DraftKings has reached an agreement to buy the Golden Nugget’s online gaming business in an all-stock deal valued at $1.56 billion. The acquisition, still subject to the approval of Golden Nugget Online Gaming shareholders, is a huge investment into iGaming. The online casino games are becoming increasingly important for platforms like DraftKings, which sees opportunity beyond just fantasy sports and sports betting. “Our acquisition of Golden Nugget Online Gaming, a brand synonymous with iGaming and entertainment, will enhance our ability to instantly reach a broader consumer base,” DraftKings CEO and chairman Jason Robins said in a statement. “This deal creates meaningful synergies such as increased combined company revenues driven by additional cross-sell opportunities, loyalty integrations and tech-driven product expansion as well as technology optimization and greater marketing efficiencies.”
As part of the deal, DraftKings will form a new holding company (called New DraftKings), which will become the new combined public company for both properties. When the deal closes, that company will be renamed DraftKings. Current shareholders in Golden Nugget Online Gaming will receive a fixed ratio of 0.365 shares in New Draftkings under the deal. Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, who owns about 46% of the Golden Nugget online business, will join the DraftKings board and become one of the company’s largest shareholders. He has agreed to a one-year lock-up on his new shares.
As an added wrinkle, DraftKings is also signing a commercial partnership with the Rockets and Toyota Center alongside this deal, which includes standard sponsorship signage and hospitality. Robins said on the investor call that there’s “early chatter” that Texas could legalize sports betting a way that grants licenses to franchises (like Arizona did), and that this partnership would give DraftKings market access to America’s second biggest state. “There was no doubt in the beginning when Jason and I started talking, that I wanted only stock,” Fertitta said in a call with investors. “I want to ride this up with him, and be a part of it… They understand marketing like no one else in the space, and they have built the best platform to truly control all this content.”
New York Giants wideout Odell Beckham Jr. was left “speechless” by ESPN’s fantasy football auction draft segment that the network later apologized for. But Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant had more than one word for the sketch that sparked outrage because some people likened it to a slave auction.
“Auction drafts are a common part of fantasy football,” ESPN said in a statement to USA TODAY Sports, “and ESPN’s segments replicated an auction draft with a diverse slate of top professional football players. Without that context, we understand the optics could be portrayed as offensive, and we apologize.”
So while daily fantasy sports can be a great fan engagement tool, it’s not the best second-screen experience to play while trying to just relax and watch one game on TV. The NBA has realized this, and is launching a new mobile fantasy game called NBA InPlay. The game will be synchronized to live TV broadcasts in real-time, meaning you literally play live on your phone while watching an NBA Game. Here are the rules: Before a game starts you select one of the two teams competing. Then you pick four players – one per each quarter that you think will do particularly well that quarter.
“The funny thing is, I never had any interest in the NBA,” Adam Schefter told King. “Growing up I did. Growing up, I loved watching the Knicks and Bernard King, and I would listen to Marv Albert in my room on the radio, ’cause nobody’s better at doing a game than Marv Albert. But literally from the time I was a freshman in college, I lost track, forgot and couldn’t care less about the NBA. And then — I don’t even know how all this started — but a couple of years ago, I played these $3 DraftKings games, like, just started doing it.” And it became something of an obsession.