We’ve been tracking DraftKings ventures in Las Vegas since before it even operated a sportsbook.
The company can’t offer its daily fantasy sports contests in Nevada since it doesn’t have a gaming license. Similarly, DraftKings doesn’t operate a sportsbook in the Silver State at this time.
However, that could be changing in the near future.
DraftKings making Las Vegas moves
Students will create new gaming technology at UNLV. They could hypothetically graduate and work at the new DraftKings campus opening in southwest Las Vegas.
DraftKings has also moved in on Las Vegas media and casinos. Last year the company purchased the Vegas Sports and Information Network (VSiN) and also signed a marketing deal with Golden Nugget. This partnership could include DraftKings rebranding the Golden Nugget sportsbook in its name in the near future.
What’s more, Circa owner Derek Stevens owned 10% of VSIN prior to the purchase. His connection to DraftKings seems to be leading some to discuss a possible rumor between the two parties.
Is there something to DraftKings-Circa rumor?
Recently, Chris Krafcik, the managing director of sports betting and emerging verticals for Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, tweeted a rumor that DraftKings could be considering buying a Nevada casino.
The casino Krafcik mentioned DraftKings buying was Circa Las Vegas. Stevens quickly denied this statement. PlayNevada reached out to Stevens for comment and hasn’t heard back yet.
To be fair, any sports-related company should have an interest in Circa. The sportsbook inside the casino is billed as the largest in the world. It’s one of — if not the — nicest sportsbooks in Las Vegas. Although some still prefer the classic SuperBook at Westgate.
Circa is also home to Stadium Swim. The rooftop pool complex serves as an outdoor sportsbook in addition to being a fun place to take a dip. And inside Circa, one of VSiN’s two Las Vegas broadcast studios. While Circa owns the space, it’s easy to see how the two parties could be connected.
For full disclosure, I overheard a similar rumor about the two parties at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E).
Expect to see sportsbooks make a mad dash for Nevada casinos
There will seemingly be a mad dash by sportsbooks operating in other states to eventually infiltrate Nevada and Las Vegas, specifically. The main impediment for these sportsbook operators is the lack of online and mobile sports betting account registration in Nevada.
Unlike most states with mobile betting apps, Nevada requires players to physically walk into a casino to register for a sports betting account. For the time being, it’s cost-prohibitive for some sportsbook operators to create entirely different for a small state like Nevada.
Having said that, large companies like DraftKings could put their flag in the ground by partnering or purchasing a casino. DraftKings currently appears to have access to operate the Golden Nugget sportsbook. While the Golden Nugget is one of the premier casinos in downtown Las Vegas, it’s not the shiny new Circa hotel and casino with the amazing setup for sports fans and bettors.
Casino options abound for potential incoming sportsbooks
There are plenty of sportsbook operators outside of Nevada that will eventually look to make their products available. There are more than 440 casinos in Nevada. Around 30 of those casinos are on the Vegas Strip. The tourist corridor is where the majority of people stay when visiting Las Vegas, so it would make sense to open up a shop where most visitors stay and play.
There are another 30 or so casinos elsewhere in Las Vegas and another 30 near the city. The problem entering the market is that large casino groups own many of these properties.
MGM Resorts, Caesars, Station Casinos and Boyd Gaming each own at least eight casinos in the Las Vegas area. MGM and Caesars have their own national sports betting brands, and Boyd has a deal with FanDuel. Station Casino is the only large casino corporation without a national sportsbook brand.
Sportsbook operators looking to get into Las Vegas will likely have to look at off-strip locations to offer mobile and online sports betting in Nevada. This will probably begin furiously when Nevada Gaming finally decides to allow remote account registration.
The DraftKings-Circa rumor may or may not be true. However, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see sportsbook operators looking to partner with off-strip casinos in Las Vegas.