Daily fantasy sports leader DraftKings launched mobile sports betting this week, becoming the first online sports betting app in New Jersey. With legal sports betting now legal in the most densely populated state in the nation, DraftKings is on board as a bookmaker in partnerships with land-based Resorts Atlantic City and online-platform and sportsbook provider Kambi Group.
But the excitement of online wagering in the Garden State is being met with negative feedback by many on social media.
The lines and cost
Bettors in New Jersey that choose to bet at DraftKings Sportsbook are having to choke up on their bat for baseball bets. As the consumer, bettors are having to swing a shorter stick at bat while power hitter DraftKings hits you with the full swing on the barrel of a Louisville Slugger.
When you look at the lines posted at sportsbooks and comparisons of recent MLB games, understand that the greater the margin between the away/home prices, the more the sportsbook is charging in vigorish.
Below is a comparison of Thursday’s MLB lines posted from DraftKings, FanDuel, William Hill and MGM in New Jersey, along with a consensus of Nevada and offshore sportsbooks, courtesy of ESPN’s David Purdum. William Hill offers moneylines similar to the Westgate in Las Vegas and often a 10 cent spread. Other sportsbooks offer a 15 or 20 cent spread, which is still considered ‘acceptable’. But a near 30 cent spread or more like DraftKings is an insult to experienced bettors. And business could end up elsewhere as competition grows if DraftKings doesn’t adjust.
Consider DraftKings to be the new gas station opening in town and charging $4.50 for gas and $3 for a bottle of water, while the nearby established WaWa has $3.00 for gas and $2 for the same bottle of water. Sure you might be thirsty and decide to get some gas, but are you going to be consistently willing to get your fuel and water at DraftKings when WaWa is quenching your thirst for less cost right up the road?
It won’t be long before other major bookmakers and companies like MGM-owned Borgata and Caesars properties at Harrah’s and Bally’s in Atlantic City enter the mobile betting arena, providing online competition with better pricing. Will DraftKings need to adjust its model and pricing plans if it wants consistent customers?
Attracting the fish
DraftKings’ betting lines suggest that the casual player doesn’t fully understand pricing and moneyline spreads. A majority of the customers at DraftKings are likely to be casual bettors who DraftKings feels is not only less informed, but hungry for action.
A square bettor is considered a novice, or one who is not the sharpest and will play big chalky favorites and added big multi-team parlays. There is usually little consistency or discipline from novice bettors, and they don’t care much what the price is when playing on favorite teams or players. They often bet with little interest in data or analysis to support decisions, and play more on hunches, fate, guesses, luck-factor, misleading scores and results, and perceptions rather than reality. These are a sportsbooks’ favorite customer.
Consumer safety may not be at the forefront of sports betting businesses, but reporting on awareness and action to assist consumers with choices is worth going to bat for while wearing a protective helmet. Gouging the public and taking advantage of consumers is not a crime, but throwing a fastball towards their head and hoping they keep returning to the batter’s box is not likely to keep the game going.