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DraftKings Hits Back at DFS Companies Offering Pick’em Parlay Style Betting

Signage Draftkings Sportsbook Ribbon Cutting Seabrook New Hampshire
Signage at the DraftKings Sportsbook in Seabrook, New Hampshire. Scott Eisen/Getty Images for DraftKings/AFP.

Some daily fantasy sports companies have allegedly skirted regulations by offering parlay-style wagering even though they are not licensed sports betting companies. DraftKings, one of the top US sportsbooks, recently announced they have decided to fight back with its Progressive Parlay betting product.

DK Counterpunches

PrizePicks and Underdog Fantasy are the two primary DFS companies that are offering pick’em parlay style offerings on their menus and some states have already banned those products while others are openly discussing doing the same.

Boston-based DraftKings originally began as a DFS company but with the advent of sports betting in America after PASPA was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018, the company pivoted to becoming one of the two top online sports betting companies in the nation.

DraftKings, like its chief competitor in the domestic mobile sports betting industry, FanDuel, still maintains its DFS arm, but the big money emanates from sports betting and the company has decided to fight back against the likes of PrizePicks and Underdog Fantasy by offering a very similar product that will take away their adversaries’ competitive advantage.

DFS Services Call Foul Play

In August, Jeremy Levine, the founder and co-CEO of Underdog Fantasy, was outraged at what he considered backroom deals and political pressure applied by DraftKings and FanDuel were behind getting pick’em parlays banned in the states in which his company operates.

“What do monopolists do when they are afraid of competition? They use their money, power, and influence to target competitors,” Levine wrote. “That’s the playbook FanDuel and DraftKings are following, leaning on backroom lobbyists and pressing business partners to do their dirty work for them. It’s a classic play for entrenched big businesses who are afraid of competition.”

“It’s unfortunate DraftKings and FanDuel, the same companies that championed fantasy sports as skill-based for years, have changed their tune at the first sign of competition,” the Coalition for Fantasy Sports, which represents Underdog, PrizePicks, and others, said in a statement. “It’s a thinly veiled attempt to create a false narrative and position themselves as the only games in town.”

What’s a Progressive Parlay?

DraftKings’ new product, Progressive Parlay, lets its customers quickly build a parlay card and allows them to win money even if a leg or two on the parlay card loses. Those who enjoy the product and signed up with Underdog Fantasy just to gain access to it will now be able to get a similar product with DraftKings.

This is likely to peel away some of the luster from those DFS companies that have attracted customers based on this particular offering. Once customers realize they can get the same parlay-style sports betting item from DraftKings, they may abandon the strictly DFS entities.

Of course, those states that do not offer sports betting but license and regulate DFS platforms will still be a haven for the likes of Underdog Fantasy as long as that state has not banned the pick’em parlay feature.

CEO Jason Robins was enthusiastic about his company’s new Progressive Parlay product and referred to it as a “win-win” for the customers and the company as the product has traditionally reaped higher win rates.

Robins said: “Those are the types of things we’re focused on. The customer likes it, but also, there are so many of those products that can be great financial drivers for DraftKings.”

CFO Jason Park highlighted: “Put simply, more recent states have citizens that are geared up and ready to go when their state finally launches online sports betting.”

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