Ahead of Super Bowl LV, sportsbook DraftKings is seeing record activity on the platform. CEO Jason Robins said the boost in usage is likely due to more people staying home and using discretionary income to place bets since their typical hobbies are on pause due to the pandemic.
"It's been a really amazing year for us from a customer acquisition perspective," Robins told Cheddar. "Engagement of customers and retention rates have been higher than we've ever seen before."
At the onset of the pandemic, DraftKings and other sportsbooks were greatly impacted by the halt of professional and collegiate sports but according to Robins, efforts by sports leagues to improve contact tracing and testing proved to be beneficial for his own company.
As for the Big Game, Robins said about 60 percent of moneyline bets are still being placed for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers despite betting odds being stacked against the team.
"I guess what that means is that people who are betting on the Bucs think three points isn't enough," he noted. "They might as well go for the higher odds, the better odds, for them winning the game."
Although sports betting isn't legal in all 50 states, DraftKings is running a $55 million free-to-play pool, available in parts of the U.S. and Canada where sports betting is still restricted. Bettors who make a number of selections on their ticket can win a top prize of $1 million. The best part about the offer, according to Robins? Every person who enters the contest will win some kind of prize even up to $25,000. So far, nearly 600,000 people have entered, he said.
This year, Americans in 12 states will be able to place bets using the platform, a jump from just five last year and more than DraftKings' competitors. Robins said he is confident that the company will continue to expand as more states legalize online sports betting and leagues maintain health and safety in the wake of the pandemic.
"I'm pretty optimistic. Obviously, you don't take anything for granted given the events of the past year. I think anything can happen but it seems like the leagues have really figured out, including collegiate sports, how to use data and how to be really smart about the policies they put in place, so I'm very hopeful," Robins added.