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DraftKings given go-ahead for Iowa betting debut


DraftKings is to enter the newly regulated Iowa market through a partnership with Wild Rose Entertainment, which operates three casinos in the state.

DraftKings and Wild Rose received approval yesterday (22 August) from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission after submitting applications and documentation to move forward with their partnership agreement to operate sportsbooks at properties in Clinton, Emmetsburg and Jefferson.

Wild Rose said it chose to name DraftKings as its first retail and mobile sports betting partner after evaluating the US market since Iowa’s new sports betting law was enacted in May. The move comes just over a week after the first legal bets were taken in the state, which has just over three million inhabitants.

“Sports betting is the most energising change in Iowa gaming since the slot machine,” said Tom Timmons, president and chief operating officer of Wild Rose. “We couldn’t be more excited to be the first Iowa casino company to partner with DraftKings, which we view as the most recognisable name in sports gaming.

“With DraftKings’ track record in mobile betting, we can reach more fans and customers who love sports. We can’t wait to be up and running.”

Since opening its first casino in 2006, Wild Rose has welcomed more than 15 million people to its three properties and generated nearly $360m in state and local fees and taxes.

DraftKings will play catch-up when it enters the Iowan market, with William Hill having debuted an Android offering through partnerships with four casinos on 15 August, followed by an iOS version this week. In total, eight of Iowa’s 20 casinos launched sportsbook operations on the first day of legalised betting.

“DraftKings is thrilled to work with Wild Rose to bring our online sportsbook product to sports fans in Iowa,” said Matt Kalish, chief revenue officer and co-founder of DraftKings.

“We look forward to fueling fans’ passion and competitive spirit while building on the success we’ve seen in the other states we serve.”

Under the terms of Iowa’s sports betting law, each of the licensed casinos in Iowa are allowed to apply for a sports wagering licence. As part of the licence, casinos can have two partners operating ‘skins’ under its certificate.

Iowa law requires customers to physically go to the casino to register for mobile sports betting until the end of 2020. After that, they can sign up outside the casino.

Last month, Betfred agreed a deal to provide sports betting technology and operations to Elite Casino Resort-owned Grand Falls Casino Resort in Iowa.