DraftKings & FanDuel Getting Ready to Roll in Nevada

Written By Marc Meltzer on December 15, 2021 - Last Updated on December 16, 2021

DraftKings and FanDuel both quietly filed for a gaming license with the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) earlier this year. According to PlayUSA, DraftKings’ license to operate in Nevada has been pending since March.

There’s been no movement on either license since being submitted. Neither online sportsbook is operating in Nevada yet. Unfortunately, neither company has offered insight into their NGCB licensing applications yet.

While the ball on licensing may have started rolling earlier this year, neither DraftKings nor FanDuel have announced plans to open for business in Las Vegas. This said, both companies have inroads to operating in Nevada at some point.

Path to Nevada for DraftKings and FanDuel

It appears as though both DraftKings and FanDuel are ready to get the ball rolling in Nevada sooner than later.

Both companies have existing deals with Las Vegas-based casinos to operate sportsbooks in Nevada. Neither one has directly said why they aren’t operating in Nevada yet. It’s believed that Nevada’s in-person sports wagering account registration is the main reason.

DraftKings currently has a marketing partnership with Golden Nugget. Eventually, one or both of Golden Nugget’s Nevada casinos in Las Vegas and Laughlin could have a DraftKings Sportsbook.

FanDuel has a different kind of partnership with Boyd Gaming. This deal allows FanDuel to operate Boyd Gaming sportsbooks in the US. FanDuel has been operating sportsbooks in various Boyd Gaming properties around the country. In the future, FanDuel should also operate the Boyd Gaming sportsbooks at The Orleans, Gold Coast, etc.

The in-person registration requirement is why BetMGM and Caesars use different software for their Nevada sports betting apps. Both sportsbooks currently have different odds in Nevada than in any other state in the US.

Both DraftKings and FanDuel appear to be waiting for a change in regulations. This would allow both to launch retail and online sportsbooks at the same time. Sync’d launches should give both operators an optimal entrance into a new market.

A staggered start would likely confuse customers who see both companies as online sportsbooks. Mixed messaging to visit a retail sportsbook to sign up for an online sportsbook may perplex some potential customers.

The apps from MGM and Caesars are seen as the opposite as they’re both casino operators launching online sportsbooks. Casino guests in Nevada are used to visiting a casino to gamble on sports.

DraftKings is already rooted in Las Vegas

DraftKings has been setting up shop in Las Vegas for a few years. The marketing partnership with Golden Nugget is just one piece of how DraftKings has its eyes on Nevada.

In 2018, DraftKings hired Johnny Avello away from Wynn Resorts. Hiring one of the most respected Las Vegas bookmakers was just the beginning of DraftKings setting up shop in Las Vegas.

In 2020, DraftKings became the primary sponsor of the Center for Gaming Innovation at UNLV. The company also opened the DraftKings Gaming Innovation Studio at UNLV. This deal could help DraftKings find young gaming talent with fresh ideas for future employment.

Earlier this year, DraftKings announced it would open a 90,000 square foot office in the southwest part of Las Vegas. The high-tech workspace will eventually house 130 dedicated sports trading desks among other employees.

In March, DraftKings purchased the Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSiN). The sports betting broadcaster has studios at Circa and the South Point. VSiN broadcasts sports betting content through traditional and online outlets.

While both companies have marketing deals to enter Nevada eventually, DraftKings is laying the groundwork to make Las Vegas a major operations hub.

2022 Could Be A Transformational Year For Sports Betting In Nevada

2022 is lining up to be a transformational year in Nevada sports betting. Between the pending casino sales and potential deals, numerous sportsbook operators could be coming to Nevada.

DraftKings and FanDuel are just the beginning of sportsbook operators opening shop in Nevada.

Pending deals

Station Casinos sold Palms to the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians (San Manuel) earlier this year. This week, the company should clear a gaming license approval, including sportsbook operations. There’s no word on who will operate the renovated sportsbook when the casino reopens around pool season next year.

The Venetian sold earlier this year. Apollo Global Management, Inc. will operate the casino when the deal is gets approved in the first quarter of 2022. There’s no official word if William Hill will continue to operate the sportsbooks at The Venetian and The Palazzo. A new sportsbook operator could fit here.

Bally’s Corp. purchased the Tropicana in April. When the deal closes, there could be another new sportsbook operator in Nevada. Bally’s currently operates sportsbooks in Colorado, Iowa, and Virginia. The company will go live in Indiana soon.

The Betfred sportsbook inside the Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas still hasn’t opened even though it’s ready. There are rumors that the company will apply for a license early next year.

MGM sold The Mirage to Hard Rock International. Last year the buyer purchased the right to use the name “Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.” When the sale closes, the company will likely bring its Hard Rock Digital sportsbook to Nevada.

Potential deals coming in 2022

MGM Resorts is actively trying to sell the casino and sportsbook operations at The Mirage. Similarly, Caesars is planning to sell a Vegas Strip property in 2022. There are multiple potential buyers for both properties.

The Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino will have a new owner next year. The new owners, Dreamscape Partners, have shared some hotel information but not much more. Details on casino and sportsbook operations should come early next year.

Photo by Kit Leong/Shutterstock
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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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