Placing your first bet on any online sportsbook can be intimidating. Thankfully, DraftKings Sportsbook is making sure that new players in New Jersey can ease into sports betting with a free wager to get started.
DraftKings Sportsbook is now offering to match all first bets onsite up to $500. This deal, which is more than double its previous amount of $200, will give players more freedom and flexibility to see how things work.
How the $500 First Bet Match works
This promotion is open to newly-registered DraftKings accounts (here’s a how-to guide to get started). Simply make a first wager and see what happens.
Whether that first bet wins or loses, a Free Bet for the same amount will soon appear in the player’s account. In effect, DraftKings is doubling the bet amount for the first go-round.
There are a couple of caveats, however:
- The first is the timing of the bet — a player must place his or her wager within 30 days of registration in order for the bet to be eligible.
- The other issue is that the Free Bet is not a negotiable instrument. Bettors cannot simply exchange the Free Bet for cash – the new money must be put back in play. However, players will keep any winnings from the Free Bet.
This promotion is active right now, but won’t last forever. Players need to be sure to make their first bet by Jan. 21, 2019.
What new players to DraftKings Sportsbook will find
DraftKings Sportsbook was the first online sportsbook to debut in NJ and it has maintained its dominance through innovative and intuitive design and operation. New players will likely be surprised at how easy it all is.
The first thing that greets players to the mobile site is the betting carousel. This design feature places bet suggestions on a wheel that mobile users can then rotate to see more options.
These suggestions are not just stock opportunities, however. Each player’s betting carousel is customized according to the player’s preferences and betting history.
The result is that no two players will experience the same DraftKings. Instead, each will find prompts for wagers they would be most likely to make, anyway.
DraftKings Sportsbook also offers incredible flexibility with its variety of wagers. Almost every type of bet and betting limit is available for players to craft their betting patterns. There are even betting limits that are less than a dollar.
Players also have options to guard against last-minute defeats or parlay legs that seem unreliable in hindsight. The DraftKings live ticket system allows bettors to cash out their tickets at almost any point during the game(s).
The bottom line is that DraftKings leading the field in New Jersey for a reason. With the site doubling players’ first bets up to $500, there’s no reason not to try out the sportsbook this month.
Nobody likes to join a new website and immediately find themselves in a hole. So, new customers to FanDuel will receive a Risk-Free Bet Up To $500. This promotion awards players a 100 percent refund on their first bet up to $500.
Lose your first bet and the refund will hit your account in the form of a free bet. FanDuel will refund the wager within 72 hours of the bet placement.
Of course, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, players have to lose the bet in order to receive compensation. A player can’t win their first bet and expect a free bet, too.
Players will also have to play through whatever Free Bet amount they receive. In other words, if they get that $500 back, they’ll have to wager an equivalent amount to be able to withdraw it.
If you go through us, it’ll be even sweeter
Here at TheLines, we don’t often toot our own horn. However, if you’re already thinking about getting on this free $500, you should make sure to sign up through our link.
All you have to do is click this link and follow the signup instructions. Then, make your first deposit, and you’ll be all set.
FanDuel is one of the only sportsbooks that consistently has promos
A $500 refund is worth attention for most people. However, it’s pretty much par for the course at FanDuel Sportsbook.
So far, FanDuel is one of the few sportsbooks that consistently has promotions running in New Jersey. Here are some of the other promos available at FanDuel right now:
- CFB Parlay Insurance
- Place a parlay bet on Saturday college football games in November
- The parlay must have at least 4 legs
- All teams involved must have odds less than -200
- If you make all but one leg of the parlay, FanDuel will refund up to $25 of your bet
- You can do this promotion up to four times – $100 in refunds
- Place a parlay bet on Saturday college football games in November
- NFL Close Loss Insurance
- Place an NFL moneyline bet
- If your team loses by six points or less, FanDuel will refund up to $50 of your bet
- You will have to wager through any refunds before you can withdraw
- NBA Parlay Insurance
- Place a parlay bet on November NBA games
- The parlay must have at least 4 legs
- If you make all but one leg of the bet, FanDuel will refund up to $25
- You can potentially receive $100 in refunds.
- Place a parlay bet on November NBA games
None of these promotions are going to make or break the bank. The important thing is that FanDuel understands how painful a loss in sports can be.
The last thing a sports fan wants after a tough loss is to find themselves lighter in the wallet. So, choose FanDuel for your sports bets, and you can wager with the assurance that FanDuel will help make it right if things go wrong.
Supporting local teams like the Eagles, Giants, or Jets is important for building a sense of community. In that spirit, FanDuel Sportsbook‘s Local Locks promotion makes it painless to throw your support behind one of those teams.
This weekend, FanDuel is insuring the first moneyline bet you make on one of those teams. The site will replace up to $100 in the form of site credit if you lose your bet.
To enter, simply log onto your FanDuel Sportsbook account and place a bet on either the Eagles-Colts game or the Giants-Texans game. If you don’t have a FanDuel account, you will need to sign up for one to enter this promotion. Much like a playthrough requirement on casino websites, you will need to use the bonus funds before you can withdraw any of them.
Any unused funds will disappear from your account after seven days. So, make sure you get back in the game soon if this bet doesn’t go your way.
Local locks are a good thing after last week’s games
It’s probably for the best that FanDuel is offering some insurance on these teams. Heaven knows that New Jersey bettors want to see the hometown teams win. However, it’s hard to put money on either of them after they both lost in Week 2.
There’s no need to rub salt in the wound about what happened to the Jets this week. The men in green suffered a nasty loss in the last two minutes of the Sept. 20 game against the Browns and dropped to 1-2 on the season.
If you happened to bet on the Jets before yesterday, you are already set for this promotion. You will receive your cashback bonus by next Wednesday.
For Giants fans, they are currently the underdog in their upcoming showdown with the Texans. FanDuel currently has the crew from the Meadowlands at +215 against the Houston Texans.
Eagles fans may have a little better proposition for themselves if they actually want to win their bet. FanDuel expects the Philadelphia team to beat the Colts, with the defending world champions favored at -290 on the moneyline.
Thankfully, whichever team you take, the worst you can do is break even. FanDuel will definitely pay you back on this one, no matter the odds.
This past weekend, PayPal secured a partnership with DraftKings Sportsbook as a payment provider. The deal allows DraftKings to keep abreast with its rivals in the burgeoning US sports betting market.
As it stands, PayPal now has deals with five of the seven online sportsbooks in New Jersey. 888 Sport just joined the party in the Garden State on Monday, and PayPal is one of its deposit options. But despite the deals with PayPal, getting money on and off online betting sites isn’t as seamless as gamblers and operators would like.
An issue in America
PayPal finds itself in a very tight competition for the American deposit fee in sports betting. American banks have made depositing into gambling websites a tricky proposition for many bettors, particularly when it comes to credit cards.
In fact, according to Legal Sports Report, credit card decline rates have never dropped below 50 percent since New Jersey launched online gambling. Still, even with so many credit cards unable to deposit, New Jersey residents put money online with credit cards 20 percent of the time.
According to Eilers and Krejcik, the vast majority of deposits occur via eCheck or prepaid cards. Electronic wallets like PayPal only account for 5 percent of deposits. However, the revenue is so large that payment processors can’t afford to ignore the market.
So, what are the options?
Most New Jersey online sportsbooks offer several types of deposit options — and some options within those types. Here are those options, with examples of each:
- Dedicated prepaid card
- Credit card
- PayNearMe (service through 7-Eleven)
- Online banking
- Wire transfer
- Online bill pay
- Other (cash at land-based casino cages)
With that in mind, here’s what each New Jersey online sportsbook accepts. Bear in mind that this list can change at any time – check with the individual sites for confirmation.
|Online Sportsbook||Credit Card||eCheck||Prepaid Card||eWallet||PayNearMe||Online Banking||Other|
|William Hill||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||No||In-person at sportsbooks|
The only other spot in America that has any kind of mobile sports betting is Nevada. West Virginia can offer mobile betting, but is not ready to do so yet. Here’s a list of the mobile sports betting apps in Nevada:
- Superbook (Westgate)
- playMGM (MGM Resorts International)
- STN Sports (Station Casinos)
- B-Connected Sports (Boyd)
- Golden Nugget
- Treasure Island
- William Hill
- South Point
- Atlantis Reno
However, Nevada’s foray into online sports betting is a bit quirky. All of its online betting occurs through apps alone — no websites exist.
Furthermore, every app is intimately tied to an existing land-based sportsbook. Play on those apps is supposed to be a mere extension of playing in the live book itself.
That focus carries over to the deposit options in Nevada. The only universal deposit method is an in-person deposit at the app’s home sportsbook.
Other than that, options are a bit scarce. Three casinos – Westgate, Station Casinos, and MGM Resorts – offer debit cards that can accept credit cards, other debit cards, or electronic fund transfers.
Aside from that, the only other option is using PayNearMe for a William Hill deposit. PayNearMe is a bill pay service that operates through 7 – Eleven, of all places. Players can also deposit cash directly into William Hill self-service kiosks.
The defining characteristic of European sportsbook banking is the variety of options. The differences in currency and banking practices mean that European sportsbooks must have at least one option for every country.
Take 888 Sport, for example. A quick count of its payment methods reveals that there are 38 different ways a bettor could put money on the site.
Not every one of these works for everyone, though. Some of them are specific down to a country, such as Multibanco (Portugal) or Verkkopankki (Sweden).
Even William Hill, which is the top sportsbook operator in Nevada, offers more options overseas. It’s simply the nature of the beast.
However, with that increased flexibility comes increased complexity. Navigating the various legal situations on the European continent means that entire armies of people have to work to ensure compliance. One saving grace about the American situation is its existence under one, albeit annoying, law.
If those don’t work…
In terms of online depositing in America, there are a couple of options that you might want to consider. Some of these other methods have significant drawbacks, like fees or compliance issues, that make the process more onerous than necessary.
So, the first recommendation is Neteller. Neteller has worked in the payment business since 1999. It is also virtually universal in the American market. Its fees are fairly low, and there’s little to no concern about security.
The other recommended option if PayPal and Neteller aren’t available is a prepaid debit card. Other than that, there’s no substitute for depositing cash at the cage. If you don’t mind the inconvenience, there’s no question that the deposit will go through.
It’s simply a matter of choosing the right option for you.
European sports betting company Kambi has unveiled a new twist on parlays. The company is distributing the Teaser+ for immediate integration into online platforms like DraftKings Sportsbook and SugarHouse ahead of the NFL season in the U.S.
What even is a teaser?
For sports bettors new to the game, this announcement probably sounded like some kind of industry jargon. However, Teaser+ may end up becoming a close friend of many.
For those who are unsure, a teaser is a type of parlay bet. In a parlay, the bettor makes a single wager on a combination of events.
In order to win, the bettor must guess correctly on every single leg of the bet – for example, every team he or she bets must cover or beat the point spread. Obviously, making multiple correct picks is more difficult, and parlays come with higher payouts because of their increased risks.
Enter the teaser. A teaser allows the bettor to receive an adjustment on each game’s point spread in his or her favor. In return, the player receives a reduced payout amount.
Essentially, teasers appeal to sports bettors who are generally too risk-averse to attempt a parlay wager. A teaser is a way to hedge against the difficulty of pulling off a successful parlay.
Okay, so what is a Teaser+, then?
Custom teaser rates
The problem with the traditional teaser is that the line adjustment is applied uniformly across all legs of the parlay. However, not all games and matchups are created equal, and the adjustments end up being too much or not enough.
Teaser+ solves that problem. Instead of using blanket odds tables, Kambi uses alternative lines generated in-house that takes the team selections, match factors, and other variables into account.
The result is a group of teaser rates that are more precise for each wager. According to the press release, Teaser+ rates almost always result in a more generous adjustment than traditional teaser rates.
Pushes are no longer a problem
Another issue that bettors face in traditional parlays and teasers is when the teams push on the spread. Typically, since a push is decidedly not a win, the parlay drops that leg of the bet and pays (or doesn’t) with the reduced odds of a lower-tiered parlay.
Teaser+ basically breaks down parlays into individual bets. Because of that, the Teaser+ can treat ties like pushes and keep the teaser alive for its remaining legs.
This flexibility even works in a two-team bet. Teaser+ would simply push one game and pay the other as a single game wager.
“Kambi’s Teaser+ has the potential to fundamentally change how both operators and bettors consider teaser bets,” said Kambi CEO Kristian Nylen, in a press release. “Our modern approach (is) a step away from the current one-size-fits-all system (and) deliver(s) a fairer and more advantageous price to the player.”
Kambi continues to lead in sports betting innovation
Both DraftKings and PlaySugarHouse are already operating another Kambi product, Cash Out. Cash Out is a groundbreaking live ticket system that allows players to receive payouts on open tickets at any time during the match.
Players can even cash out after preliminary legs of a parlay. Essentially, every wager on DraftKings or PlaySugarHouse is now an in-game bet.
The payoff amount adjusts according to how the match or matches are proceeding, and obviously, players pay a premium for the reduction of risk. Still, the Cash Out system is nothing short of revolutionary, since players can hedge against last-second losses or the weakest leg of a parlay.
Teaser+ is not quite that much of a paradigm shift. However, players who were considering dipping their toes into the world of parlays should welcome the addition.
The result of Kambi’s innovation is a more intuitive and customized teaser system. Ultimately, it’s a win for both sportsbook and player.
The NFL season is fast approaching, especially for brand-new sportsbooks in New Jersey. With the FanDuel Sportsbook launching its mobile app on Sept. 1, we have listed the very first FanDuel Sportsbook NFL Week 1 lines below.
These FanDuel Sportsbook NFL lines originally opened at Meadowlands Racetrack when it opened for business on July 14. The location, merely six miles from New York City, puts the new book in a position to manage hordes of betting New Yorkers.
The new sports betting facility also holds the distinction of being the only sports wagering location within walking distance of a major sports stadium. The sportsbook is in the same complex as MetLife Stadium, home of the NFL’s New York Giants and New York Jets.
Week 1 action begins Thursday, Sept. 6 with a matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and the reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.
(Odds updated 9/6/18)
FanDuel Sportsbook NFL Week 1 Lines
|8:20 p.m. (Thurs)||Atlanta Falcons|
|1 p.m. (Sunday)||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
New Orleans Saints
|1 p.m.||Jacksonville Jaguars|
New York Giants
|1 p.m.||Buffalo Bills|
|1 p.m.||Cincinnati Bengals|
|1 p.m.||San Francisco 49ers|
|1 p.m.||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|1 p.m.||Houston Texans|
New England Patriots
|1 p.m.||Tennessee Titans|
|4:05 p.m.||Kansas City Chiefs|
Los Angeles Chargers
|4:25 p.m.||Washington Redskins|
|4:25 p.m.||Dallas Cowboys|
|4.25 p.m.||Seattle Seahawks|
|8:20 p.m.||Chicago Bears|
Green Bay Packers
|7:10 p.m. (Monday)||New York Jets|
|10:10 p.m. (Monday)||Los Angeles Rams|
Last week, West Virginia became the fifth state in the country to offer sports betting to its inhabitants. So far, the only major winners have been the sportsbooks.
Sports betting is one of the few endeavors in a casino where a consistent profit is possible. The wily and studious sports bettor can show a long-term win, in the same way that some poker players can come out ahead in the long run.
However, the ability to do so takes years of practice and research to accurately predict the profitable games to bet. Unfortunately, new sports bettors in West Virginia and Mississippi simply don’t have that practice.
It’s showing, too, in the bottom lines of the sportsbooks. ESPN’s David Payne Purdum tweeted a message from a Mississippi bookmaker who claimed a 22 percent hold for the weekend.
“(There were) squares everywhere. A couple of sharp plays but overwhelmed by the public.”
Local favorites partially to blame for huge holds
A square is a bookmaker’s term for a losing player. Many squares fall victim to emotion and make poor bets based upon gut feeling and supposition, rather than fact.
One hallmark of a square bettor is excessive reliance on local or regional teams to win. A higher percentage of wagers on the hometown favorite is music to most bookmakers’ ears.
Square bettors also like parlays and chasing the allure of the big payout.
That’s why Erich Zimny, VP of Racing and Sports Operations at Hollywood Casino Charles Town, reported that his casino held roughly 50 percent of its handle in the first weekend of operation. Zimny told WV MetroNews that Hollywood had kept $324,000 in extra cash on $640,000 in wagers.
Some of that $324,000 represented held money for future bets, so the casino won’t fully win 50 percent in the long run. Still, that level of profitability dwarfs the figures in Nevada on a typical weekend.
In a way, the situation in Mississippi is even more appealing. In the Magnolia State, there are lots of football team favorites in nearby football-crazy SEC areas.
Obviously, Ole Miss and Mississippi State are going to see action, but so are schools like Alabama, LSU, and Florida. Tennessee might come in especially hot in Tunica, since Memphis is less than hour’s drive away.
But bigger reward means bigger risk for the sportsbooks
Those kinds of hold numbers are likely to generate smiles for casino management in these four new sports betting states. With so much money flowing onto emotional picks, sportsbooks can sit back and play the odds.
Over time, a sportsbook makes money by accurately setting and adjusting its lines according to the betting action on a given bet. The new problem is the same that a poker player faces if he or she takes a shot at a higher limit.
Even if the “player” (the sportsbook) has confidence about their long-term outlook for the game, the short term can bring devastating variance. This kind of variation occurs especially in sports like college football, where things like Appalachian State taking No. 10 Penn State to overtime happen all too often.
A similar situation with a hometown hopeful could be disastrous for nascent sportsbooks. In an interview with Forbes, Nick Bogdanovich, Director of Trading for William Hill US spoke bluntly about the issue:
“There will be regional bias; we just haven’t been open long enough to see how crazy it will be,” he said. “It could be totally insane or just mild.”
Obviously, as the markets mature, the lines and linemaking will improve. So will the staff skills at each book.
Until then, sports betting outside Nevada is going to be a learning experience for everyone involved.
As it happens, tennis is the third most bet on sport on the site through Aug. 29. In a press release, company officials expressed amazement that so many bets were coming in for the US Open, which began on Aug. 21.
SugarHouse has designated Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic as the men’s favorite, offering a +225 moneyline bet for Djokovic to win the whole tournament. Spanish star Rafael Nadal is slightly behind the odds on Djokovic at +250, and all-time great Roger Federer has a +450 moneyline to win the entire competition.
On the women’s side of things, perennial superstar Serena Williams is most likely to win, going off at +350. That moneyline puts Williams at a greater chance to win than defending champion Sloane Stephens, whose moneyline is +600.
SugarHouse sees massive in-game betting on tennis
The star power is not the only thing pushing bettors to wager on tennis. SugarHouse just released a host of in-game bets for the US Open, and the results have been nothing short of astounding.
“It seems that our sports bettors really started exploring our live in-game offer (on Aug. 27), with both Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal playing prime time at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York,” said Rush Street Interactive COO Mattias Stetz.”70% of wagers on tennis are live in-game already.”
In fact, each individual US Open match can contain up to 70 in-game wagers. Bettors can wager on events as granular as the outcome of current sets, following sets, current or following games, or even the outcome of individual points.
They can also bet on whether the match will contain a tiebreaker or what the final score of a set will be. Players can make these bets at any time during the match.
SugarHouse’s in-game offering and others in NJ
By the end of the tournament, SugarHouse plans to offer 20,000 in-game bets for fans of the US Open. The site is also planning similar coverage of NFL games, with a wide variety of bets available at all times during the game.
In-game betting is appealing because of its flexibility. Players can use in-game bets as a primary betting function. They can also hedge against earlier bets that are unlikely to pay off.
SugarHouse is focusing its efforts on in-game betting as a major source of revenue and activity. Company management has made it clear that it sees a trend in the practice.
“Live in-game betting is the future of sports betting here in the US, and being able to offer interesting bets, even in games that are very one-sided, is something we always strive to offer our bettors,” Stetz said.
Of the two other online sportsbooks in New Jersey (DraftKings Sportsbook and playMGM), only DraftKings offers in-game wagering at this time. That said, playMGM cannot be far behind, and its current offering is likely just a move to get the ball rolling for MGM Resorts.
There are major similarities between the SugarHouse and DraftKings sportsbooks, however. These similarities are understandable considering that both companies used European platform provider Kambi to build and power their sites.
The only major difference is that DraftKings maintains separate sites for its sportsbook and daily fantasy sports offerings. SugarHouse, on the other hand, integrated all its online gambling functions into a single location, which may translate into a convenience edge for the operator.
The live ticket system remains the biggest innovation, however
Both DraftKings and SugarHouse also offer a style of betting that fundamentally changes the nature of sports betting, however. Though neither company may realize its importance yet, the early payout or “live ticket” (as DraftKings calls it) system allows players to cash out their bets at any point during the contest.
Live ticket cashouts have existed in European sportsbooks for quite a while. However, they are brand new on this side of the pond. Essentially, players can take a reduced payout on wagers while the contest is still in progress.
This set-up works for both player and sportsbook. The player is able to book a win and negate the chance of a last-second collapse, and the sportsbook can settle early and effectively increase its juice with the reduced payout.
However, both the live ticket option and the in-game wagers are more appealing to a world that operates on a shorter timeframe. Fewer bettors want to wait until the end of a game anymore. They would rather begin and end a wager in minutes.
So, however SugarHouse chooses to implement its sports betting, the focus on short-term bets seems like a smart decision. With the NFL season coming soon, most sportsbooks in the country are about to see their numbers skyrocket, anyway. It’s good to get the kinks worked out while there’s still time.
A day after MGM Resorts released its own online sportsbook, SugarHouse has entered the online sports betting market. In fact, SugarHouse just became the first New Jersey gambling site to integrate its sportsbook into its online casino.
The announcement came as a bit of a surprise, to be sure. However, the flood of activity in the nascent New Jersey market means that companies are pumping out their sports betting products as quickly as possible.
The most striking thing about the new sportsbook is how seamlessly it appeared on the playsugarhouse.com site. A casual visitor might not even see the navigation option at the top of the site.
However, sports betting on SugarHouse is underway, and the new sportsbook features a wide variety of wagers for players to choose. Some of the types include:
SugarHouse is also implementing an in-game cashout system for players to use on open bets. This system seems to be similar to the live ticket system at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Essentially, players can cash out their tickets at any point throughout the game. The site will automatically calculate a running cashout total and display it prominently on the screen for each bet.
Obviously, players pay a premium if they pull the trigger on the cashout. In other words, the amount of the cashout will be a percentage of what the bet would actually pay upon completion.
SugarHouse integration leads to more opportunities for players
Because SugarHouse integrated the sports betting feature with its online casino, it is considerably easier for players to switch back and forth to their favorite games. SugarHouse is a well-developed site, with over 450 slots and table games on the casino side.
The integration also extends to bonuses and the player’s wallet. Adding sports betting means that SugarHouse can offer more targeted combination promotions to players, leading to happier customers and more loyal play. Players can also receive rewards points for any type of bet onsite.
SugarHouse operates in New Jersey by virtue of a partnership with Golden Nugget Atlantic City. Like its land-based host, playsugarhouse.com features live dealer gaming along with its purely online gaming.
Gaming operator Rush Street Interactive owns both the online casino and sportsbook. The Pennsylvania company also owns four land-based casinos. Obviously, players can earn rewards online that are redeemable at these locations:
- Rivers Casino – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- SugarHouse – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Rivers Casino – Des Plaines, Illinois
- Rivers Casino – Schenectady, New York
New Jersey sports betting market changes and grows almost daily
The SugarHouse debut makes it the second online sportsbook to go live in New Jersey this week. The releases ended DraftKings Sportsbook’s de facto monopoly on online sports betting, which lasted three full weeks.
That said, the release is part of an almost feverish amount of flux in both New Jersey and the entire United States. Partnerships have formed at breakneck speed during the last two months.
As one might imagine, the US Supreme Court‘s dismissal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or PASPA, generated a great deal of excitement in the country. Suddenly, legal sports betting seemed to be coming somewhere near everyone.
Now, two months later, there are seven states with legalized sports betting. Four of them are already accepting wagers.
Many more states are expected to legalize in the next five years. One swing of a gavel can sometimes change the whole world – at least in the world of gambling.
Last week, DraftKings announced NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley would appear in a series of commercials. For right now, those commercials will only play in New Jersey, since that’s the only active area for the DraftKings Sportsbook.
The announcement seemed benign at the time. However, in light of Barkley’s history, his appearances may not be the best idea for DraftKings.
Barkley is one of the most high profile athletes who has lost millions gambling. By his own admission, his gambling has gotten out of hand before, and he has lost more than $1 million in a single session “10 to 15 times.”
The whole picture is the problem, not Charles Barkley
For Barkley, who has made hundreds of millions of dollars, it may not be an addiction. He may simply like to gamble, and he has the wherewithal to lose more money than most.
However, the manner in which he’s portrayed is quite troubling. The premise of both commercial spots is to have Barkley interact with a medical professional known as “Dr. Aftkings.”
In the first commercial, Barkley is a patient in the doctor’s office. He is dressed in a medical gown and obviously suffering from some sort of ailment.
The doctor enters, and declares that he suffers from Acute Win Deficiency. The doctor then prescribes the cure: the DraftKings Sportsbook App.
Here is the ad:
Putting aside the humor value of the commercial, let’s examine the messaging here. In essence, you have a doctor prescribing gambling as a treatment for an ailment. To a patient. A patient with a history of gambling losses that might indicate problem gambling.
I realize that I may be reading too much into this ad, but seriously, what does DK want to convey here? Is DraftKings suggesting that players will win more money betting sports on the DraftKings app than anywhere else?
If the stories about the DraftKings vig are true, it’s not very likely. To couch the suggestion in terms of medical advice is a very sketchy position to take.
Genuine gambling is different than DFS
In fairness to DraftKings, the company has featured the Dr. Aftkings character in the past. The riff on the company name is easy and good-natured, so it makes for good commercial material.
A partnership with Charles Barkley is also not a bad thing, necessarily. Barkley is one of the biggest characters ever to play basketball for a living, and one of the few (along with Shaquille O’Neal) to stay both famous and relevant well past his playing years.
However, DraftKings needs to realize that offering sports betting is a whole different animal than offering daily fantasy sports.
DFS is an upstart practice. Its clientele is younger and technologically savvy. Its market is smaller — even though DFS growth has exploded, the industry is still only earning around $335 million in revenue per year.
Entire generations of people have gambled through the legal sportsbooks of Nevada or through less-legal options in backrooms. Unfortunately, a more serious risk of addiction follows, too.
DraftKings cannot stick its head in the sand
As we reported last month, there are legitimate fears that the influx of sports betting to the country will lead to an uptick in compulsive gambling. The good news is that research indicates there probably won’t be too many new addicts to gambling.
The bad news is that the increased accessibility to sports betting will likely deepen existing addictions. The research also mentions that associated advertising for sports betting can have the same effect.
I’m not saying that DraftKings should not advertise its new product, but the context for its Barkley ads strikes exactly the wrong note. There’s a reason that so many casino advertisements significantly emphasize responsible play.
DK is still a rookie in the sports betting industry. Hopefully, these ads are a greenhorn mistake only, rather than a sign of something more permanent.