Land In Miami

Juan Carlos Blanco February 25, 2019
NFL Draft Odds

Although the NFL railed against legalized sports betting for what seemed like forever, top executives in each of its franchises have enthusiastically engaged in a form of high-stakes, league-sanctioned gambling every spring for decades.

More commonly known as the NFL Draft, the late-April ritual sees multiple higher-ups in each organization put the fortunes of both their teams and their reputations as talent evaluators on the line each year with the players they deem worthy of selecting from college football’s ranks.

NJ sportsbooks taking NFL Draft bets for first time

Given that it’s long been a televised extravaganza during a time of year where the average football fan is jonesing for some NFL-related excitement, it’s no surprise the draft has also progressively turned into a betting event for the public. In prior years, Nevada sportsbooks were the place to go for any legalized wagering on the yearly player lottery.

Naturally, the options have expanded significantly ahead of the 2019 edition of the draft. Some New Jersey operators — DraftKings Sportsbook, BetStars, 888 Sport and PointsBet — have jumped on board to varying degree.

BetStars is currently the leader in the clubhouse when it comes to sheer volume of offerings. PointsBet, which just announced a marketing partnership with Topgolf in the state, is a close second for the moment.

Meanwhile, both 888 Sport and DK Sportsbook are playing things close to the vest at this point. Their currently available props center on arguably the most recognizable name in this year’s draft overall — Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray.

Murray’s draft presence driving plenty of betting options

Murray’s recent announcement that he’d forgo a professional baseball career with the Oakland Athletics to pursue football was a boon to the general interest level for this year’s draft. The 2018 Heisman Trophy winner brings some much-needed star power into the first round after racking up a whopping 5,362 total scrimmage yards (4,361 passing, 1,001 rushing) and 54 total touchdowns (42 passing, 12 rushing) in his just-completed junior season.

While the props selections and odds naturally differ from sportsbook to sportsbook, there seems to be consensus in one particular area: the quarterback- and excitement-starved Miami Dolphins, which are believed ready to move on from Ryan Tannehill, are the likeliest landing spot for Murray.

Prior to Murray’s announcement, the top of the draft was poised to be headlined by defense. While OSU’s Nick Bosa, Kentucky’s Josh Allen and Alabama’s Quinnen Williams are undeniably blue-chip prospects and make plenty of noise terrorizing quarterbacks, nothing gets buzz going like the signal-callers themselves.

On that note, Bosa’s teammate Dwayne Haskins, who’s shot up draft boards after a 50-touchdown sophomore campaign, is also a first-round luminary. Accordingly, he’s also drawing some draft-prop love as part of the aforementioned voluminous selection of wagers at BetStars.

A closer look at some of the sportsbook’s various draft-based offerings:

BetStars

Team to draft Kyler Murray:

  • Miami Dolphins: +175
  • Arizona Cardinals: +333
  • Oakland Raiders: +450
  • NY Giants:  +500
  • Jacksonville Jaguars: +600

Kyler Murray Draft Position:

  • Under 8.5: -150
  • Over 8.5: +115

Team to draft Dwayne Haskins:

  • NY Giants: +200
  • Washington Redskins: +450
  • Oakland Raiders: +550
  • Jacksonville Jaguars: +650
  • Miami Dolphins: +700

1st QB drafted:

  • Haskins: -175
  • Murray: +165

As mentioned earlier, PointsBet is already offering a solid menu of draft props as well. The operator even has a “Name A Bet” section that offers some options beyond the more conventional and encompass multiple possible first-round scenarios:

PointsBet

No. 1 pick:

  • Nick Bosa: -200
  • Quinnen Williams: +350
  • Kyler Murray: +450
  • Josh Allen: +1200
  • Ed Oliver: +1400
  • Dwayne Haskins: +1400

Team to Draft Kyler Murray:

  • Miami Dolphins: +250
  • Jacksonville Jaguars: +350
  • Oakland Raiders: +550
  • Arizona Cardinals: +600
  • NY Giants: +750

Name a Bet:

  • First RB selected from Alabama: -501
  • Giants to draft 1st round QB: -275
  • Kyler Murray drafted top 8: -200
  • Nick Bosa and Quinnen Williams first two players picked: -167
  • Giants, Jags, Dolphins to all draft QB in 1st round: +100
  • Kyler Murray as first overall pick: +550

Notably, DK and 888 Sport both currently check in with matching betting options and odds on both Murray’s possible draft position and the top five teams most likely to draft the dynamic quarterback. With the draft still over two months away, there naturally could be plenty of other props added by both operators, as well as others in the state.

DraftKings Sportsbook

Kyler Murray Draft Position:

  • Over 6.5: -139
  • Under 6.5: +105

Team to Draft Kyler Murray:

  • Miami Dolphins: +250
  • Jacksonville Jaguars: +400
  • Oakland Raiders: +500
  • Arizona Cardinals: +600
  • NY Giants: +700

888 Sport

Kyler Murray Draft Position:

  • Over 6.5: -139
  • Under 6.5: +105

Team to Draft Kyler Murray:

  • Miami Dolphins: +250
  • Jacksonville Jaguars: +400
  • Oakland Raiders: +500
  • Arizona Cardinals: +600
  • NY Giants: +700

FanDuel still in wait-and-see mode?

FanDuel Sportsbook is one major New Jersey sportsbook that’s yet to offer any NFL draft odds. The operator does have NFL futures bets in the form of the next year’s Super Bowl winner, as well as conference champions for the 2019 season.

A request for further clarification on whether the company will eventually offer NFL draft odds is pending a final response as of this writing. However, based on how wagering options have unfolded in New Jersey thus far during the state’s brief history with legalized sports betting, it would appear likely we’ll eventually see FD follow suit to some degree.

2019 Oscars Best Director Fiasco: The Winner WASN’T Leaked, So What Happened?

Chops February 25, 2019
Cuaron

A potentially major scandal rocked the Oscars on Sunday, then faded into oblivion.

Online sites in New Jersey took Best Director off the board just hours before the ceremony, as heavy action landed on (my darkhorse pick) Yorgos Lanthimos from The Favourite to win.

Then, something interesting happened: Yorgos Lanthimos decidedly did not win. The heavy favorite all along, Alfonso Cuarón, did. How did this happen?

Yorgos Lanthimos bet heavily, odds plummeted 

Before being removed from the board, Yorgos Lanthimos saw his Best Director odds fall from as high as +5000 to +2000 to the favorite to gone. At some books, including FanDuel Sportsbook, new accounts were opened with wagers solely placed on Lanthimos.

Rumors abounded all over as to how this got leaked, from friends and relatives of Yorgos to other Reddit and social media conspiracies. And the money came pouring in on the underdog.

Here’s the thing though: No relatives would find out, nor anyone outside of the Oscars official vote tallier, PricewaterhouseCoopers. In fact, after PwC’s famous flub two years ago and the massive PR hit it took, the chances of them allowing a leak to happen are less than zero. If the secret got out, there would be a very quick and easy line drawn to who leaked it.

Sportsbooks are fairly risk-averse. When major action comes out of nowhere that could wipe them clean, they’re going to limit their liability, as is their right, and stop taking bets. That’s all that happened here.

As it turns out, all the fuss was for naught. Cuarón won in a category he was heavily favored to do so. The only minor upsets were second favorites with not exactly the longest odds (Green Book +250ish, Olivia Coleman +500ish).

For the most part, the sportsbooks had it right, and the upset gamblers had it wrong. Just like always.

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