DraftKings Eyes Nov. 4 Pennsylvania Mobile Betting Soft-Launch

This coming Monday, November 4, will be an eventful day for Pennsylvania’s online gambling market as it will see two major brands enter it – one bringing digital sports betting experience, while the other debuting the state’s first online poker website under its new gambling regulatory regime.

Major sports betting operator DraftKings announced this week that it is gearing up preparations to soft-launch its mobile betting app in the Keystone State on November 4. That same day will see PokerStars’ entry into Pennsylvania’s online poker space.

DraftKings will be able to go live in Pennsylvania after it received a Sports Wagering Operator License from the state Gaming Control Board during the regulator’s October 30 meeting.

The regulatory green light means that the operator can now soft-launch its product for a test period that will be overseen by the board. If everything goes according to plan during the test period, DraftKings expects to officially launch its full digital betting operation several days later.

DraftKings will be the sixth operator to go live with online wagering in the Keystone State since this summer when the first such operation was launched. Pennsylvania legalized sports betting in the fall of 2017 as part of a larger gambling expansion effort signed into law by the state’s Governor, Tom Wolf.

Growing Mobile Footprint

One important deal paved the way for DraftKings to enter Pennsylvania’s nascent mobile betting market. Over the summer, the company signed a 10-year partnership agreement with local casino operator Penn National Gaming. The deal covered seven states, including Pennsylvania.

The launch of DraftKings’ digital and mobile betting operation in the Keystone State marks the fourth state where the operator is present with an online wagering product. Last summer, DraftKings launched New Jersey’s first digital sportsbook. It quickly established itself as one of the leaders in that state’s betting space, behind only archrival FanDuel.

DraftKings has also recently gone live with a mobile betting app in West Virginia and Indiana.

Entering Pennsylvania’s sports betting space presents a huge growth opportunity for DraftKings as well as for any other locally licensed wagering operator. Many suggest that Pennsylvania could eclipse Nevada and New Jersey in future as the Keystone State has larger population than the latter two combined.

It is to be seen whether DraftKings will be able to gain momentum in Pennsylvania as quickly as it did in New Jersey. After all, it was the earliest entry into the Garden State’s market, while in neighboring Pennsylvania it will face staunch competition from operators that have already gained some foothold, including its biggest rival FanDuel.

It is namely FanDuel that is currently ruling the sports betting roost in Pennsylvania. According to figures from the state gambling regulator, more than 81% of all wagers placed in September were handled by the state’s digital sportsbooks and half of them were placed via FanDuel’s online sports betting operation.

Betting handle, or the amount of bets placed through Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks, retail and digital, totaled $194.5 million in September. Online betting handle amounted to $158.1 million. And FanDuel’s online sportsbook took $85.1 million in bets in September.

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