DraftKings Acquires Golden Nugget Online Gaming For $1.56B

Written By Marc Meltzer on August 9, 2021

This morning, DraftKings and Golden Nugget Online Gaming announced that they have entered into an agreement for DraftKings to acquire Golden Nugget Online Gaming. The all-stock transaction has an equity value of approximately $1.56 billion.

While this deal is with Golden Nugget Online Gaming, the brick-and-mortar casino sportsbooks will see a major change. All sportsbooks at Golden Nugget casinos will be rebranded as DraftKings Sportsbooks. This will be the case for all current and future sportsbooks inside of Golden Nugget casinos.

Golden Nugget casinos in Las Vegas and Laughlin will become DraftKings sportsbooks. There’s no timeline for when the change will occur yet.

Deal includes casino, sportsbook, and steak

The deal between DraftKings and Golden Nugget is more than just an acquisition of an online casino. The acquisition will allow DraftKings to leverage the Golden Nugget and the different Landry’s restaurant brand names. DraftKings also entered into an agreement with Fertitta Entertainment, Inc. This is the parent company of the Houston Rockets, Golden Nugget, LLC, and Landry’s LLC.

Jason Robins, DraftKings’ CEO and Chairman of the Board said:

“This deal creates meaningful synergies such as increased combined company revenues driven by additional cross-sell opportunities, loyalty integrations and tech-driven product expansion as well as technology optimization and greater marketing efficiencies.”

DraftKings will have access to all of the Landry’s restaurants, Golden Nugget casinos, and the NBA team owned by Tilman Fertitta’ss company.

The Las Vegas portion of this deal is major for those looking to gamble on DraftKings’ app. However, there’s much more to this deal for DraftKings.

DK gets access to Golden Nugget email database

Gaining access to new markets for online and retail sportsbooks is just the beginning of the benefits of this deal for DraftKings. The two companies will have access to each others marketing databases and rewards programs.

DraftKings will have access to the rewards programs at Golden Nugget casinos and Landry’s properties. DraftKings will be able to use the databases of Golden Nugget 24K Club and Landry’s Select Club.

There are more than 5.5 million members between the two rewards programs. While a big deal for DraftKings expansion, these programs are much smaller than other traditional casino rewards clubs.

For comparison, MGM Resorts has more than 55 million M Life Rewards members. Caesars Rewards has even more. Integrating all of the rewards programs will put DraftKings a little closer to the traditional casino-sportsbook model that Caesars and MGM Resorts can offer.

Members of the DraftKings VIP rewards program will have access to discounted hotel rooms at Golden Nugget casinos across the country. Through this deal, DraftKings will be able to offer a full gaming experience that includes access to restaurants and casinos around the country.

Golden Nugget rewards members should expect to see marketing offers from DraftKings as well.

DraftKings In Las Vegas was only a matter of time

DraftKings has been laying the groundwork to enter the Las Vegas market for years. In 2018, DraftKings hired Johnny Avello from Wynn Las Vegas. The company followed by hiring even more employees in Las Vegas. The company now has a 300-person office in Las Vegas.

In 2020, DraftKings dug its heels into Nevada with another deal to become the primary sponsor of the Center for Gaming Innovation at UNLV. This deal is significant as it puts the DraftKings name in the same breath as some of the largest gaming companies in the world.

Earlier this year, DraftKings acquired the Vegas Sports and Infomation Network (VSiN). The company broadcasts live daily from Circa and South Point casinos in Las Vegas.

That’s a lot of investment in Las Vegas without having a retail or online presence inside the state of Nevada.

The Nevada DraftKings experience

DraftKings is an online sportsbook operator. The deal with Golden Nugget will give the company access to retail sportsbooks in Las Vegas and Laughlin. The DraftKings experience for Nevada residents won’t be quite the same as other markets.

Unless the Nevada Gaming Control Board changes the mobile sportsbook in-person signup regulations, customers will still have to visit a Golden Nugget casino to open an account. Additionally, Las Vegas customers will likely have to use a different sportsbook app than the rest of the country.

Companies like Caesars, MGM Resorts (BetMGM), and Wynn (WynnBet) all have different national apps than they offer in Nevada. The Nevada apps don’t offer as many promotions, have different features, don’t share a wallet and have different odds than their out-of-state counterparts.

One change happening is that the DraftKings sportsbooks will be able to take wagers on the Houston Rockets. With the current ownership overlap, the sportsbook at the Golden Nugget cannot offer odds on any Houston Rockets games, players, or futures.

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Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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