While Other DFS Operators Flee UK, DraftKings Tries Expanding To Ireland

Posted on August 26, 2017

[toc]DraftKings, one of the biggest daily fantasy sports (DFS) sites in the world, has announced it is looking into launching its gaming services in Ireland.

The US firm launched in the UK back in February 2016, however the Republic of Ireland remained untouched. But according to Irish publication Fora, DraftKings has already held meetings with government officials.

Jeffrey Haas, DraftKings Chief International Officer, told Fora:

“There’s no relevant, local regulation that covers our activities. So, we wanted to speak with Irish Revenue in respect to their tax review to explain our position and how we intend to enter into the market.”

It is expected that Boston-headquartered DraftKings will launch in Ireland before the end of 2017, although no launch date has been announced as of yet.

Why is DraftKings expanding into Ireland?

Ireland’s Department of Finance is currently conducting a review of Irish betting taxes, to which DraftKings made a submission. Haas has requested that the government consider DFS as different from gambling and sports betting.

The company has suggested a four to five percent tax on revenues, inline with ‘online skill games’, as opposed to traditional gambling.

Haas added:

“Irish sports fans are incredibly passionate and they make themselves known wherever they are found. I’ve seen that attending a lot of Liverpool matches at Anfield Stadium. I know Liverpool FC is very popular in Ireland and we have a great partnership with Liverpool.”

According to Haas, there is already incredible demand for DraftKings in Ireland.

“If you do a search on Twitter for ‘DraftKings’ and ‘Ireland’, you will see dozens of request from players asking when we’re coming. There’s clearly pent-up demand that already exists.”

There is also the potential for lucrative partnerships in the Republic of Ireland, particularly in marketing and sponsorship.

“We’re looking for a range of companies who may have existing databases of (potential) Irish players that would be interested in helping inform them about DraftKings,” Haas said.

One successful partnership acquired in the UK is with the aforementioned Liverpool Football Club. DraftKings is also an official partner of Nascar and the NFL in America.

“In the United Kingdom, we work very closely with Liverpool Football Club,” Haas added. “That’s a global partnership and it will extend into Ireland for sure.”

DraftKings expands, FanDuel retreats

The news comes just weeks after FanDuel, one of DraftKings’ competitors, announced it was exiting the UK market. The firm revealed it intended to focus solely on the US market for the foreseeable future.

FanDuel only operated in the UK for 11 months, having signed a partnership deal with sports data provider Opta back in August 2016.

The two DFS firms were rumoured to be merging in 2016, although this eventually fell through. Had DraftKings and FanDuel joined forces, they would have controlled more than 90 per cent of the US DFS market.

However, the US Federal Trade Commission opposed this monopoly.

Although FanDuel has left the UK, Ireland still has DFS courtesy of the acquisition of US-based start up Draft by Paddy Power-Betfair. The deal was settled for $19 million.

Jack Stanton Avatar
Written by
Jack Stanton

Jack Stanton is a freelance journalist and marketing copywriter, specialising in the world of poker and online gaming. Jack's work has appeared on VICE, The Guardian, The Drum, PokerStars Blog, PocketFives, BLUFF Europe and more. As a live poker reporter, Jack has covered events in locations as far afield as the Bahamas, Chile, South Korea, Brazil, and all across Europe.

View all posts by Jack Stanton