Long live the DraftKings of Europe

DraftKings recently became one of the first DFS operators to secure a Maltese Controlled Skill Gaming licence. 

Jeffrey Haas, DraftKings

It didn’t take long for the company to reveal its European plans for 2017 either with a German launch planned for Q1. The operator entered the UK space around a year ago and the mega merger with FanDuel is expected to be fully done and dusted midway through this year. For now expansion in Europe is on the cards is the talk of the town.

DraftKings’ Chief International Officer Jeffrey Haas was appointed to lead the DFS operator’s European expansion which began in the UK last year. The former Poker Stars and bwin.party man spoke to Totally Gaming this week about their ambitions for 2017.

On why the company opted to start with Germany Haas said: “Football is obviously part of the DNA in Germany. We know this, as there are already millions of season long fantasy football players on popular platforms owned by sports leagues and media companies. Even the Bundesliga launched their own manager games product this season, for the first time.

“That said, while Germany has a very strong sports culture with football at its core, American sports including the NFL and NBA are also extremely popular.”

DraftKings offers a greater range of sports than the majority of DFS B2C operators. It has also fared better in the UK to date than many may have expected. Haas notes that there has been a 20% month on month growth in the first nine months of operation, and this has been achieved without excessive marketing campaigns.

The operator established some club partnerships early on but it’s been nothing like the all out assault on TV screens and at sporting events that was seen in the DraftKings FanDuel war in the States in 2015.

When discussing the future of DFS many point to Latin America as a region in which it could be hugely successful. When asked whether DraftKings may move into this territory, Haas stated: “We already see DFS growing in Brazil with Escala11, and in Mexico with ChalkDFS.

“Both seem to be doing a great job of creating awareness and excitement in our category. We will get to LATAM in time, but literally have a world of opportunity to choose from. Right now, we are focused on bringing our games to Europe. It’s an exciting time to be in our space, and I love the competition! It’s great for consumers to have so much choice, and good for us as it puts pressure on us to both excel and continue innovating.”

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