DraftKings Sportsbook has been live in New Jersey for over two full months now and a lot has changed since launch.
While they were the first out of the gate for legal US sports betting, they now face competition from many sites, including FanDuel Sportsbook, SugarHouse Sportsbook, BetStars and others. How do they stack up and what promos does DraftKings Sportsbook offer? Let’s take a closer look.
DraftKings Sportsbook is all-around one of the best legal sports betting apps. Period. While they got some early attention for "expensive" lines, the truth is all legal sportsbooks will be slightly more expensive than the methods bettors are used to since more costs are associated with regulated entities. Their interface is not perfect, but it's clean and usable and instantly familiar to casual and experienced bettors alike. They accept all expected deposit options, like credit card and PayPal, but lack some of the more advanced methods offered by SugarHouse Sportsbook. Overall, DraftKings offers a great sports betting app, which is available for both iOS and Android.
DraftKings Sportsbook October 2018 Update
Now that we’ve gotten a chance to see what competitors would offer in legal US sports betting, it’s clear that DraftKings and FanDuel, as expected, are the leaders in the space.
The New Jersey DGE unveiled September betting numbers, and the results from DraftKings and FanDuel far outpace the competition.
DraftKings, operating under the “Resorts Digital” license, earned $8,505,940, compared to the $7,230,022 earned by Meadowlands Racetrack, which is a combination of FanDuel’s online and in-person sportsbook. Having already had a robust customer base, along with brand recognition, has positioned DraftKings to lead in the sports betting space.
DraftKings Sportsbook promos
Get your first best matched up to $200
This is the main promotion or bonus DraftKings has been running. They have not been as promotional as their peers.
How does it work?
Here’s the fine print from DraftKings:
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER.
*First bet matched up to $200. Free bet must be used within 30 days of first bet. Free bet amount is not included in any returns or winnings. Free bet is also not redeemable for cash, non-transferable, and non-refundable. Promo ends 10/29/18.
In short, only your first bet is matched and it has to be placed within 30 days of signing up. And like most other sportsbook offers, there is a play-through requirement, meaning you have to wager the winnings from the free bet. Pretty standard stuff.
This is a solid offer, but a bit more restrictive than a “deposit bonus,” which many other sites are offering, since you have to use it all on one game rather than spread it out across a series of bets. From my perspective, the deposit bonus compels more engagement and seems like a stickier offer to keep customers coming back.
We were briefly given an excuse 3x Philly odds boost to offer to our readers. This allowed you to bet the Eagles as a favorite and get paid out 3-to-1 if they won. This was available only for the first two weeks of the season, against the Falcons and Buccaneers, and it not currently offered.
The DraftKings Sportsbook, which was developed by an in-house team and said to be in the works for over a year, is a full-featured online sportsbook backed by the biggest brand in US gaming, operating under the Resorts Casino license New Jersey online sports betting. Out of the gate, DraftKings Sportsbook offers a wide, almost staggering array of sports to bet on – Super Kupa Turkey, anyone? – a clean, modern interface, and a jaw-dropping live ticket option that adds a layer of complexity (and fun) to almost every traditional bet. At the moment, DraftKings Sportsbook – or, DK SportsBook – offers team-based live betting with a significant number of in-play props and lines. Odds, which can be expressed as traditional Vegas-style odds or decimal-based figures, are, thus far, on-par with other legal sports betting operators. We recommend it as one of the top sports betting apps.
Getting started with DraftKings Sportsbook
Get ready to have your location checked early and often. This is not a DraftKings-specific thing, but something all legal online sportsbooks have to do. Geo-location is the technology that enables state-based betting, and so DraftKings Sportsbook will check your location upon launch, when adding funds, and anytime you leave the app for a few minutes (we don’t know the exact limit here, but it’s not very long). If you do try loading the app from outside of New Jersey, this is the message you’re greeted with:
Again, after listening to regulators at the East Coast Gaming Congress in Atlantic City, this location warning will likely be featured in some capacity in all online sportsbooks. The location check seems to be reliable. I was sitting at Liberty Hall in Lambertville along the border and only one time (out of around 10 attempts) did I briefly get this message before the GPS rightfully placed me in New Jersey.
This sort of geo-location monitoring is our new betting overlord, and we should learn to love it.
Funding your account
Adding funds is pretty much the same as it is with the DraftKings’ daily fantasy app— hit the plus button, choose your funding method, and get going. As for minimums and limits, DraftKings requires only a $5 initial deposit and bet minimums are under $1, so you can play on any budget level.
You can also choose to allow DraftKings Sportsbook to use your daily fantasy funds, both for your initial deposit and on an ongoing basis:
Once funded, you’re ready to bet. Winnings are placed back into your account promptly. We’ll have more information on this as we use the app more, but unlike offshore sportsbooks, you don’t have to worry about getting your money out.
Upon entering the home screen, you’re greeted by a user-friendly view of the requisite promotional banners, quick links, and available traditional bets with beginner-friendly wording like “who’s going to win?” and “who will cover the spread?” for moneyline and traditional spread bets, respectively. There’s obviously a focus on the recreational bettor from the main screen, but it makes sense for onboarding new sports bettors— DraftKings Sportsbook also offers a quick start guide. What’s more, these bets are reportedly tailored to the individual users. DraftKings will actually use your daily fantasy data and serve you up related bets. For example, if you have a DFS lineup stacked with Yankees, you might be presented with the over-under on the Yankees game on your home screen.
Once you’re into the app, the options go much, much deeper and cater to the experienced bettor. This is a good approach – cater to the masses, but leave enough options for experienced gamblers – and one that DraftKings will undoubtedly refine and optimize on an ongoing basis.
If you were wondering if DraftKings Sportsbook would be limited to only traditional sports and major leagues, don’t. They take action on everything. As of launch, they offer betting on:
And it’s not just the most popular leagues. Here’s a list of all the soccer leagues they offer action on:
I’m just kidding– that’s one of six pages of soccer leagues.
It’s 5 o’clock somewhere… and there’s a kickoff for you to bet on.
DraftKings Sportsbook doesn’t yet offer esports betting, however. But DraftKings says it does want to offer action on more vents, including non-sports events.
Types of bets
Once into your betting options, DraftKings Sportsbook offers all of the action that you would expect:
Lines are clearly defined with odds in bright green. Placing your bet is as easy as tapping what you want since available action is smartly arranged as tiles to make them obvious touch-targets:
This is a good way to list available bets. Some other sites and offshore books feature a list-based or rigid menu approach, and we think DraftKings Sportsbook makes the best use of available space as a mobile-first platform. There’s a lot of information to impart, and they do it well, though we could occasionally do with larger fonts and buttons— users would innately know to scroll to see more options.
If there’s one nitpick we have, it’s that DraftKings tries to put too much information onto the screen at once. There’s no doubt a balance to be had, and it’s something all online sports betting apps will seek to find in the early going.
We dig DraftKings Sportsbooks’ “confirm bet” overlay. After choosing your intended bet, a small box slides up and gives you large-touch-target (thank you!) buttons to choose your wager amount and a big, friendly green button that says “LET’S GET IT, HOLMES!” Actually, it says “place bet,” but close enough.
You also have the option to add bets for a parlay.
Here’s how it looks IN ACTION:
The real growth area for mobile sports betting is prop bets and live betting, so we’re going to combine them into one section.
Out of the gate, DraftKings offers your typical props (read more about props in our how to bet on sports page), but will also offer bets on DraftKings daily fantasy totals for players. That is a really, really interesting hybrid between DFS and betting and a way to bring a traditional DFS player over into a sportsbook.
But the live betting is where it’s at, both for DraftKings Sportsbook and the mobile sports betting industry as a whole. DraftKings excels at it right out of the gate.
In our testing, we were given live betting options for baseball to bet on things like run line, hits, totals, extra innings, and more, some on a inning basis. DraftKings says it will offer bets on whatever data is readily available, though some sports have more catching up to do in this regard— baseball, they say, lags behind some other sports with the speed of its data.
But where things really get interesting is with DraftKings’ live bet ticket, which allows you to exit certain bets before their completion. They call this option “cash out.” So, if you’re winning a bet and want to lock in a profit, you can do so (albeit at a slightly lower rate), or you can exit a bet you’re losing to recoup at least a portion of it.
This fundamentally changes the way you will bet on sports, point blank period. It allows bettors to hedge against themselves, protect downside risk, and also lock-in profit.
Now, to be clear, sometimes the upside risk in betting is worth it. In fact, you inherently have to take risk to be successful at betting, so you’ll undoubtedly want to be judicious about using the live ticket feature. But still, it’s crazy fun and in effect turns every bet into a live bet. Really cool.
One things DraftKings makes prominent in its app – we’re uncertain whether this a requirement of the DGE – is a bunch of safe play features.
There are three of them.
Player Limits: allows you to limit your deposits or spending on a day, week or month basis.
Self Exclusion: allows you to literally ban yourself from using the app for a set period of time that you determine.
Cool Off: allows you to prevent yourself from depositing or placing any bets for a set period of time, though you will still have access to the app.
All three of these features are impressive and useful, for everyone.
Industry officials are well aware that self-policing to prevent possible mis-use is necessary for legal sports betting to grow and succeed in the country. Features like this are welcome and commendable.
DraftKings was established in 2012 by co-founder Jason Robbins, Matt Kalish, and Paul Liberman. Robbins remains the company’s CEO. It was part of a wave daily fantasy sites that launched after 2010 and quickly became one of the top products in the field. A year later, DraftKings received an investment from Major League Baseball. That same year they also bought Draft Street, a daily fantasy competitor, and retained some of its NY-based employees. They subsequently struck deals with other leagues, teams, and ESPN.
In 2015, they received an investment from FOX Sports, Kraft Group, and others. It was at this point they, along with FanDuel, begin advertising MASSIVELY in the US and dominated sports commercial breaks. The practice caught the attention of regulators, which very much put the entire industry in doubt.
As a result, in 2016, DraftKings and FanDuel struck a deal to merge, but that was abandoned in 2017 due to a series of legal issues and costs surrounding an FTC charge that the combined companies would form a monopoly. Around this time, DraftKings began building out its sportsbook technology in anticipation of legalization in the US. They became the first company to launch a sportsbook app following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a 1992 law that effectively banned sports wagering every but Nevada. They are now the leader in the fledgling space.
DraftKings Sportsbook NJ
DraftKings Sportsbook first launched its app in New Jersey on August 1 as part of an invite-only trial period, which lasted five days. On August 6, it became available to the general public through a sign up link offering to match your first bet up to $200, a promotion which is ongoing and runs through the end of October. There is no promo code needed, and the offer seems to be good for all new users. DraftKings also offered a free $2 bet to users from its trial period.
DraftKings Sportsbook app
The DraftKings Sportsbook is available as a web-based interface and through iOS and Android apps.
At launch, DraftKings had some problems with its Android app, with some users complaining on social media that it was unavailable on Android through the Google Play store.
DraftKings Sportsbook released a 1.3.1 update in the iOS App Store on September 7. Though no specifics were given, it seems the update addressed some early issues surrounding deposits and other small bugs. Thus far, it averages 4.8 stars in the App Store.
DraftKings Sportsbook is compelling right out of the gate, and will undoubtedly improve over time. It offers action on a significant number of sports and leagues, with compelling live betting options. The app is, expectedly, clean and modern and works well with few bugs, which is incredible for a 1.0 release of any app. Being able to link your daily fantasy account with the sportsbook is an added bonus.
DraftKings Sportsbook bonus
DraftKings Sportsbook will match your first bet up to $200.* You can sign up and claim your FREE bet right here.
*If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call 1-800 GAMBLER.
21+. NJ only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See website for details.
Full disclosure: We are an affiliate of legal New Jersey sports betting sites, so we may receive a commission if you use our links.