By Chloe Aiello
New Jersey fans could wager as much as $100 million on the Big Game ー and that would be good news for DraftKings, CEO Jason Robins told Cheddar Friday.
"I've heard estimates that as much as $100 million could be wagered in New Jersey ー and we certainly are hoping for a big number like that, that would be fantastic. I'd be happy, frankly, if it came in even half of that," Robins said on Friday, adding that bets have come "overwhelmingly" in support of the Patriots.
The 2019 Super Bowl is the first Big Game on which fans can legally bet. After the Supreme Court green-lit gambling last May, several states ー Delaware, New Jersey, and Mississippi ー quickly moved to legalize.
Already the biggest sporting event of the year, the Big Game will prove to be an important test for the viability of the legal sports betting industry ー and a defining moment for companies like DraftKings that have wagered their fortunes on its success.
Although DraftKings won't know the final tally of bets placed on its platform until a Super Bowl champion is crowned, Robins said the company has already seen explosive growth ー in new users on the betting side, and in game expansion on the fantasy side. The "Showdown" fantasy product, which Robins called DraftKings' most "mainstream" product to-date, has been especially successful.
"A little over a year ago, we launched the showdown product which is a single game variant and that's just been taking off," Robins said. "The adoption on that product has really been enormous."
Boston-based DraftKings has focused much of its energy on expanding its sports betting business in New Jersey ー and to a lesser degree in Mississippi ー but Robins said the company expects to be up and running in many other states within the next couple of years.
Where DraftKings goes next has everything to do with a state's willingness to embrace the industry. "Sensible" laws and regulations, and enabling online and mobile device betting are two absolutely critical components to ensuring the legal sports betting business has a fighting chance against the black market, Robins said.
"The harder you make it to compete with the black market, which has no taxes and no regulations imposed on it, the more challenging it is going to be for companies like us to bring those people over," he added.