Moving north of the border
In July, US-based sportsbook operator DraftKings announced plans to launch a new digital collectibles ecosystem. The operator unveiled that platform in the US last week, beginning with the sale of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) of NFL quarterback Tom Brady. Now, DrafKings has expanded its marketplace further north.
On Tuesday, the sportsbook firm took to Twitter to announce the launch of DraftKings Marketplace in Canada:
In a statement on its official website, DraftKings said Canadian customers will be able to buy, sell, and trade digital collectibles on the platform. The launch comes ahead of exclusive NFT drops of Canadian former NHL star Wayne Gretzky. NFT platform Autograph will provide the Gretzky collection in collaboration with Upper Deck.
Matt Kalish, co-founder and president of DraftKings North America, commented on the appetite for sports collectibles in Canada. He said: “The DraftKings customer base in Canada has shown tremendous engagement in our daily fantasy contests over the years, and we expect there will be similar levels of enthusiasm to access exclusive DraftKings Marketplace content.”
Sights set on Canadian sports betting
In its statement announcing the Canada launch, DraftKings noted the performance of its daily fantasy product in the country. Since going live in 2012, the offering has seen more than 67 million contest entries across all sports, including 11 million for the NHL. According to DraftKings, this Canadian customer engagement is second only to that seen in the US market.
Outside of fantasy sports, DraftKings has another reason to increase its brand exposure among Canadian sports fans. The country will introduce single-event betting on August 27 for the first time. Previously, residents could only place parlay wagers, needing three or more events in one bet. Lawmakers and operators expect the passing of single-event betting bill C-218 to dramatically increase gaming revenue generated in Canada.
a very meaningful opportunity”
Speaking during the company’s Q2 2021 earnings call, Jason Robins, co-founder, CEO, and chairman of DraftKings, expressed interest in the Canadian expansion. “We continue to believe that the country represents a very meaningful opportunity, and we have seen strong legislative progress this year,” he stated.
Competition heats up
Of course, other operators have also noticed Canada’s sports betting potential. Penn National Gaming acquired Canadian sportsbook company theScore earlier this month in a deal worth $2bn. The casino giant has affirmed its commitment to the Canadian market since, describing “a compelling opportunity for growth.”
Meanwhile, BetMGM, the joint venture between MGM Resorts International and Entain, has also seen the value in partnering with one of Canada’s most famous sports stars. The sportsbook operator announced it had signed Wayne Gretzky as ambassador in June this year. The former NHL star took to Twitter at the time to confirm the announcement:
While sportsbook operators outside the Canadian market prepare to enter, the nation’s provincial operators are also working hard in anticipation of the launch. The British Columbia Lottery Corporation secured a data deal with Genius Sports this month. Meanwhile, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation has announced a new sports betting platform, PROLINE+, to go live on August 27.